6th East Asia Summit Education Minister’s Meeting

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    Context

    • India participated in the 6th East Asia Summit Education Minister’s Meeting held in Hanoi, Vietnam.

    About

    • East Asia Summit:
      • The concept of East Asia Grouping was first promoted in 1991 by the then Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad. 
      • Established in 2005, it is the Indo-Pacific’s premier forum for strategic dialogue, promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in East Asia.
      • It is the only leader-led forum at which all key partners meet to discuss political, security and economic challenges facing the Indo-Pacific.
      • Apart from the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states, the East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.
      • There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS. These are:
        • Environment and Energy, 
        • Education, 
        • Finance, 
        • Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases, 
        • Natural Disaster Management, and 
        • ASEAN Connectivity.
    • India and EAS:
      • India is one of the founding members of the East Asia Summit.
      • India has been a part of EAS since its inception in 2005 in Kuala Lumpur and the fact that Indian Prime Ministers have participated in all the Summits, stands testimony to the importance India attaches to this process.
      • At the East Asia Summit in Bangkok in November 2019, India had unveiled India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), which is aimed at forging partnerships to create a secure and stable maritime domain.
      • India greatly values educational cooperation with EAS countries. She also emphasised India’s commitment to working with EAS member countries. 

    Challenges Education Sector facing in India

    • High- dropout rates: The major challenge in the education system is the high dropout rate in public schools or government schools. It is all due to several factors such as poverty, lack of toilets, long distance to school, child marriages, patriarchal mindset, and cultural factors.
    • Poor governance and lack of responsibility: Due to poor governance & insufficient funds, most educational institutions lack infrastructure, science equipment and libraries etc.
      • According to the UNESCO’s State of the Education report for India 2021, there are 11.16 lakh teaching positions that are vacant in schools.
    • Problem of Brain drain: When intelligent, talented and deserving candidates do not get suitable jobs in the country, they prefer to go abroad to seek jobs. So our country is deprived of good talent. This phenomenon is called ‘Brain drain’.
    • Mass Illiteracy: In spite of constitutional directives and efforts aimed at enhancing education, around 25% of Indians still remain illiterate, which also leaves them socially and digitally excluded.
    • Expensive Higher Education: According to a survey by Assocham, there has been a 169% rise in inflation in primary and secondary education from 2005 to 2011. Specialized institutions and colleges are expensive in India. 

    India’s Collaborative efforts in education

    • National Education Policy 2020: It replaced the 34 years old National Policy on Education which was framed in 1986. It is based on foundational pillars of access, equality, quality, affordability and accountability and is aligned with SDG 2030 goals.
      • India has had three educational policies so far. The first was in the year 1968, the second was in the year 1986 and the third one is in the year 2020.
    • PM SHRI Scheme: Under this more than 14,500 schools will be developed across India with all components of NEP 2020 as exemplar schools. These schools will offer mentorship to other schools in their vicinity.
    • Other e-learning platforms: Also, an online, open and multi-modal learning has been promoted vigorously under our PM- eVidya and various e-learning platforms like DIKSHA, SWAYAM MOOCS platform, Virtual Labs, e-PG Pathshala and National Digital Library, and many others has been launched.

    Solutions to Challenges: A way forward

    • More importance should be given to the primary and secondary education of a child.
    • The Government should spend more on building the infrastructure of schools and teachers’ training.
    • Appropriate measures need to be taken up by the Government for providing quality education that is affordable for all. Like ndeur National Education Policy 2020, the students are free to choose the language according to their own interests. In the education expenditure, from the year 1952 to 2014, the total GDP percentage increased from 0.64 to 4.13.

    Provisions in the Indian Constitution on education

    • Article 21A: 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002 introduced Article 21A which made elementary education a Fundamental Right rather than a Directive Principle.
    • Article 45: It was amended to provide early childhood care and education to children below the age of 6 years.
    • Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009: This Act was passed to implement Article 21A. It also provided essential legal backing for the implementation of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has been in operation since 2000-2001.

    Source: PIB