Survey on Indian Education

The on-going debate on India’s educational system has been taking place mainly between educationists, politicians, and bureaucrats. One voice has not been heard at all so far: that of the students themselves. To remedy this glaring omission, IFIH prepared a comprehensive Survey on Indian Education dealing, in a first stage, with school education, and consisting of 72 questions put to students of classes 9 to 12. It was partly sponsored by the NCERT, and IFIH’s official report was submitted in July 2005.

The Survey’s conception and initial implementation was by M. Pramod Kumar; Michel Danino took care of its completion, its statistical analysis, and the final report to NCERT. Many IFIH members and friends across India helped in contacting schools, getting the Survey conducted, and finding people for data entry.

The questionnaire’s first part (33 questions) dealt with Indian culture and values. Students’ opinions and suggestions were sought as regards: (1) whether Indian culture is given adequate importance in the curriculum; (2) whether students would like to learn specific aspects of Indian heritage as part of or outside the curriculum; (3) the values they are learning or would like to learn at school.

The questionnaire’s second part (39 questions) dealt with the students’ experience of other aspects of the educational system, namely, teaching methods, examination system, book load, homework, teacher-student and parent-student relationships, physical education, art, interaction with Nature, and vocational education.

The Survey covered 11,000 students from a broad spectrum of schools: see details on the Survey’s database. We opted for mixed types of question: boxes to be ticked (Yes / No, itemized lists, etc.), but also questions where the students were asked to spell out their thoughts or suggestions. This made the statistical analysis more intricate, but ensured an important qualitative feedback and a greater degree of reliability of the answers.

The Survey’s chief findings are presented in the following pages. They should be of great interest to educationists and researchers. Reviews of educational policies at the Central or State levels can also benefit much from the Survey’s findings: in the twenty-first century, students should be accepted as active participants in their own education, rather than regarded as passive recipients of change imposed from above.

Through all its findings, the Survey brought to light how antiquated India’s school educational system is; let us hope the students’ voice will contribute to its modernization.

Next: Survey’s database

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