Agenda for India: Education presents “Agenda for India”. Series editor is Charu Bahri.

Speaking of the major challenges facing the educational sector in urban and rural India today, Parvez Ahmed, Educational Coordinator & Faculty Member, Indian Plastics Institute and technology volunteer who shares information on “assisted learning” with Rangsons Memorial School for Visually Impaired Girl Children, cites a lack of transparency in the education sector as the foremost roadblock.

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“Even today, I do not know how to start a school in Bangalore, and not many people are willing to guide and/or fund me in this endeavour,” he opines.

“To add to that, skepticism among students, teachers and parents regarding the ability of the system to adapt to changing times, and a lack of scale, no thanks to the lack of people motivated to set up really good educational institutions (possibly because of the sorry saga of the great Indian crab story – I will pull you down no matter how high you climb by withdrawing my support), also contribute to an educational sector that falls short of meeting the needs of a rapidly modernizing India.”

Students in rural Bihar [TCN Photos]

“I believe that the government should work to improve transparency and accountability in the present system.”

“I would personally love to improve the utilization of existing educational infrastructure, by introducing shifts in all our schools. We could teach regular students in the morning for 6 to 8 hours, and then teach an afternoon batch for 6 to 8 hours and take on night classes too, thus tripling the number of students in urban and rural areas in one stroke. If the nation is short of teachers, the education system should employ graduates with teaching skills as teachers to complete this uphill task.”

“The government needs to make better use of the internet and other media to reach out to as many families as possible to spread the message of inclusive growth at the lowest possible cost. I am genuinely interested in spreading inclusive growth in all sectors, and am of the firm belief that this will only happen when a lot more people act in the interest of students, teachers and education in general. Open source technology must be more widely used. The practice of distributing a laptop to every child must be encouraged in India.”

Rahmani-30 class in session [TCN Photos]

“Reservations in the education sector must be restricted to economic criteria in order to give merit a boost.”

“Teachers are an invaluable asset to our society. I strongly believe that international associations of teachers would assist their task and facilitate learning. The government should promote concepts like ‘teachers without borders’, perhaps at a national level.”

“There are many more things that the government can do. But at the end of the day, the will to act counts the most. The government must really want to spread education at the primary, secondary and degree levels. Then, even miracles can happen.”