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The article discusses in detail the Education Policies of various nations of the world. It focuses mainly on the developed nations and countries with high HDI index. The article also provides the reader with a chance to comparatively analyse these policies with that of India.
By the term developed countries, the conventional definition is based on the GDP, Per capita income and the level of industrialization. United Nations WESP gives the following classification in which is added a third category to the existing two; developed economies, economies in transition and developing countries.
The first category of the developed countries is often claimed by those countries who are members of the G-7(previously G-8) grouping and are as follows; USA, UK, Canada France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. These seven countries aforementioned accounts for more than 46% of the world’s GDP.
Whereas the last and third category consists of countries who form the bottom rungs in the GDP ladder and are relatively less industrialized and possess lower per capita income levels. The World bank database gives a specific figure and considers all those countries whose GNI is less than $1,035 per capita and those who have a GNI which is less than $4,085 is considered Lower Middle-Income countries.
This classification based on economic prosperity is beneficial to assess not only economic development as in most cases it has often found that this economic prosperity often translates into better educational outcomes. Provided the returns of economic advancement is invested in the educational sector as a result of sound state policies.
Besides not all high-income countries can claim to have a sound educational framework. But in general, there is a correlation between economic well being and better educational outcomes as a result of the concerned nation’s increased ability to provide improved educational infrastructure.
Notwithstanding the traditional method of considering and determining a country’s development solely based on economic parameters, the recent method is to emphasize the level of Human development each country possesses. Thus, the United Nations Development Programme take into account a host of indicators such as education, longevity in addition to the income level and classify countries into
- High Group who have scored between 51-75 percentiles
- Middle Group who stand credited with 26-50 percentiles
- And the low Group below the lowest quartile.
What is it meant by the educational policy?
Educational Policy in a national context is a holistic term that encompasses the government’s policies and principals as well as the body of laws and regulations governing the education sector. Education is of utmost importance in any given state owing to its formative role in the building of a country’s human resource capital.
Or in other words, education is one of the primary tools with which the productivity and employability of the young generation are shaped and sharpened. It is also as mentioned above the principle indicator of a country’s degree of development.
The policy thus formed covers various institutions situated at different levels of the education pyramid starting from pre-primary/primary to higher education. The policy thus has a direct impact on the lives of those individuals engaged in education.
Therefore, every aspect relating to educational institutions and associated infrastructure such as school –size, class size, faculty selection, capacity building, grading, pupil-teacher ratio, teacher pay, certification and graduation requirements etc form the crux of the state education policy. The policy prioritises and sets the long term goals and drafts the measure to be adopted in order to realize such goals.
Such a comprehensive policy covering the vast sphere of many rungs of the education ladder is formulated through extensive research and inters disciplinary collaborations involving experts specializing in different areas of study such as psychology, economics, sociology and human development.
Education Policy around the world
- The Western Model
Post world war or even from the decades leading up to the war the European and American society as a whole was seized by the idea of capitalism and was captured by the productivity boom that mode of production resulted in. In these cases, the education policy was largely a response to the demands that the changing conditions of economic forces triggered from time to time.
Thus the thrust of economic policies changed when America and the western allies transitioned from a “Fordist mass production economy that required only low skilled manual labour for the most part to the flexible knowledge-based economy that only accepted highly skilled and competent candidates. Thus it is not unfair to call the western education system as “market reformed”.
This has been particularly the case in the United Kingdom where those reforms confirming to the above pattern was called the ‘Thatcherism’. In this model education is not only influenced by market forces it is also even turned into a market commodity available for buying and selling.
This doesn’t mean that the state spending on education by these economies are low rather it means that the area of investment so made is often determined the demands of the market.
The Case of EU
The current approach of EU nations is encapsulated in the Strategic Framework for Co-operation in Education and Training (ET 2020) which is platform or framework wherein which the member states are engaged in constant communication exchanging the best practises and ideas to form a competent education policy. The following are the declared objectives of the framework;
- Make lifelong learning and mobility a reality
- Improve the quality and efficiency of education and training
- Promote equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship
- Enhance creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training.
Besides the below given have been set as the short term Europe wide improvement in education standard.
- At least 95% of children should participate in early childhood education
- fewer than 15% of 15-year-olds should be under-skilled in reading, mathematics and science
- the rate of early leavers from education and training aged 18-24 should be below 10%
- at least 40% of people aged 30-34 should have completed some form of higher education
- at least 15% of adults should participate in learning
- at least 20% of higher education graduates and 6% of 18-34 year-olds with an initial vocational qualification should have spent some time studying or training abroad
- the share of employed graduates (aged 20-34 with at least upper secondary education attainment and having left education 1-3 years ago) should be at least 82%.
The framework envisages achieving this objective through the creation of working groups, peer reviews and peer counselling constituted by member states. Besides, it also provides for the establishment of an education and Training Monitor to supervise and oversee the member states progress towards achieving the set objectives. It also involves consultation and decision making on the basis of feedback received from relevant stakeholders.
- The Nordic Model
The Nordic model of education was characterised by the strict adherence to social democracy which emphasized and gave birth to remarkable progress towards an inclusive regime in the education system of the region.
This was especially so during the years intervening between 1945 until about 1970. The declared goals of this unique experiment were to involve schools and develop them as principle tools in realising the social goals of such as equal opportunity and community fellowship and develop a strong civic sense.
The state was directly involved in the functioning of the schools and directed its activities by keeping ‘input management’ as the principal agenda. The success of this model characterized by burden less curriculum and greater learning outcomes inspired the rest of Europe to follow this lead.
The Nordic countries in general and Sweden, in particular, was the pioneer of this remarkable scheme. The period immediately preceding 1970s was characterized by a newfound enthusiasm in a pedagogy that shifted the focus to the individuality of the pupil and greater local influence.
However, it seems in the following decades the famed Nordic model seemed to have succumbed to the global capitalist headwinds with greater stress on output management in line with the market demands rather than sticking to the original goal of applying education for social transformation.
The decade following the second world war the Finnish parliament created three successive reform commissions aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of educational opportunity the first of the three instituted in 1945 envisioned a child-centred and humanistic primary school curriculum. With the idea of comprehensive schooling gaining traction the focus shifted to ensuring 9 years of compulsory schooling in municipal- run-institutions.
The landmarks reforms in the sector enacted by the parliament in the year 1968 introduced the new comprehensive school system replacing the old two-tiered one. The students will enter this comprehensive school at 9 years 0f age and will remain until they turn 16. The system is divided into 9 grades; six years of primary school and three years of lower secondary school.
The curriculum for mathematics and foreign language is divided into three levels basic middle and advanced The success of these reforms is mainly attributed to their steady and continuous implementation over time.
The Japanese model
Japan is another excellent example of a successful education policy among OECD countries. The earning outcomes of the Japanese system ids indisputably excellent.IT has also demonstrated to be one of the most inclusive systems in the world. The country’s second Basic Plan for the Promotion of Education placed education at the centre of its roadmap to growth. Its currently implementing the third Basic Plan for Education and the following are the declared objectives.
- fostering the development of capacities for a new era through a National Curriculum Reform focusing on improving lessons from a perspective of proactive, interactive and authentic learning
- reforming the teaching career to improving teaching skills
- strengthening school-community partnerships by involving communities in children’s education and reforming school management
- ensuring financial support for those in need at non-mandatory levels (such as early childhood education and care and tertiary education) while improving access to tertiary education and adult learning through the promotion of new programmes to foster lifelong learning in an ageing society.
Education Policy of India
India’s education Policy is consolidated and crystallised in the National Policy on Education in short NEP of 1968, The governing principles of the policy are;
- Equal opportunities for education for all as guaranteed in Article 45 of the Indian constitution
- Education for teachers
- Language Development including the 3 language formula.
- Equitable distribution of education also prohibits discrimination on the basis of caste religion class etc. with special emphasis on backward and minority community.
- Uniform education for all; The structure of education should be uniform throughout the country following the 10+2+3 pattern.
- Apart from main curriculum provisions had also been made to conduct extracurricular activities.
The following revisions were added subsequently to the original scheme
- Emphasis on retention of children in schools at primary level
- Stress on women’s education
- Assistance for institutions for capacity building
- Central Advisory Board of Education will play an important role in reviewing educational development and to recommend reforms from time to time when required.
- NGOs were encouraged to promote and provide education.
Draft New Education Policy 2019
The policy aims to introduce reforms at all levels from school to higher education). The reforms particularly concentrate on increasing childhood care, modifying the examination system, strengthen the teachers training, and overhauling the regulatory framework.
It is pretty obvious that India’s Education Policy in principle is on par with that of the developed nation. However, where we fall short of achieving the same learning outcome is when we come to actual implementation.
The infrastructure,, as well as the curriculum,, is largely in need of updating. Another matter of grievous concern is that India’s expenditure on education is a meagre 3.8 -4% of GDP which is often well below the global standards.
Though with the passing of the RTE Act it was aimed to achieve universal education for all, the number of people who progress through the education hierarchy and reach the tertiary level is yet to see a significant improvement.
The proportion of college graduates to the total population is just 8.15 %, whereas in developed countries it is more than at least 20% of the total population. Hence, the education policy has to improve in terms of both inclusivity and infrastructure.
- Returns to education in Developed Countries by M Gunderson and P.Oreopoulos