The Niti Aayog recently released the School Education Quality Index Report on September 30, considering 2016-17 as the reference year and 2015-16 as the base year. Once again, the southern state of Kerala has managed to top the list. Scoring 82.17 points on the education index, the state is way ahead of its neighbour Tamil Nadu at the 2nd number with 73.35 points. With such an accurate and precise result for years, doesn’t one wonders how Kerala manages to grab that #1 spot every time?
Kerala’s journey to the topmost spot has been inspiring, regarding both school education and higher education. The state went under a series of transforming reforms after its government schools suffered a jolt due to the burgeoning English medium schools. The govt. launched a special campaign in 2016 to energize the education system in the state by incorporating public participation.
Public participation has been the key to Kerala’s success as people from every coterie has shown their involvement. The state has provided enough room for participation involving elderly people like Karthiyani Amma, who scored 98% in Kerala literacy test at the age of 96. The state govt. launched the “Aksharalaksham” project in 2018 to achieve a target of 100% literacy rate. The mark has already touched 93.91%.
Kerala has shown great advancements in its higher education sector too. The Kerala State Higher Education Commission (KSHEC) launched a survey on January 31, 2019, for the state institutions offering higher education. The portal is designed for universities to upload the data thus ensuring transparency in the system.
In this area too, the govt. has continued with the “Participation is the Key” agenda. By encouraging more and more institutes and people to participate in this survey, the govt. aims to:
Understand the status of academics
Understand the status of infrastructure
Focus on government, aided and self-financing sectors at the same time.
With active participation in the upliftment of the education sector, the state has been able to reduce the gender literacy gap from 22% in 1951 to a meagre 4.41% now. In 2013, the state was applauded by UNDP for its effort and also termed as an inspirational model for all the developing nations.
In order to further boost its higher education sector, which has yet not been able to achieve as many laurels as the school education, the state education department is now focusing on following parameters.
1. Local Students
The state has witnessed a great number of foreign students coming in from countries like the Maldives. However, some local students choose to visit other neighbouring states. The state is now focusing on convincing them to stay home to pursue higher education.
2. Access to e-journals
A few years back, the UGC ended giving free access to e-journals for higher education institutions. Now, the state government proposes to gain back that access.
Apart from these, the state administration is also focusing on developing models to ensure that the examinations are conducted within time. Also, the focus is on maintaining good time bandwidth for the publication of research papers.
As the UNDP stated, Kerala has been giving goals to other states of India and also many other developing nations. Going like this, the state will soon achieve its target of 100% literacy. Along the journey, Kerala has also gained many companions like Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and Bihar.