The term education in its widest sense is one of the most systematic and effective medium which enables the people to pass their traditions and habits to the next generation, in order to sustain a particular set of ideology and culture. Generally, education is not only imparted through the teachings at school but is also gained through the experiences of life and the manner of interaction with other individuals of society. However, the importance of formal schools cannot be denied as it is the demand of today's world to be educated and gain knowledge over various subjects to pursue one's career. This education system tends to differ in different jurisdictions based on their ideologies, style of teaching, environment and so on. In pursuance to the same, researcher has chosen the two countries of UK and India to conduct the present study and understand the educational system persisting in both the jurisdictions (Primary School Children, 2017). The primary rationale behind comparing these two countries is that the style of teaching followed under both the systems is completely exclusive to each other. In addition, the level of usage of technology also differs to a great extent. In spite of existence of these facts it has been ascertained the quality of education in both the jurisdictions is considerably satisfactory, but still there lies certain aspects which are still unexplored and not understood.
Education policy and system in India and UK
The education system of India comprises one of the oldest and world renowned university-system known in the name of Nalanda University, which was later ingrained by the Western form of education during the time of British Rule. It is in the hands of both private and public sector. Bhattacharjea, Wadhwa and Banerji (2011) has noted that India is past few decades has made tremendous progress in the primary education system which is accompanied by increasing literacy level. Many government and non-government bodies have launched programs and campaigns for promoting primary education of children at every level of the society. The success story of this fact can be evidenced from the figure of 96% which was achieved in respect to the enrolments at the elementary stage of schooling. In addition the educational policies adopted by the government over the years have also encouraged improvement of the literacy level across the country as well as the quality of education system. De and et. al. (2011) states that, the policy of compulsory and free education for the age group of 6-14 has rendered great benefits. This is also supported by Article 45 of Directive Policy of the constitution, which eventually has been tagged as one of the Fundamental Rights. In contrast to the same, Harma (2010) has highlighted the fact that the expenditure of Indian government on the education system merely amounts to 3% of its GDP and is extremely low.
On the other hand, England primarily witnessed the involvement of Church of England for development of the education system. In the earlier years when the awareness level of people was low, the government of the nation made education compulsory and eventually also made it free in the year 1890. After enactment of various statutes the government in the year 2002 enacted Education Act 2002 which aimed to enhance the flexibility in the curriculum and raise the standards. Agrawal (2012) has noted that the society of UK is considered well read and highly educated because of an increasing level of awareness from very early times. In UK it has been noted that education is compulsory for the age group of 5 – 18, which could be in the form of any of schooling. It has been observed that prevalence of private schools, home educators, academics and so on is very high in the country. The education system of the nation is considered as one of the best in the world and the same can be supported by the rankings issued by Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
The Primary schools
De Boer, Pijl and Minnaert (2011) states that India is home to the biggest education system which exists in the world with around 740,000 schools currently operating across the nation. However, the issues lie in the quality of education which is being imparted at various levels of these schools. Before attending the primary school, there is a stage of pre-primary which prepares the student to attend the school life at primary level. Education of Standard I to VIII is provided at the primary schools which are further divided into lower and upper primary school. These primary schools can be both state run and private in natures. The medium of communication at these schools is regional languages which then followed by English language. It has been opined by Miles and Singal (2010) that the education system of India is highly complex and the fundamental reason behind the same is the diversity in culture and society. The population of India belongs to varied religious backgrounds as well as from different regions. Every religion and state follows a different culture and tradition, which has a high level of influence on the manner of teaching. For instance the literacy level in the states of Kerala, Tripura, Goa and some other states is very high and at the same time the state of Bihar faces the lowest literacy level. In addition, there has also been some influence of various religions on the education system. On the other hand Sylva, K. and et. al., (2010) has opined that primary schooling provides the students with basic knowledge in respect to various subjects which is inclusive of mathematics and social sciences. At the upper level of primary schooling the teaching pattern is more focused upon the specific subjects and is more organized in nature. The teachers at these schools make the students work in the classrooms on specific subjects and on the basis of the same give homeworks to students. In addition, to test the knowledge various class tests are conducted at equal intervals. Though, these tests are not taken very seriously at the lower primary level, specific emphasis is laid on these tests at the upper primary due to increased complexity of subjects. Throughout an academic year there are 2-3 examinations which are conducted by the school and on the basis of results promote the students to next level.
On the other hand, it has been observed that the primary schools of UK admit children from the age group of 5 to 11 years. The primary school is split into Infant and Junior levels which are generally operated within the same premises. The former is the Key Stage 1 comprising students from 5-7, whereas the Key stage 2 consists of children from 7-11 age group. Alexander (2010) by contradicting these facts has stated the primary education system is not consistent and also witnesses another system comprising First and Middle Schools. Under this system, the age group of 5-9 attend the First Schools whereas the Middle Schools are attended by children from the age group of 9-13. In addition, it has also been stated that the operations of these schools are fundamentally comprised of similar components. In furtherance to the same, Livingstone (2012) has also stated that apart from the home works students are also provided with a time table for regular class tests which assures the level of understanding the child has in respect to specific topic. Another, trend which is prevalent in these schools is that of the Homework clubs which start post school timing, wherein the students can stay back at school to finish their tasks and also indulge in other activities which could be in the nature of physical exercises. An addition, trait which has been witnessed in these schools is that of bullying. The schools in the recent years have started taking it very seriously and have appointed mentors/watchers in order to ensure safety and comfort of young children, especially during playtimes.
Teacher qualifications and approaches in the classroom
As stated by Sarkar (2012) the primary school teacher shall necessarily be a graduate and must have obtained appropriate training certificate or degree. It has been observed that those possessing Bachelors in Education (B.Ed) commence their careers at the primary level and eventually move up the hierarchy. In addition it is also required that the teacher must have studies atleast one subject of teaching during his/her graduation. Another trend which is also prevalent in the nation is that people who have pursued graduation in home sciences with a minimum of 55% aggregate marks shall be eligible to become a teacher in primary schools. On the other hand it has been observed by Harma (2010) that every teacher applying for the position in the primary school shall have compulsorily attained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This status shall be acquired on the basis of GCSEs (with grade from A - C) in the subjects of English, Maths and Science or any other qualification which is equivalent to this. Further, the numeracy and literacy tests shall be cleared with some form of application to further support the application. In addition, to all these qualifications every candidate shall also be required to undergo enhanced background checks which shall be undertaken by the Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS).
In the opinion of Yasar (2008) the primary schools in India are operating on the basis of Intervening Model in integration with the interacting model. In pursuance to the former model the teachers make attempts to modify the behaviour of students, apply various rules and regulations to enforce assertive as well as positive discipline. Another attribute which is witnessed in their approach is behaviourism and punishing the students who fail to abide by the set norms. In addition, the latter model is known for its medium level of control which the teachers exercise on the students. It reflects the attributes of cooperative discipline which is both judicious and non-coercive in nature. In respect to the quality of education and teaching style it has been opined by Natarjan (2012) that the standard of education being provided at primary schools is very low and is not able to match its status of one of the world’s fastest growing economy. In furtherance to the same it has also been stated the primary focus of the teachers at schools is to cover the syllabus. The entire process in classrooms teaching a consistent and common pedagogy to every student present in the class, irrespective of their capabilities and comprehension. Imparting instructions to students is in rote manner and is restricted within the periphery of the set syllabus for each of the levels.
On the other hand, it has been observed by Moyles, Georgeson and Payler (2011) that different forms of support systems and resources are provided to sharpen the thinking process and creativity of a child. In UK main aim of the primary school is to make children self-dependent, confident and responsible. In the UK if children provide laptop facility for completing their work then they will not try or think to work hard. On the internet they can easily find the answers to their problems and in pursuance to the same they are not able to evolve effective writing or critical/analytical thinking skills. Whereas, Cremin and Arthur (2014) has opined that the primary schools in UK operate on the Guiding Model which is based on a low control approach and is inclusive of Congruent Communication, Self-control, inner discipline, group management and such other attributes which encourage self development.
Classrooms, resources and materials for teaching
In accordance to the observations made by Agrawal (2012) the primary school system in UK makes use of advance technology for teaching children which has lead to enhancement of their skills and knowledge at an enormous level. Wastage of time is minimized as searching or reading the books is done on internet which provides a child with diversified exposure to different forms of subjects. On the contrary, Fraser (2012) considers this as a barrier in development of a student. They find an easy way of learning by searching each and everything on the internet instead of looking in school books. This in turn keeps the entire system aloof of a personal touch which plays a crucial role in development of any child. In UK school teachers were highly skilled and experienced which help students in learning more effectively and efficiently. Dyson and Casey (2012) on the other hand, highlights the weakness of this system which makes the students dependent on technology and makes their own thinking process in effective. In consequence to which children avoid hard work, and resistance to accept challenges in future. Apart from this the classroom of primary schools at UK are highly interactive and filled with resources which encourage self development of students. Apart from the syllabus books, a child is able to get exposure to a diversified knowledge over different subjects.
On the contrary, it has been stated by Kurland, Peretz and Hertz-Lazarowitz (2010) that the Indian primary schools are very distinct from the ones existing in UK. The manner of teaching is restricted to the syllabus which is ascertained for each standard by a national or state body. The method of teaching is highly traditional and makes use of the syllabus books for imparting knowledge over the subjects. Thought at this level of schooling the subjects are taught at a very basic level and does not make use of many resources. Though the education system has been imbibed with technological advancements and use of computers as well as internet is encouraged at upper primary level, there exists large scope for the nation to improve its operations for imparting education to children at this young age.
Response of children to teachers
The Indian Education system has always considered their teachers equivalent to teachers and hence, places high respect for their actions. The response to children at the primary schools of India is dependent on various factors such as cultural background, religion and such other factors. It has been observed that the primary schools may not be able to cater to the special needs of certain students, which may have a rebellious or negative reaction from the side of a child. However, Livingstone (2012) has stated that the relation of students with teachers is very formal and strict in nature. On the other hand, Riding and Rayner (2013) has opined that the relation of a student and teacher in UK is more liberal and friendly in nature. The students are given freedom to choose an option of their choice for exercising a particular skill or for self-development.
Maximum primary schools of UK follow the practice of maintaining a homework diary in order to assure that the parents are known to the home work tasks of students for the day. These tasks are generally based on the topics which are covered during the class on the same day, which is similar to the approach followed in India. However, what differs is the approach with which the teachers require the children to undertake the concerned tasks. In UK there are several primary schools which provides excellent education pattern and the primary focus is on self-development of a child through their own activities and thinking process, which is completely distinct from the Indian style of teaching which is restricted within the syllabus.
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