The benefits and the importance of education are not limited to one individual. An educated and skilled individual can work for the betterment of the society he or she lives in. Students learn the norms of social interactions, ethics, and morality. They develop a sense to differentiate between right and wrong. Education instills a sense of responsibility in students towards their nation and its people by opening up vast opportunities.
Education Through The Ages
The history of education shows evolution. What started off as teaching skills like hunting or farming, education now has transformed into imparting valuable information as well as shaping young minds to be better human beings. Historically, religion was the highlight of education. The objective was to enlighten and shape young minds either to keep them closer to religion or to seek education outside of religion. With the dawn of the 20th century, the education sector revolutionized. As globalization sped up, the importance of a strengthened economy was laid down upon the skillset and the education of the general public.
As we entered the 21st century, technological development again raised serious questions for educators. Unfortunately, the system established to meet the economic demands during the previous century now seems outdated in the extremely globalized world we live in. The world now deals with many problems. Thanks to globalization, one of the major problems are inclusion, be it of race, religion, or being differently-abled. This sector demands reevaluation every once in a while to cope with the changing times. There has been noticeable work done in the field of special education. Many well-known universities now offer online Special Education Teacher Masters to meet the growing need for special education teachers. Still, a lot is yet to be done.
The Problems in Education
Unfortunately, the overall satisfaction of the stakeholders of education has reduced drastically. The pandemic has indeed made it worse, but the statistics were appalling even before the outbreak of covid-19. Unfortunately, we have entered a vicious cycle where the ignored issues of the sector are causing dissatisfaction among teachers and students. This article will discuss a few problems threatening the education sector today.
- Adaptability Problems
The education sector sees massive resistance to change. Tried and tested methods that have been used for years are difficult to change as the stakes are very high. Since there has been a lot of advancement in technology, it is very hard for teachers and policymakers to adopt technology in classrooms. The transition becomes easier if it has been tried before and has shown positive results. But it requires a lot of nerves to be the first one to adopt. Indeed, some old methods are invaluable, but education requires dynamism, and changing with time is the key.
- Standardized Testing
Standardized testing goes way back in history. Many presidents have passed bills and made laws to ensure educational equality across the country. The capitalistic approach to education has bred many problems for public schools. This is exactly what the aim of implementing standardized tests was – to keep the public school’s quality of education at par. Students were made to take these tests at the end of every academic year to ensure all schools provided the same level of education.
Many believed that setting standards and testing a child’s growth based on sciences or math does not allow individuality. These tests do not permit creativity and hinder the growth of non-traditional learners. Since schools were judged greatly upon these results, the perspective of education changed from “study to learn” to “study for grades.” There was a lot of pressure on the teachers to make sure the school’s doors stayed open, and this caused students to lose interest in their studies altogether.
- Budgetary Constraints
Public schools face many problems due to lower funding. This causes the school to hire incompetent staff for menial salaries. The schools do not have enough funding for repairs and maintenance, much rather purchase top-quality technology to improve their standards of education. Many teachers and principals were forced to pay for these repairs from their own pockets.
It is a pity that 50.8 million (90%) children attend public schools. We cannot even begin to imagine how poor funding is damaging the future of this country.
- Incompetent Teachers
The dissatisfaction of the teachers in their profession can be seen from the above-mentioned statistics. Poor educational leadership, fewer professional development opportunities, lower salaries, and excessive workload has made teachers lose their spark and motivation. Teachers are the most important player in this sector, and their satisfaction should be of the highest priority for the law and policymakers.
Teacher’s tenure is another hindrance to improvement. Although the policy of securing public teachers’ jobs was well-intended, the problem remains that incompetent teachers are still teaching and cannot be removed. What needs to be done is to revise the contracts and the terms and expectations from teachers.
- Overcrowded Classrooms
The problem of overcrowded classrooms is not just limited to public schools. Due to lesser funding and higher demand, public schools are expected to enroll more students. The National Centre for Education Statistics report stated that nearly 14% of American Schools exceed capacity. On the other hand, private schools enroll more students to generate higher profits. There are clear laws regarding the student-to-teacher ratio. This has been put in place to ensure that a teacher is able to effectively teach and give individual attention to all students in their class.
- Students’ Physical And Emotional Safety
The following statistics depict the reality of the students’ safety better
- Since the shooting at Colorado’s Columbine High School in April 1999, more than 187,000 U.S. students have been exposed to gun violence in school
- National Centre for Education Statistics reported that 21% of students had been bullied. And over 60% of cases go unreported
- There has been an increase in sexual assault cases in high schools and colleges. Nearly 12% of students reported such cases
- The percentage of black students in schools is 8%, yet almost 25% of suspensions and punishments are given to these students
These issues of discrimination, bullying and sexual assault need to be dealt with head-on. Students suffering from these problems lose interest in their studies and eventually opt for dropping out of school or college. The ramifications of this decision can be adverse for the students as well as the educational institute.
The increase in many social problems like increased crime rate and general intolerance is exactly because of the deteriorating situation of the education system. Educational reforms have become the need of the hour to ensure an academically and socially progressive society in the future. All the problems need to be addressed and sorted out in time so that we can save our futures.