New Delhi: Voicing concern at the 'poor levels of student learning', Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that focus needed to be shifted from enrolment and access to education to "what goes on in the classroom and the school".
Addressing award-winning teachers on the eve of Teachers' Day, Dr Singh stressed on assessing the benefit children were getting from education. He also thanked teachers for contributing to the process of nation building.
Awards will be given to teachers by President Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion, which marks the birthday of former president and educationist S Radhakrishnan.
The Prime Minister, in his address, said the government has substantially increased public spending on education since 2004-05, which has helped in a massive expansion of the educational infrastructure and sanction of additional posts of teachers on a large scale.
"However, the poor levels of student learning remain a major concern. Therefore, as we move ahead, we need a clear shift in our strategy from a focus on inputs, access and enrolment to what goes on in the classroom and the school. We need to set up transparent and reliable systems for tracking attendance of children in a truly meaningful way," Dr Singh said.
"At the same time, we need to put in place a system of continuous assessment of the benefit our children are getting from their education. Participation of the community and parents would be essential in this process, so that they can be satisfied with the quality of teaching," he said.
The Prime Minister said that teachers "have to be an integral part of policy-making, governance and management, as also of day-to-day instructional strategies and decision making".
He also said the empowerment of teachers that includes real opportunity for them to share policy perspectives and decision-making will have to be the key component of the educational reform process.
"Education expenditure as a percentage of our GDP has increased from 3.3 per cent in 2004-05 to 4 per cent in 2011-12. Per capita public expenditure on education has increased from Rs.888 in 2004-05 to Rs.2,985 in 2011-12," he said.
"The enhanced outlays have helped in a massive expansion of the educational infrastructure and sanction of additional posts of teachers on a large scale," the Prime Minister said.