Why education in India is going nowhere
Having been “Educated” in India for almost 18 years now, and still staying sane is a bit of a miracle. At least to me, cause i’m not someone who really likes the “contemporary” system of education. I somehow feel that this education is what is ruining the otherwise fast developing country. I would like to elaborate on that point in this rant post, if you can call it that.
What is the purpose of education? I feel its training our mind to think, make clear decisions, and keep your place in this lightning fast world. In this context, i know for a fact that the present education system does nothing of that sort. Sure, one can justify it by quoting numbers about low literacy rate, the need for basic education (reading and writing) and all that. In a country like India, that is a major problem because no matter how much you try, there is always a majority of population who still need the bare necessities to survive. But is that reason enough to generalize the education system for everyone? Is this the case in all the countries?
To those who aren’t familiar with it, here is a short take. Every state has its own education board, which frames its curriculum. It is then followed by all the schools which comes under the state board, from class 1 to 12. Almost all these boards have very limited knowledge about education , because its mostly made up of politicians. Any self respecting educationist will stay away from them at all costs. And the syllabus is changed every other year in the name of upgrading, when what actually happens is some minor changes are made. Most of these changes are due to some silly fact in text books, that the political parties play with. The court intervenes, and some change is made.
And the model of education is pathetic. You are advised and required to follow only the prescribed book, which makes no effort to actually teach you the subject. The teachers fill up the black board, pretending to teach you the subject, whereas she is just reproducing what is present in the book. No effort is made to make teaching innovative (at least in most cases) and you end up mugging the entire book. For those who find that a big task, guides are available, that just give you FAQ type walkthrough on the entire subject. And exams are just a big joke! If you reproduce everything verbatim, you get the highest mark. No effort is even made to change the questions other than those given as exercise behind the book. Even if a student actually gains knowledge otherwise, he will be disappointed to see the end result.
And then there is the CBSE/ICSE boards, which are central boards. These are far better than the state boards in the fact that they encourage thinking, expressing the answers as points in the student’s perception, and don’t expect you to mug up math. But these schools are abundant only in the cities, and small towns do not have the luxury of having quality schools. A student who studies under the CBSE syllabus for 12 years can consider himself/herself lucky !
The real crux of the problem is college education. I have one word for it – CRAP! College education is what equips the student to face life, get a good job, build up on a career. It is THIS education that is robbing the students of their creativity, their passion for something, the willingness to experiment and question. Because everywhere you look, there are just colleges that screw you! There are thousands of enginneering , arts and science colleges, universities, business schools, etc. But for a handful, the rest are places one will not want to study in. Universities frame their syllabus after consulting someone, the papers are allocated by someone else, the question paper is set by yet another, and the evaluation of the papers is done by an entirely different set of people! I have even heard for the mouth of my own professor that teacher sometimes evaluate papers that they dont teach, or have no knowledge about! They are just handed the answer key, and they start off deciding the fate of students! If that isn’t cruel, i don’t know what else it is.
Absolutely NO effort is made to let the students think. If someone goes against the system, the system squishes that student. You are not allowed to question anything against the faculty, the college or the university. You are not allowed to think independently. You are not allowed to innovate. You are not allowed to study in your own style. What is the use of studying programming in some language, if all you are asked to do is read up on some theory, and reproduce the same old programs even in the exam? What sense does it make to study about old and extinct technologies, which were popular a decade back?
There is this big talk about BPO being the best thing in the country since independence. I beg to differ. Although it is employing thousands of people, it does cause brain drain. We are tech labourers, and not as innovators. How many interesting pieces of software, or ideas have come out from student in India? I cannot think of one. Does this mean we aren’t intelligent? Definitely not! We have the potential, and the creativity to innovate, to make interesting ideas come to life. But our education system either kills that idea, or doesn’t allow it to grow.
Again, i’m talking about the general picture. There are colleges like IITs and IIMs that are rated among the best in the world! They should be, cause they get the creamy layer of students. People who go there are the brightest minds in India, and they invariably leave the country after their education in these elite colleges. But that is an entirely different story all together.
This is my sincere request to the people who control the education system – please refine the system before it makes a zombie out of all the youngsters in the country! There is a huge amount of potential to be tapped for the progress of the country. Let education be the way to improvement, rather than slavery!
Disclaimer : This is my point of view after having been in this system for a long long time. There are certainly exceptions to most things i have quoted. If it sounds more like a rant than an article, it was meant to be that way.
EDIT : I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHAT OTHER STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND ANYONE ELSE REMOTELY INTERESTED IN EDUCATION THINKS! SO PLEASE DROP IN A COMMENT IF YOU HAVE THE TIME