Friday, 21 February 2014

Does Indian Education System Need A Change ?

The education policy of India is to filter out the best from the rest. This has its merits as well as demerits. The top rank holders are further trained to excel and master some aspect of their field. This is theoretically good, but, as is evident hasn't quite worked out. According to stats, the erudite are leaving the country in search of higher salaries or better facilities. There are many who have made a global mark after they left the country behind. A recent example could be Mr. Satya Nadela. One may also consider Mr. Ajay Bhatt the co-inventor of USB technology.

The policy itself is not flawed, the elite were supposed to learn at a higher level and apply their knowledge to improve the status of society at various levels. Initially this may have been the case, but, media-hype and an urge to pretend to be extraordinary led our savants astray. Instead of staying back and getting their hands and feet dirty, they took the foreign route. However the fault is not entirely of these individuals. When a child is admitted in a school in India in most cases parents tend to cease taking interest in the learning process of their children. The child is supposed to score marks and pass all exams. The focus is not on developing a life long nature of learning and implementing. Children are not interested in mediocrity of school life, they want things to be magical. Alphabets form words and words form sentences which in turn form the wonderful rhymes. Children love to enjoy. The current pedagogy throws them in a race.

By the time the child reaches college level (XI and XII in India), its choice of higher studies is biased by what parents, relatives, elders round the block want or have chosen. After somehow getting past this stage the under-runners have to face the embarrassment of not being able to qualify the prestigious national competitive exams, which, their schools did not prepare them for. The sense of mediocrity and inferiority remains stuck in their minds. The toppers on the other hand, have a sense of accomplishment and blooming confidence which helps them advance in their careers. An average IITian (best engineers in India) then seeks a job in some multinational company and eventually leaves country.

The question, however, still remains unanswered that why won't they stay in their home country. There are numerous factors the most important being the socio-economic one where parents and teachers encourage fresh graduates to prove their mettle in foreign countries and "earn accolades" offshore. Then there are the political reasons, MBA grads from IIMs (bests in India) have to undergo a harrowing experience if they try to setup their own companies with political and anti-social elements seeking undue shares in profits. The grad rather decides to pursue dreams in foreign lands. The competition which shaped the entire life of the child since school through graduation eventually fails to deliver the gem the country needs. The policies, the pedagogy, the entire model of teaching needs to be refurbished from scratch.

The key elements of derogatory impact of present system on the minds of the child are: peer pressure, feeling of failure, being evaluated for worth and judged. On one hand unless we have tests and exams we cannot ourselves be certain that the young ones have learned what we taught, on the other, the above factors take over. In my opinion remote learning via networking is a far better option where one has deadlines, homeworks and exams, but, need not compare with others. Human teachers are indispensable, but, they will remain as guides and not evaluators. At a higher level, parents and elders must encourage the idea of serving the country with the power of knowledge instead of merely contemplating better employment.

In old tribal days, when a child was born, not only the parents, but also the entire tribe made it point to teach the child and carve a winner out of it. The child was taught to live and die for the tribe. That hasn't changed even to this day, it is just that the tribe has grown bigger in size. One day, not yet, the tribe shall span the entire world, is all that we can hope, but, till then we must not reject the residuum but make that extra effort to carve winners. Unless we believe that our country is a better place, we will not begin to make it so.

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