Education system of India: Where are we today?

Albert Einstein once said that education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learnt in school. Education being touted as one of the most powerful weapons that is not merely a preparation for life, but life itself, when viewed through Einstein's humour is hilarious at first and profoundly poignant in a second glance.

Education today is in a revolutionary stage of radical changes. Globally, innovations in the way nations educate their citizens has been undertaken quite a lot. Say, for instance, the Finnish education board has shifted focus from a strictly formal subject-based curriculum to a more systematically oriented, phenomenon based education. In a global village that keeps shrinking to our fingertip, where information is a commodity that can be bought, sold and even be monopolized, such innovations are beneficial for the long haul.

In such a scenario, it is imperative to identify the relative standing of India in terms of the quality of education. India has a rich historical heritage of education in which pupils followed the residential system of the Gurukul and the strict regime associated with it. This was metamorphosed into a school system with a colonial hangover, which is fundamentally very similar to the present education system.

Education became basically a series of classes with a progressive level of difficulty and a regressive tendency of competition in terms of marks and academic performance. This is a seriously debilitating situation for which the entire society has a role. Cultural priming for associating good marks with hard work and smartness is terribly trapping the student from exploring and expressing his or her truest and highest potentials as human beings. In other words, this collective hoarding of marks is corrupting the fundamental objective of education. That is to holistically develop the student. Surprisingly the group that is most affected and often misunderstood are the toppers. They are in a vicious loop of expectations and striving for perfection in exams.

Another major problem faced by the Indian education system lies in the disparity between the learner and the materials to be learnt. The stories, examples etc illustrated in the textbooks might not be updated enough to let the pupil connect it to his or her daily life. This reduces the application of learning in daily life.

In the rat race to complete humongous portions in a brief wink of time, nobody cares about the purpose of learning and application is confined to the few higher order thinking questions in the question paper. This framework encourages rote learning, for ultimately marks are given to the level of memory tested using the exams.

Apart from these, the learning environment, as well as the system, needs to be updated along with the curriculum and method of teaching. In a situation where formal education is being increasingly commercialised and knowledge is being given monetary emphasis, it is high time to financially invest in improving the educational facilities, not merely in terms of quantity but also quality.

Educational settings ought to be more humane. Along with basic facilities such as well lighted, clean and properly arranged classrooms, multimodal educational and technical aids and effective classroom management, emphasis should be given to introducing methods and adaptations that cater to the psychological set up of the learner, say for Instance by not exceeding one session for more than 40 or 45 minutes. This has to be the case even in the higher education system as these are based on the average span of attention in human beings.

Also the current scheme of all pass till 8th standard and then suddenly restricting such liberations with an unprecedented strictness and higher expectations is blatantly being cruel to children. This is the flaw of not holistically improving a child. According to Howard Gardner's pioneering theory of multiple intelligence, doing well in the individual disciplines is not the only kind of intelligence. However, it is a matter of strong scepticism as to whether the Indian educational system has taken this into account.

Due to such obsession with academics and marks, children who are already heavily spoon-fed in schools are given further assistance, sometimes to a toxic level in the name of tuitions and coaching programs. The hysterical concerns regarding the academic performance of the child and such overwhelming emphasis on it will eventually succeed in the kid losing interest in the subjects. The boom in professional courses in the last decade has led to the rise of this” not so spoken about trend” as a by-product, especially in higher secondary education. Throughout this period, the adolescent’s personality and sexual development are conveniently ignored. Sadly, in India, porn sites or less experienced peers are the ones who provide distorted sex education. This unhealthy trends progress into adulthood and consolidate into a crooked society, thereby failing education at its core.

Another major problem is the huge number of dropouts from schools and colleges. Despite the adoption of methods like mid-day meal schemes or Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, we cannot conclusively say that there are no more dropouts. One major reason tends to be the non-inclusive style of educational and evaluation systems we have. This is often cited to be one reason that exacerbates issues ranging from unemployment to severe poverty.

India has realised the extent to which an outdated educational system hinders its progress as a nation and has made meticulous efforts to rectify the limitations. It is imperative not to turn a blind eye towards the giant leaps we have taken in terms of encouraging public education, empowering the minority groups and establishing a more educated foundation in terms of human resource. Our educational systems, partly due to our cultural heritage and collectivistic tendencies are today institutions that inculcate the cultural norms, values and conscientiousness in youth. Our system also has great strength in terms of discipline. However, it's always necessary to keep in mind about the miles and miles we have to go with respect to our education standards to combat the challenges ahead.

- Ananda Krishnan

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Education system of India: Where are we today? Education system of India: Where are we today? Reviewed by EMN on March 17, 2019 Rating: 5

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