• 38% of doctors in America are Indians
• 12% of scientists in America are Indians
• 36% of NASA employees are Indians
• 34% of Microsoft employees are Indians
• The India group is the only one from South Asia to figure in the top 10 economically active working-age population. The group's average annual income is higher than that of the local British (21,250 pounds). • Third largest tertiary education system after china and US. We have institutions like IITs and IIMs which are recognized worldwide and worlds largest consultancy firm Mac Kinsey hires most of the students from IIMs. Indian people are at top level in many world famous companies like chairman and chief executive of Pepsi-cola, Indra Nooyi and the mind behind many inventions like Vinod Dham, inventor of Pentium chip and there are so many.
Does all this data indicate in any way that Indians are less intelligent than others or for that matter lacking in educational qualifications than others???? No??????
Then have a look at the following data:
• The literacy rate of India as of 2009 is estimated to be 79.9% • Of the entire world's illiterate people, 35% live in India. • it is estimated that by the year 2020 over 50% of the illiterate population will live in India • Approximately 40% of students, mostly girls, drop out by secondary school. • Approximately 9 million children are not yet enrolled in schools. • 52 percent of children aged 7 to 14 in rural India could not read a simple paragraph of second-grade difficulty, even after attending school. • The HDI ranking of India in 2009 is 132nd out of 179 countries. • In India 40% of the people who commit suicide belong to the adolescent age group.
What is the reason that the country which has 3rd largest tertiary education system in the world, fails miserably at its primary and secondary level?? What is the reason that there are more number of suicides due to stress of education in India?? What is the reason for the low literacy rates in our country?? We know we are not less intelligent compared to others but the main problem is what we receive as education itself is at fault. While trying to gain answers to all these questions, I came across a fact: that the education system in our country can be divided in two parts: education received by children in rural areas and that by children in urban areas. Problems faced in education sector in both these areas are completely different.
According to our mentality there are only two career options in this world, engineering and medical. All other career options are considered not worth pursuing. We don’t give students the freedom to pursue a career of their choice. Moreover we burden them with our expectations. We fail to understand that each and every child has his own capacity and limitations. Some children are good in studies while others are good in sports. Everybody is gifted. But we don’t give our children the time required to find and develop that gift. This is the main reason for the fact that we have many professionals in the fields of engineering and doctors but not much in others. Most of the time other career options are not selected because of the thinking that those career paths will not be as satisfying in terms of money as engineering or medical is. But again this is a myth. If you excel in something, the horizon is very wide to develop yourself and you excel in those things that you love to do. According to George Bernard Shaw “what we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge and not the knowledge in pursuit of child”. And the child will pursue knowledge when he’s interested in that particular area. Otherwise it will be the other way round wherein we will produce just robots who will function as per the orders given to them but are not capable of taking a single decision on their own or don’t know how to solve a problem when it occurs.
Another important drawback of our system is that it is highly monotonous, with much emphasis on academics, rather than practical applications. We are taught to regurgitate, learn from the textbooks and then spit it out in papers.. We know the concepts but we don’t have any idea as how to apply them. Here what we follow is the concept of all work and no play and this definitely makes jack a dull boy. Employers worldwide look for not just education, but also community involvement, extracurricular involvement, voluntary service, and so on. All these are not encouraged and therefore are sadly missing from the Indian education system. This system really takes the spark out of any student. By the time they reach university, they are tired and worn out. Education must make the student THINK. It must make them invent new ideas and not reinvent the same wheel. Rightly said by Albert Einstein, “it is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”
These are the main problems faced by students in urban areas apart from increase in educational expenditure. Most of the parents are not able to give their students the desired education because of high fees. This problem is common in both urban and rural area. One more thing is the quota system. I don’t understand why even after 62 years of independence we still have this quota system?? Dr Babasaheb ambedkar implemented this system at that time when it was needed most. But he made it amply clear that this system should be there in our constituency only for 10 years. But due to benefits that our politicians gain, this system is still prevalent. I agree that some people require financial aid. So why don’t we keep reservations for those students who are deserving but are financially not able to take admission?? Why there has to be a reduction in cut offs of marks in case of caste students?? What about those open students who deserve but don’t get admission because of this reservation system?? This is another serious problem that is degrading our education system.
In India, rural education is not in a very good condition. A study of 188 government-run primary schools found that 59% of the schools had no drinking water and 89% had no toilets. If this is the condition, how can we improve the quality of education? Most of the time the teachers are either absent or they are not teaching. They take private tuitions and earn money. The child that fails to take tuition fails in the exams as well. So this is the present scenario of rural education in India.
1. Corruption – The computers, laptops, projectors and printers and other hardware that is provided for the village schools hardly reaches to its intended destination. Most of the times these things are swallowed by the people in charge.
2. Lack of basic infrastructure – Even after having a computer and a projector to attend a video conferencing class, we cannot go to school if we do not have roads and means of transport.
3. There is a lack of number of schools in the rural areas. Students have to walk miles to reach their schools. And even if they reach their school, they are not in a condition to study.
4. Electricity – What is the use of having a computer in schools when we don’t have proper electricity supply there? It is not uncommon for students completing six years of primary schooling in village public schools to lack even rudimentary reading and writing skills.
• And the most important problem that has weakened our education system is the prevention of girl child from attending the school. The mentality of people in village areas is that girls don’t require education. And because of this girls don’t even get a chance to shape their lives. They are constantly dependant on their male counterparts to take care of them for the rest of their lives. And most importantly we lose a great pool of talent. These people don’t let their girls study so needless to mention that they are not given any opportunity to develop their talent in any other field of their choice be it dancing or singing, acting and so on. And because of this attitude the overall literacy rate in India is low. • Some people even think that education is not important for any of them because they concentrate more on their occupation, be it agriculture or any other skill. They think if they are going to practice their occupation in future, what difference does it make whether they are educated or not?? But awareness needs to be created that if they are educated then they can do their business more efficiently. And this requires real efforts on part of government. Because these thinking is deeply rooted in their mindset and cannot be easily molded. • One more problem is about child labor. Poor parents, with children who earn some money, are not ready to send their children to school because it will stop the funds coming in the house. This attitude on part of parents should be eradicated. This can be done by making them aware that child labor is illegal and it may lead to severe punishments and by creating awareness about importance of education. If possible jobs should be provided to the parents, if they are unemployed, as per their abilities.
We have talked a lot about problems in education sector. Now we will see what all reform techniques can be undertaken to overcome these problems. How should be the ideal education imparting system?? According to swami Vivekananda “Yatha kharas chandan bharvahi
Bharasya vetta, ne tu chandansya
“Develop an education system that produces men who had conquered fear and were full of energy and faith in themselves. Education is not the amount of information that is put into ones brain and runs riot there, undigested, all ones life. We must have a life building, man making, character making assimilation of ideas. The ass carrying its load of sandalwood knows only the weight and not the value of the sandalwood. If education were identical with information, the libraries would have been the greatest sages in the world, the encyclopedias, the rishis”. While talking about the reforms, one may wonder what has government done to overcome these problems?? Government indeed has taken few initiatives. Some of them were proved to be effective, while some others failed. Government has mostly undertaken reforms for rural areas and few of them are Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, mid-day meal programme, community participation scheme and so on. There are many other programs undertaken by government as well as private institutions like NGOs. But these problems still exist making it clear that these initiatives are either not effective in the first place or that they are not implemented properly. In India, we have rules and regulations for everything but we don’t implement those rules properly. Apart from proper implementation of these rules what can be done to see India emerge as a superpower in education system?? 1. According to amartya sen, most of the problems that we face in education sector are due to poor teachers. What we lack is dedication on the part of teachers. In rural areas there are not many qualified teachers and in urban areas because of the growing culture of tuition classes they don’t bother to teach well in schools and colleges. This attitude can only be changed by appointing people who have a passion for teaching. According to William Arthur ward, • “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” • This inspiration should be cultivated in early childhood years so that students become more focused about their life. So that they will develop an interest in coming to schools, especially for children in rural areas where education is not given much importance. 2. The quality of technical education in our country should be improved and by technical education I am referring to the ITIs and not to the IITs. The skills imparted by ITIs must keep pace with the technological demands of the industry and the expanding universe of knowledge. Because of these the skills of technicians in India will increase and as they say” there are plenty of managers but not enough skilled employees “. This problem will be solved because of this approach. As we all know success of any industry depends on the expertise of its workers and skilled manpower will go a long way to ensure that the company flourishes. 3. We have to give more focus on strengthening primary schools in rural areas and the schemes like free mid day meal should be implemented properly. Several states are not able to utilize fully the free food grain quota allotted by union government under the national mid day meal scheme due to various reasons, corrupt officials being one of them. Moreover the food that is provided to poor children is not of the desired quality, many a times its adulterated. This should be prevented. If properly implemented this scheme will reap many benefits. Due to guarantee of food it will ensure attendance of children who are really very poor. 4. About evaluation system at schools, I think that we should remove this conventional ‘pass-fail” method, which hurts the self-esteem of the under performing child. We should use an evaluation process to identify the individual “knowledge, skills and attitudes “and map them on to “aptitudes and competencies”. Every child would have some aptitudes and competencies, and these must be discovered for setting the direction for further learning and career planning. While this means ‘automatic pass’, no doubt, this is not mindless passing of all students but a process of discovery of strengths; the society must be educated about this difference. 5. Traditional ideas of full time primary education, using school as a community centre, are unsuitable in many situations. An example is where education needs to be provided to children and adults in their spare time and close to their homes. 6. Non professional teachers, whether workers, villagers, or students need to be used in large numbers for teaching the educationally unreached. 7. Child psychologists have repeatedly pointed out that learning by hearing and feeling, which are better developed faculties in children in the age group of 3 to 6, compared to learning by reading and writing, would be more effective. The current emphasis on reading and writing from a young age group is not conducive to creativity. Thus education system should focus more on sensory-learning to tap the latent curiosity in children. 8. Our education system should promote experimental learning. As explained above, to overcome the problem of book based and theory oriented teaching, we should make students learn by practice. It will inculcate independent thinking. Learning to learn from a vast array of information should be made critical. The teacher’s role has to transform to that of a facilitator. There should be a shift from teaching to learning to learn. This will help students develop a research mindset from the beginning. 9. Role of IT in education:
• The use of information technology can bring about incredible changes in primary as well adult education. Two schools sponsored by the Mother’s Service Society in rural Tamil nadu and urban Pondicherry has successfully proved this. They have used computerized aids to facilitate the teaching process and quality of early childhood education improved significantly. It has been seen that the students have far higher levels of comprehension when learning is coupled with enjoyment. Computerization offers a means to provide the highest quality education, teaching materials, and teaching aids at a low cost • The traditional schools should be transformed into knowledge centers. then with the help of new technologies such as IT and internet, the number of years a child spends on schooling in India can be lessened by two years overall. This also ensures effective saving of money. Of course this is a long term planning, but if we want to build a world class education system it will take some time. We cannot expect immediate results. And in-depth analysis also is required to check the efficiency of the above method. But there is great hope that IT revolution will give positive results. To just understand the importance of IT we can look at the prediction made by Peter Drucker, the famous Management Guru. He said that by 2020, residential universities with their campuses, would have disappeared and may become only an educational tourist potential. That means everything may become computerized even the education system. • The cost of IT in education is an important factor to be considered. The alumni of that particular school can help a lot in terms of financial aid as well as business firms. If this can be worked out for all schools then it will be very beneficial for students as they will learn what they will use in future. 10. To draw the lords chariot (Rath) fast,
Everyone should give a hand-no one is exempt.
Even the non-governmental sector should help in upliftment of the education sector in our country. But while allowing non-governmental initiatives, care should be taken that there should not be any decline of the public sector of education. This sector can be seen as providing vital inputs in terms of finance, management skills, time, experimentation, improvements, teaching-learning materials, expansion of facilities and so on. 11. The reservation system for caste people should be removed to make education fair to everyone and financial aid, to those students who really deserve but are too poor to afford the fees, should be given. According to mark twain,
So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.” So ,much blessed is our country. Lets make it number one in terms of literacy also. I think if we decided to make a change, we can do it. Lets make a change for the making our country a better place to live in.
POOJA R SURVE