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Present Education

By SomDebasish1 May 06, 2013 929 Words
Present Education as I see it:
Someone approached me to teach his ward some mathematics or rather to supplement what could not be comprehensively deciphered from the notes from the plethora of private tutors (I don't know whether the notes are photocopies of age-old yellowish original manuscripts written in the last century and passed on from generation to generation). I am not blaming the notes or their authors rather I have the highest regard for both. But what a young impressionable mind in early teens need to appreciate is the beauty, thrill and magic of a subject. For example, in Mathematics the student should be exposed to and told about the interconnecting web that different streams of mathematics offers and how an insight of the interconnection of different streams of mathematics makes learning a seamless fun and that cannot happen if the teenager is considered as a raw material in a factory devoted to production of identical finished goods at the highest production rate attainable so that in given time the maximum number of students are churned out through the machine called a tutorial. I was horrified when I found that the student in question is reading from a book of MCQs which is like a question bank and not even sure of the name of the text books let alone read, read and ingest, digest and internalize the contents of the text book that has been the text book to students for the last hundred years or so and still considered to be the last word in the subject. Neither the student nor the parents are to be blamed. Because A-sir or B-sir or X-sir or Y-Sir will take mock tests which are not only mocks of the JEE or AIEEE or this or that but also makes a mockery of education. The student laps up the MCQ book as it enables the poor fellow to score in the mock creating a sense of great complacence and comfort for the parents and the student with their eyes fixed upon thee goal of getting into IIT, NIIT or likes like the proverbial eye of the bird aimed for by Arjuna. The score also provides a false sense of security that the studies are on right track and everything is honky dory. Nobody tells to first learn the subject well, do enough practice problems from easy to tough and in the process internalize the subject and once that is dome MCQs can be solved without any effort. But the victim is a thorough grasp of the subject, a clear understanding of the fundamentals and ability to grasp with problems offering challenges not faced before. We are collectively making a mockery of school education: it is like the old Confucius saying: you must go to doctor because he has to live, you have to go to chemist as he has to live but you should not take the medicine because you have to live too. The students must go to the teachers as the other student is going and probably learning things to succeed in JEE etc., the teacher must teach MCQ types and take mock tests because that is what other teachers are offering and if he does not follow suit, it is curtain for his tutorial, the organized tutorials are doing the same thing , the JEE type exams are being conducted with the same template questions and the MCQ books are having gala time in making a question bank of such templates.....BUT then the student at a much later date realizes that he does not know the subject and the teachings of professors in Engineering, Medical or Pure Science assume a basic understanding of the subject which unfortunately was not learnt because MCQ books did not offer it, mock tests did not test it or the tutorials or the teachers never bothered to teach it. It is not that the problem lies only at the school education level. The malady that starts from school continues at graduation level too. Encapsulation has become the byword in today’s world. Like you have fast food, you have fast education, which is an assurance of a tatkal ticket to higher education in Institutions where the gold-pot at the end of the rainbow is a job through placement. An Institute is never judged by the faculty it has but by its placement record. Dig deep inside the management priorities of any Engineering College: roping in good faculty fades when compared to ensuring good companies turn up for placement. What follows is that the quality of education is compromised; a fact realized by the Companies as years go on and their enthusiasm to turn up for placement dampens gradually. Nobody realizes that quality of education ensures everything but what happens is that we focus on the downstream products without ensuring quality of the main product. And we have our next generation who do not have any knowledge or any understanding of any subject.. and the Nation will lament that there are no basic research, no good publications, no patents and everybody will blame the lack of research facility and adequate fund in universities, lack of R & D budget in private sector and all possible blame game excepting the fact that we have, as parents, insisted good scores in mock tests and somehow, beg , borrow or steal, ensure admission of our wards in Engineering / Medical Colleges as that was our moksha and just threw out of the window the quest for knowledge and the need for the same.

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