The Education Culture in India:
Carter G. Woodson once said, “Real education means to inspire people, to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.”
In our contemporary culture, people have realized that education translates into opportunity and hope for the future. They have understood the fact that the ability to get an education, to foster creativity and curiosity, to seek answers will allow mankind to continue to grow. Today, children are encouraged to reach their fullest potential. Teachers are better qualified. The brick and mortar classroom is, fortunately, a thing of the past. All this has drastically altered the education culture in India.
The education culture in India has reached interesting times. Modern-day education is certainly aided by computers, projectors, the internet, and much more. Everything that can be simplified has been made simpler. Technology and science have explored every aspect of life. Internet provides implausible knowledge, and there is no end to it. Not only our planet but the whole universe has become accessible today.
The Rich Cultural Past
The history of the education culture in India is equally enthralling. In ancient times, India followed the Gurukula system of education in which anyone who wished to study went to a teacher’s (Guru) house and requested to be taught. If accepted as a student by the guru, he/she would then stay at the guru’s place and help with all activities at home. The guru was responsible for teaching everything the child wanted to learn, from Sanskrit to the holy scriptures and from mathematics to metaphysics. The entire journey of learning was closely linked to nature and to life, and not confined to memorizing some information.
The Changes Over the Years
The British can be credited for bringing a revolution in the Indian education system. The colonial period, from 1757 to 1947, saw the rising of various government universities at Bombay (Mumbai), Calcutta (Kolkata) and Madras (Chennai). Apart from the Indian Universities and Governmental colleges, several Non-Government and Private schools were also established by Western Christian missions, to provide opportunities for elementary education. Women education became prevalent with the advent of the British and different The curriculum in private girls’ schools ranged from the Urdu, Persian, writing, arithmetic, needlework, and Islamic studies of Punjabi. Moreover, the English language became the medium of instruction because it was believed that the English language would make Indians capable of receiving knowledge across international borders.
The modern school system was introduced in India, including the English language, originally by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay in the 1830s. The syllabus was confined to “modern” subjects such as science and mathematics, and subjects like metaphysics and philosophy were considered unnecessary. Teaching got confined to classrooms, and the link with nature was broken, as also the close relationship between the teacher and the student.
The Current Scenario
One cannot deny the fact that modern education has led to social awakening and awareness amongst people all over India. Thanks to the recent revolutionary developments, now any kind of information is easily accessible, that too at the doorstep of each and every individual. It has made the present generation much more informed about the developments happening anywhere in the whole world and knowledgeable than previous generations.
Education in modern India includes primary education, secondary education, senior secondary education and higher education. Elementary education has eight years of education, while secondary and senior secondary education consists of two years of education respectively. Higher education in India starts after passing the higher secondary education, and post-graduation courses are generally of two to three years of duration. Numerous colleges and institutes have emerged all over the country to provide better educational opportunities to the students. Development of the education sector in India is one of the factors driving the nation towards progress.
Issues & Challenges
Free India experienced a phenomenal growth in education at all levels—primary, senior secondary, and college/university levels, but it cannot be concluded that the quality of education has also increased simultaneously. The pattern of education, by and large, remained the same, i.e., colonial, leaving aside a few peripheral changes here and there.
Progress has been desolate in education. India spends only 3.85 per cent of the GDP on education. Some 8 million children are still out of school, though gross enrolment ratio has improved but not enough.
The current education culture in India definitely demands many changes. Most importantly a change in the mentality of people. If a student is unable to perform well academically, teachers and parents should not discuss their failures publicly and embarrass them. Children need to be dealt with kindness and be helped to improvise. Parents should be more responsible. Instead of comparing their child to someone else or siblings, they should explore the unique potential of their children. Teachers should also experiment with their style. Never should a child be discouraged on the basis of societal norms. It’s the norms that need to change, not the child.
The really critical aspect of Indian public education system is its low quality. The actual quantity of schooling that children experience and the quality of teaching they receive are extremely insufficient in government schools. A common feature in all government schools is the poor quality of education, with weak infrastructure and inadequate pedagogic attention.
We hope the government takes appropriate policy measures to improve the education system otherwise inequalities are going to be widespread. The lack of reforms will let India’s basic capabilities remain stunted. Let us strengthen the case for a stronger education culture to foster the ocean of talent in our country.