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Oft critiqued, yet with flaws: The Indian Education System

Progress in education is the foundation – critical for a nation to build a skilled workforce, and also to help people improve their livelihoods as a country grows. However, the quality of education – basically the Indian education system – is a serious problem in India as our system is one-dimensional and lays emphasis only on scoring marks and not acquiring skills required for the job. Questions on whether the children are really learning, go unanswered.

It is important that education policy makers review the situation and reorient the education system to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of employable graduates.

What is Potential without Opportunities?

“India is set to become the youngest country by 2020 with 64 percent of its population in the working age group.” We all come across such cliché statements day in and day out. On looking closer, our enrollment numbers are a curtain drawn across a dismal reality. While there is nothing wrong with the statistics, such figures make you ask the question – Do these figures imply that the nation is growing, developing, or even emerging as a super power? The answer is simple, and it is ‘No.’ Our country may have a lot of potential, but most of it would not be of much use if it is not channelized properly.

Making Education Accessible to All

The only way to harness this potential in an organized way is by educating the masses. Education, as we understand it in the contemporary world, has been reduced to rhetoric when in fact most of our educational institutions are like assembly lines that churn out workers, which are reduced to mere duplicators and their creative talents are hampered in the process. The capitalists have turned the educational system into one more tool to exploit the poor, and proudly refer to it as the ‘education industry.’ It’s crucial to spread the reach of education in remote areas and give every underprivileged child the opportunity to spread his/her wings.

Going Beyond Mere ‘Training’ 

If statistics are to be believed, 1.5 million engineering students graduate every year in India and run the risk of not getting a job. India produces approximately 50,000 doctors each year, and still, people die due to the lack of proper health care, and so on. The problem isn’t the lack of jobs but the fact that we have restricted the realms of education and reduced its definition to nothing more than a way to land up in a lucrative position. Thus, we end up being, what can be referred to as well trained, not well educated.

If the term ‘development of India’ has to grow beyond rhetoric, then major reformation is needed at the micro as well as macro level. These reforms have to begin with an emphasis on the development of the individual. The question remains: What sort of reforms are we talking about? Reform cannot always be thought of as a change in policies of the state. It has to begin in the mind, or when an individual starts thinking in an unconventional way.

Innovation Required in Teaching Methodology

While the West keeps on experimenting, and seeking novel ways of growth, India never allows itself to take risks, and that is where the Indian Education System lags behind. We have to change our thinking about education, and finally, implement this change in a pragmatic manner.

Education is not simply a process to get you a job; that is not the only role of education. It is about understanding yourself, your capabilities and putting yourself up for what you are best at, for the benefit of the society. It is not just about learning new things. It’s about exploring your hidden talents, and utilizing them for a better life. Education should be able to transform a stone into a statue and a moth into a butterfly. Whether it’s using more interactive mediums of teaching or the use of technology, India needs to give a serious thought to how children are being taught. The syllabus needs to be less theoretical and make students understand how to face the world.

Education as a Tool of Self-Realization

Today, after twenty years of education, students graduate only to end up depressed. There’s such a dearth of opportunities that they are ready to accept any job. What happens to our passion then? Where does it hide? The education has ruined us so far. It has devastated us. We study engineering and join banks. We get an MBA and join a BPO. We learn mathematics and do not know anything else that we can do with it other than teaching it to our students. We have adopted mediocrity, and it will destroy us as well as the Indian Education System.

Our problem is not that we don’t study well, or we don’t get good grades, the problem is that we don’t know how to channelize our resources. We should learn that each citizen of this country has a right to education, and we should not deny education to anybody. India has to come up with reformative policies wherein we teach farming to our farmers; we need to teach marketing to our artisans so that they can market their products in a better way; we need to teach art and architecture to our masons, laborers, and carpenters so that they excel in their line of work. We need to teach environmental science to every boy and girl so that they understand the importance of a clean environment. And above all, we need to inculcate values and ethics to overcome corruption. All this needs to be taught not to fetch good grades but to become a better human being.

From Individual Excellence to Societal Growth

Only after implementing positive changes, India can march forward on the road to development and become an example for the world. That is what Indian education system should strive for. I couldn’t agree more with this: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Remember that if we keep feeding people without teaching them how to feed themselves, we are not doing them a favor. We need to teach everyone to become independent and explore their potential. There is always a difference between education and learning. We all have to grow individually to contribute to the development of the country at the macro level.

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