What Ails Education in India?

Jayanta Deka asked:


Consolation Prize

Essay Competition No. 3

News & Events, Nov. 2001

-a monthly magazine.

While writing about education, an eminent educationist once said that, “Education is most worth which comes in response to a felt need.” If this statement has some truth, the all round enthusiasm for education in India and the whole world needs no more justification. It is now no longer a myth that foundation of a healthy democracy is found in an educated wide-awake electorate. But; and is quite a big ‘BUT’; education to be good and useful, must be liberal and not regimented and must take into consideration one main point in view and that is the all-round development of the child’s personality, and the inculcation in him of noble sentiments and fair ideals.

There is, however, so much confused thinking in the field of education today that it becomes quite different to recognize and define these trends. Moreover, education as it is being practiced in the vast majority of our school today is so ill-planned and haphazard that we tend to depend more upon educational slogans and fads than upon actual educational philosophies and practices for an understanding of what ‘good education’ really means. Nevertheless, it should be quite a worthwhile exercise in the present confuse state of our educational development to seek clearly the path that we should follow. An acquaintance with the latest trends in education could also be worthwhile if only to realize how much leeway our schools have to make up in the education given to our children is to be really worth-while.

In Indian education, curriculum and text books are inadequate. The main criticism against the secondary schools is that allowance is not made for variation in aptitudes, interests and abilities. All the students are taught the same courses irrespective of their mental caliber and interests. All the students have to pass through the same straight jacket whether it fits them or not. This has resulted in maladjustments, mass failures and eventual stagnation in many cases. Eventually many students fail to pass in the examination because they have no choice. They are to take the burden of all the subjects. If he is expert in a subject and knows nothing in the other, he is treated as an unsuccessful candidate. He is also treated badly by his teachers. By this if, India wants to prove that it is giving equal status to every educational subject.

In addition, instruction imparted in our schools is book-centered and leaves a little scope for creative thinking and self expression. It is no wonder that a vast majority of students cannot write a few lines on any given topic. The reason for this mental vaccum are not far to seek. They only know about the facts that are important to exams, and they have to learn it by heart i.e. memorises, but they know really nothing about the concept. They only memorise it due to its importance in the examination. In addition the teachers taught that materials in the class which are important in the examination. The students with some exceptions have been encouraged to cram answers to the spotted questions likely to figure in the examination papers and pass the examination. Unfortunately, the wagon of secondary education in this country has been hitched to a lamppost of passing the examination. It does not aim a lodestar of idealism, which should form the basis of all worthwhile education. The curriculum that is being given to us is now very outdated. It is introduced in 1986 under the National Policy of Education. At that time, it was good but time has changed now. It needs many changes. In countries like China, students are taken in that path where they are interested to go or join. They are not forced to pass through the same tunnel of gate. Suppose if someone is interested in sports then right from the early ages they are trained and taught in that field only. Thus, later on they can become a well-known personality in that field. This system can be proved by watching the number of medals China gets in the Olympics. Likewise, in India also this system should be interested so that we can be developed as termed in economics.

Another malady be setting our secondary education is tremendous wastage and stagnation resulting from mass failures at the school leaving examinations conducted by various school boards in this country. Sometimes the pass percentage is below 50%; even in the school examination, the picture is no way better. This is not a healthy symptom and calls for a thorough probe and early remedy. No developing country can afford frittering away of scare resources in this way. It not only results in wastage of time, energy, and money, but also brings lots of frustration to the failed and his family. In this way the failure student losses his courage and sometimes a day comes when the failed leaves school. Like that, it is the wastage of human resources also.

In schools and colleges, there is the system of ‘Ragging’. The school authorities should take proper action against the miscreants. It results badly to many students. Sometimes they have to leave the school also. Therefore, this system also ails our educational system.

Moreover, school is a place; a temple of ‘LEARNING’, but the alphabet ‘L’ now disappeared in real sense from this word, becoming the place of ‘EARNING’. Why it is so? Why the teachers only come to earn and not to teach? Why they only like the students who are smart, handsome, and good in studies?

Lastly, school should be a place where the teaching should not be book centered. There should be practical and orals also. The examination system should be changed. It is to be more interesting and should be a place of enjoyment, learning and should be a place for doing and knowing the facts practically.

I agree that school is necessary. Nevertheless, why does it have to be so boring? Why are we treated like machines to be switched on and off and fed with facts? Why are we treated like parrots and simple calculating machines? Why can’t school be more interesting and more challenging?

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