The state of education in India, especially the school education, which forms the basis of learning is redundant as it seeks to curb free and critical thinking. Throughout the schooling years students are repeatedly told, “jyada dimag mat chalao apna”, meaning don’t over-use(use) your brain, as they are constantly bombarded with ‘facts’ in the name of knowledge and learning. The education system in India is plagued by the need to generate parrots as this is what guarantees them any “success” in life. The whole system of education and employment is based upon discouraging alternative career options and programming students’ brains with increasing capacity to memorize.
Reason and not belief :
Irony of Indian education system lies in the fact that scientific education which ought to inculcate scientific temper and rationalism , rather encourages obscurantism and illogical beliefs. A classic illustration to prove this point is anecdotal and could often be found in Bollywood movies and even in one’s own surroundings : more often than not it is the students studying in ‘scientific’ and technical institutions that resort to activities like offering prayers during exams with a hope to get through the examination. One clear picture that comes to mind is from the movie three idiots where the budding engineers could be seen doing all sorts of irrational things with a hope of doing well in the examination. The point which is being highlighted here is not a criticism of those hailing from science background but it is rather a critique of the system of scientific learning in the country, which instead of imparting a spirit of scientific spirit and curiosity, inculcates irrational beliefs. It is worth reflecting upon how the education in natural sciences which should ideally make us think critically and rationally espouses such illogical value systems. The primary aim of education should be to cultivate curiosity and show the path to the students towards finding answers to those curiosities on their own and not spoon feeding them by dictation. Kids are not dumb creatures, requirement is to have faith in their natural ability to find answers themselves. There is therefore a strong case for revisiting the curriculum and more importantly the ways and methods employed of disseminating knowledge.
Move beyond Science, commerce and Arts framework :
Then, there is a huge lack of innovative and creative career options that out schools offer us. It is all about being either a doctor, engineer or civil servant in India. This needs to be changed. The whole culture of valuing and devaluing certain professions has been so deeply internalized that only a revolutionary overhaul of the system can undo this damage. Besides, structural and quality improving reforms what is also required is a certain degree of homogeneity or uniformity in the school curriculum. The standards must be set and implemented, for as it is visible in certain states, like Bihar, the state boards are worth nothing, so the central government must take adequate steps to ensure that people all over the country, be it a school in Delhi or in a village in Tripura are receiving common quality education. Decentralization of knowledge holds the key.
Investment in research :
When it comes to higher education, the first thing that comes to one’s mind is the sheer lack of seats in good higher educational institutions. For instance, for around 54000 seats in Delhi University alone, each year, more than 5lacs people apply. The competition is deadly,especially with cut offs sky rocketing- in some cases being around full 100%. Infrastructure building represents a huge challenge which the authorities must meet on an urgent priority basis, for the cherished population dividend that we so boast of, if remains unskilled and unemployed can wreck havoc on the country.
-Contributed by Suryansh.
Picture Credits: onedio.com