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The challenge of education in India

"Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested, all your life. We must have life building, man making, and character making assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library. We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one's own fact"
- Swami Vivekanandha

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In the present scenario, changes never change. We can take ourselves as an example. We have evolved from the ancestors. Everything has changed. Even the phone gets updated frequently nowadays. But still now our education system is in the same stagnant situation - still longing for the change.

What will a child do with science, if he doesn't understand the science of life? We teach our children to read and memorise history, but we don't teach them to create history. What will a child do with her first and second and third languages, if her communication skills are not developed? Surveys show that a person with decent English language skills can increase earning power.

Academics is one aspect of child's development and not the only aspect. Academics will aid life but academics alone is not life. We are clinging upon the marks that they get in the subjects. Even though they get marks, do they master in it? The answer is 'NO'. Every first rank holder doesn't necessarily come first in life. Only in our country, if there is no job prevails, one goes to teaching profession. In Finland, there exists an exam even to teach the primary students.

SERVILITY: At school, our education system hammers out our individual voices and kills our natural creativity, turning us into service, course-material slaves. No subject teaches us imagination, creativity or innovation. Curricula are designed for the no-debate kind of teaching. Innovation, imagination, creativity 'crucial for the best out of any student, has no place in our educational system. In fact, we actually ensure we kill this spirit in the child as fast as possible.

This is not being written just to blame our system. But of course, this is the reality. We're destroying an entire generation by not giving access to the world class education it deserves. Every educational institution has to be incorporated as a non-profit trust. In our country, we have a superstitious belief that studying in ICSE board of teaching is best followed by CBSE. Owing to these thoughts, every upper middle class parent relies on debts. What is there in such sort of schools? What sort of education they provide? To say the truth, if the syllabus is on TIGER, in the private schools, they teach them as "it is our national animal" they moreover show the picture. In CBSE schools, they will project the tiger in smart class; In ICSE schools, they take the students to the zoo on charging a fee, and show the tiger. This is the ultimate difference among these sorts of schools.

Teaching materials and methods in the humanity are archaic and outdated. Many post graduates in wonderful subjects like sociology, philosophy, psychology and economics have excellent knowledge , but find it difficult to apply their knowledge to the Indian context and impossible to provide a solution to problems. We don't have institutions like the Georgetown University in the US which actually trains students for political careers. If that system prevails in India, we will have a heaven in our country.

The change in education system is not impossible because in 1968, a unique experimental school was established in Framingham, Massachusetts. Sudbury Valley School, which is open to students of ages 4 to 19, has pioneered a number of innovative practices. The longest lasting libertarian school in the world is Summerhill in England. It was founded in1921.

Present day education is a complete failure because it has over-emphasized technique. Either we have to upgrade it or we have to go back to the system of Gurukula to bring enrichment in the society.

As many as 263 million students need to be in school today. 22 billion dollars are needed to ensure primary education as an additional investment. In all, 39 billion dollars are required for primary and secondary education every year. How much is that? Four and half days of military expenditure. Just four and half days of military expenses can bring all our children to school every year. How much do we spend on that 40% of our population that is under 18? Less than 3%. NAAC (The National Assessment and Accreditation Council) gives it grades based on following parameters:

  • Curricular activity
  • Teaching, learning and evaluation
  • Research
  • Consultancy and extension
  • Infrastructure and learning resources
  • Student support and progression
  • Governance, leadership and management
  • Innovation and best practices

If this holds good for every institution, everything will happen good.
Let us not confine our children to a syllabus. Let us expose them to life and of course also to academics in the right way. Let us not only count their marks, but also their lives count. IT IS NOT THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION (by Malala); IT IS THE RIGHT TO RIGHT EDUCATION!!!

- Srishakthi.M