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Saturday, 23 August 2008

The Education System in India

"Education is the manifestation of the intellect already in man"- Swami Vivekananda

Youngsters in India, do not have the freedom of selecting their career - it is said. They are forced to become engineers, doctors, MBA’s and IAS officers - it is said. Yes, agreed. But that is not the problem. The problem is, youngsters in India do not have the vision to think beyond. Neither their parents, nor their grandparents had that vision. This is where the root of the problem lies. Generations have gone through a system which sucks. Now the beauty is even the law-makers and educators of today’s India are products of that age old system. That is why no less than a revolution is needed in our education system.

Is it marks or intellectuality, which makes future secure and bright? The question is unsolved. Who knows whether a chap scoring 90 per cent would have a glittering future or a guy attaining 50 per cent have splendid opportunities? No one can answer this. The reason for this is the failure of India's education system.

Being a bookworm, licking books day and night, sacrificing everything at the expense of enjoyment and then attaining a percentage in the 90s make students feel content. But this contentment has to be paid for very soon when one realizes that one doesn't stand anywhere in this bloodthirsty world, which is the hard reality of life because it is practical knowledge that counts, not the theoretical one.

One studies for making his or her career successful, not for the short-lived appraisals by people living around. But the Indian education system is cluttered in such a way that even the government doesn't know what laws need to be enacted regarding the education system. Constructing a fixed syllabus and setting question papers out of it is the strategy of Indian schools. Why don't they understand that it would not give anything to the children at the end? Why don't they focus more on practical or realistic aspects?

Not only do schools or government deserve the blame, parents are also responsible for this cramming-and-getting-marks approach. The mentality of parents has been set in such a way that they judge their children according to the scores printed in the mark-statement. There is a section of dim-wit parents (I know; I sound brusque) who don't let their children be a part of extra curricular activities because they consider it a waste of time.

There is a need to understand that times have changed. We have stepped into 21st century where an employer has nothing to do with his employees academic life, instead, what he recognizes is his aptitude. Gone are the days of certificates and degrees. In fact, skilfulness, resourcefulness, talent and capability are some of the tools which are demanded in this contemporary competitive world.

Traditionally, Indian education has emphasized on building the scientific temper and linguistic skills. In contrast to the education systems in Western countries, the system lays less emphasis on practical education. Less orientation to practical education is an impediment to on-the-job application and reasoning skills.

Problem-solving and innovation too are not highlighted and this could be one of the contributing factors for the low-risk taking character of Indians. Though efforts are now being made to change the system they are still in a nascent stage to expect drastic changes.

The most popular and sought-after careers in India are engineering and medical sciences. A typical Indian family is known to push children towards science and technology as a choice. Until recently, for students whose choices were not amongst the three main streams, it was difficult to make a career choice. The scene is now changing with myriad openings in streams that are combinations of the core stream subjects. With attractive salaries being offered for the new occupations, the societal impressions are changing, and there is greater acceptance to vocational courses.

In recent times, with the advent of technology, especially the Internet, many new options of higher education have opened up. Bio-informatics, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, technology management, infrastructure management, portfolio management, international business studies are amongst a host of other choices in the technical branches of study. The non-technical area includes fashion designing, office management, fire and safety management and journalism, amongst many more.

India aspires to be powerful, it wants to play a role in the international community, for that to happen, its economy has to grow multi fold and for that to happen, it requires a huge force of entrepreneurs who could transform it into a nation which produces, from the one which only consumes. India needs a huge force of innovators who could make it self reliant in all kinds of sciences and technologies. India needs artists who could make its culture the most popular in the world. A culture which is not only sale-able itself, but also helps in selling India’s products across the world. In a nutshell, India needs Henry Fords, Bill Gateses, Thomas Alva Edisons and Michael Jacksons born and educated in India.

One may say we had few. Yes, we had. M. S. Swaminathan who made India self reliant in food grains, Dhiru Bhai Ambani who proved a common man can become a billionaire, Dr. Varghese Kurien who is the father of Amul milk movement, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who dared to build missiles for India, Pundit Ravishankar who is the ambassador of Indian music to the world. Such people though in small numbers, were always there. But they are not the products of this education system. This system did not teach them how to become innovators or entrepreneurs or artists. Had it done so, they would have been millions in numbers. These people were inspired themselves. To some of them, their education may have given the technical know-how (though it is hardly conceivable), but not the dream or the inspiration needed. It is the education which should inspire one to become something one really wants to. Education should make you free, should make you experiment and it should make you ask questions. Ultimately, it should make you realize what you are.

The education system has to be revived if India is to be both philosophically and technologically advanced amidst the third world countries. Moreover, parents and students must understand the demand of today's world and must focus more on fruitful facets of life. Students must not limit themselves only to their academic books and must work to become scholars or intellectuals. Otherwise, their future may become dark.

In the words of Swami Vivekananda again, "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 feet."

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Matangi writes:

:) one can only teach what a dream is. how to dream- is left to the dreamer!

i must say- u sounded so responsible and genuine. kudos!

By anonymous user, # 23. August 2008, 18:35:53

Anonymous said...

Ramanathan Palaniappan writes:

" Constructing a fixed syllabus and setting question papers out of it is the strategy of Indian schools "..case in point SASTRA


" India needs Henry Fords, Bill Gateses, Thomas Alva Edisons and Michael Jacksons born and educated in India. "...spot on...

well done buddy...:)

By anonymous user, # 23. August 2008, 16:59:43

Anonymous said...

@Matangi
Thanks yaar... It's people like you who keep me going. So, thanks to you!

By Karthik.S, # 23. August 2008, 21:07:09

Anonymous said...

@Palaniappan
Heh heh heh... I will never be tongue-tied when it comes to education and more specifically, SASTRA!

By Karthik.S, # 23. August 2008, 21:05:53

Anonymous said...

@Priyaa
"Even this may be the reason for very few to participate in Olympics..." That's another way of looking at it too.

Thanks for your comment.

By Karthik.S, # 24. August 2008, 20:27:47

Anonymous said...

Manikandan writes:

You are damn right the education system needs changes. Most of my friends from Anna University Colleges now work in Call centers, the basic and recommended qualification for which is 12th Std. Even us, the "Electronic Engineers" have been placed in Software companies, having already forgotten what the circuits meant.
Good post!!

By anonymous user, # 24. August 2008, 07:53:46

Anonymous said...

Priyaa Iyer writes:




Yeah I agree with your point that students are not allowed to select their career!and very few have interest in extra -curricular activities!

this should be inculcated in the minds of kids from their very earlydays by their parents!

Some do! but again, partiality,quota,reservation all change their minds and their parents.

Even this may be the reason for very few to participate in olympics....

Nice Post!!!!!!

Cheers

By anonymous user, # 24. August 2008, 05:53:25

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous
Thanks for dropping by... But well, I expressed my views. You are welcome to add to it.

"So what have you guys decided to do about a distorted education system ? Write blog posts ?"
- That is a way of expressing what you have in mind.

"Did you really think your words inspired ?"
- I never made any such claim, did I? Stop assuming.

"Youngsters need vision ...."? my ass......"
- Duh? Youngsters don't need your ass.

"i m sure you and your trail of friends are the ones who first ask for a "Xerox" copy of a set of notes handwritten by your teacher. I m sure oyu never have visited the library for any purpose other than maybe for checking the prescribed book from your syllabus references."
- Are you a telepath? If so, sorry... Your powers suck!

"Shame on all those who actually made positive comments."
- Positive/Negative is relative. What is negative to you may not be the same for someone else. Not that I am gloating on the 'positive' comments, but well, it's how you perceive it. I welcome any comment- it will improve my writing, in some way or the other.

"Wish you people really had some inventive minds ......"
- Wish you had some sense before making that statement. Your being brusque doesn't really bother me. I welcome sane discussions.

By Karthik.S, # 25. August 2008, 14:12:07

Anonymous said...

Anonymous writes:

you could mail me at
large.blogger@gmail.com

I really need to talk to you ......

By anonymous user, # 25. August 2008, 13:49:18

Anonymous said...

Anonymous writes:

So what have you guys decided to do about a distorted education system ? Write blog posts ?

What did you think your blog could do to alleviate literacy in India ? or illiteracy ? Hel people become aware bt 'reading' your post? Did you really think your words inspired ?

"Youngsters need vision ...."? my ass...... Youngsters need to show in action and not in words .....

And please dont for one minute blame a specified college or university.

i m sure you and your trail of friends are the ones who first ask for a "Xerox" copy of a set of notes handwritten by your teacher. I m sure oyu never have visited the library for any purpose other than maybe for checking the prescribed book from your syllabus references.

Shame on all those who actually made positive comments.

Wish you people really had some inventive minds ......

By anonymous user, # 25. August 2008, 13:48:24

Anonymous said...

@Manikandan
First of all, welcome!

"... having already forgotten what the circuits meant." I wonder what a certain JBB will have to say to that! ;)

Thanks for dropping by.

By Karthik.S, # 24. August 2008, 20:29:20

Anonymous said...

Sri writes:

Adding to that, something the post indicated. You have a syllabus book, and yet you have questions coming from God knows where. We may be 'technocrats', but well, then what's the frick'n syllabus book for? Please, let's get sensible here. I am presenting what quite a few have faced. And if some lucky sod has not been through what the poster is trying to suggest, he can keep his crap to himself. The author does not expect praises heaped on him for anything he writes down... If there can be a sane discussion, who cares about anything else?

By anonymous user, # 25. August 2008, 16:39:32

Anonymous said...

Ramanathan Palaniappan writes:

1."And please don't for one minute blame a specified college or university."

its the prerogative of the student to expect a enhanced academic experience from his institution..so i shall and i will blame my college for not providing one. esp since so many other univs/coll are able to do those. now plz don't argue that why didn't i go and join those institutions.. not everyone can be squeezed into a single place.

2."Im sure you and your trail of friends are the ones who first ask for a "Xerox" copy of a set of notes handwritten by your teacher"

why dont u pause for a moment and think why we tend to do what u mentioned...bcos the system provides incentives for such action..what do u get in exams...questions direct from the book and when the syllabus is mind boggling a lil hint on what to study and what not to study helps a lot..

By anonymous user, # 25. August 2008, 15:48:43

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous
"I still maintain that all that the blogger has tried to do here is to show off his vocabulary and his apparent dexterity in handling the very distorted education system."
- Thanks for the compliment, but no thanks. If you feel am here to show off, then amen!

"and so i direct my anger toward you guys (since all of you seem to appreciate the fact that the country has such a bad education system)"
- I maintain that there is nothing wrong in pointing out something which is out of place. And yes, the education system in this country is not so damn good as you might possibly assume it to be!

"...you chose to blog about it rather than think of a pproductive way in which you can bring about a change."
- A tsunami starts with a wave. I am not here to re-create a Renaissance (read- tsunami), but if my thoughts are heard and there is something done about it; it would have been triggered by one of many such people (read- wave) who are expressing their views on the current education system.

If you are so hell bent on defending what you say, why don't you come out with what you feel is appropriate?

By Karthik.S, # 26. August 2008, 18:01:52

Anonymous said...

Anonymous writes:

I still maintain that all that the blogger has tried to do here is to show off his vocabulary and his apparent dexterity in handling the very distorted education system.

Staging a demonstration never got people anywhere.
But the seed of thoguht emanating from a single man has changed the world for millions.

and so i direct my anger toward you guys (since all of you seem to appreciate the fact that the country has such a bad education system)because after the seed of thought has been bred in your minds you chose to blog about it rather than think of a pproductive way in which you can bring about a change.

No change ever started big.

Satyagraha started in the mind of One man. It overthrew the (then) mightiest empire in the world.

Likewise, try creating a small change. If it is for good, Then I assure you that the whole country will follow.

My words might sound as nothing to you ..... but in reality
the change has already begun.

(p.s. @Sri : Can we consider this the Beginning of a Sane Discussion)

By anonymous user, # 26. August 2008, 16:29:41

Anonymous said...

Manikandan writes:

@ Anonymous
Dude( or Dudette, please enter your name...),

quote:
i m sure you and your trail of friends are the ones who first ask for a "Xerox" copy of a set of notes handwritten by your teacher. I m sure oyu never have visited the library for any purpose other than maybe for checking the prescribed book from your syllabus references.

That's exactly the point. If the education system is good enough not to rely on a few prescribed books, who would ask for a xerox copy?

You say we should frequent the library, for what? Gaining knowledge when all the questions are gonna be from the so called prescribed books? You think the lecturers will give you marks if you write something they don't know? Being intelligent is great, but having arrears just sucks. That's exactly the reason why v feel the system's gotta change. And i'm curious to know how you used the knowledge you gained from frequenting the library. Really. Please guide us.

quote:
So what have you guys decided to do about a distorted education system ? Write blog posts ?

I'm very much interested to know what would be your course of action in such a situation. Stage a demonstration? Be disgruntled and lambast ppl who atleast do something? Let us know.

By anonymous user, # 26. August 2008, 04:24:15

Anonymous said...

v.ravi writes:

@karthik
but i feel that education system in india is the best ,if not in all institutes but atleast the one's which a middle class family can afford.usually the education process is like a cycle.one gains the first 25% from reading books.and then the next 25% comes from applying it practically or visualising it ,and the next 25% from teaching it to others.and the last 25% from the experiences he faces in his lifetime.and this is where the knowledge starts getting converted into wisdom.

according to me an institute at the maximum is,can help a student in completing the first 25% of the cycle.and then the student is left out to do the remaining which a very few of us do.students get struck in this first 25% itself.

if the situation is like this then whats the use blaming the institutes.if you see the scientists who are well known now never had even the schooling life which we had.then how did they succeed?the difference is that,
they were capable of converting knowledge into wisdom.

By anonymous user, # 7. September 2008, 17:47:43

Anonymous said...

If this situation cannot be termed deplorable, then please give me a word that would aptly describe the situation.

By Karthik.S, # 27. August 2008, 20:31:33

Anonymous said...

Ramanathan Palaniappan writes:

1.) "Staging a demonstration never got people anywhere."

Thats the craziest statement i have ever heard. Demonstrations ( by physical presence or by way or disseminating thoughts thru channels like blogs)may not always be the only way to protest but they sure get ppls' attention.

2.) With all due respect for Gandhi...i am not sure whether Gandhian values are as relevant as they were 50 yrs back...

3.)"Likewise, try creating a small change. If it is for good, Then I assure you that the whole country will follow."

If i had the luxury to do this then i wouldnt even be here..i would be out there DOING it....

See the problem is not many ppl in this country feel the ssystem is broke. They are so used to this mugging and other retarded ways of learning that they feel "if aint broke why fix it"

This (may) emanate from the fact that they have very little exposure to other methods of teaching and assessment which are definitely superior to those exisisting in our country.

What Karthik has done is to highlight a situation that is deplorable and needs change. And its discussions like these that get a train of thought going and finalley result in REAL change. Though i do agree that individuals can create changes,its group action that is more effective and relevant. And thats exactly what Kartik has tried to do...

By anonymous user, # 27. August 2008, 08:27:40

Anonymous said...

Manikandan writes:

@ Anonymous:Dude(You still haven't given your name!)
I don't know if you are for or against us
quote:
No change ever started big.

Satyagraha started in the mind of One man. It overthrew the (then) mightiest empire in the world.

Likewise, try creating a small change. If it is for good, Then I assure you that the whole country will follow.

My words might sound as nothing to you ..... but in reality
the change has already begun.

That's exactly what we have done. Either change your stance or change your comment.

By anonymous user, # 27. August 2008, 08:20:34

Anonymous said...

@Ravi
Point...

But I am not talking about the LACK of education, affordability one's learning process... I am talking about what's WRONG with the system and with the way education is imparted. Currently, we are being taught to be "mug-pots". We have sound theoretical syllabus. But it's the practical/implementation part where we lack. You cannot dispute that... And yeah, I still do not see why the hell I spent months trying to decode a two-stage capacitor amplifier, C-cube LASER etc.- stuff that are obsolete!

Our education system is actually killing innovation as it stops the student from thinking from a very young age, and without imagination and thought no innovators and ultimately entrepreneurs can arise. We have all the resources- intellectual, as well physical. Its just sheer laziness of the population that is to be blamed for the 'education crisis'.

By Karthik.S, # 7. September 2008, 18:22:45

rampantheart said...

I don't really care if the educational system in India rocks or sucks! IMHO, the mistake lies with the society and not the country. One problem with us all is this. Why blame the country as a whole when people here suck? Okay, misanthropic views apart,I would like to point out the sad truth that most students and their parents don't inculcate the practice of being independent and choosing what they want in life. And yes, it gives me immense shame to proclaim that i am an engineering student but i absolutely love what i am doing right now, if that's to be added. And yes, like all others, i was in a state of mental delusion when i completed my HS. I wanted to pursue a career in Journalism or Chemistry. But couldn't owing to the pressure i got from the society. And yes, i was NAIVE "at that time" but now, i no longer am. So, i have decided to do what i have always wanted to do. The one thing we need to reckon is the society's role in ruining a person's life. But then, India is a society-based country. I don't think anyone will disagree with that.

Well, supposing you do the mistake of doing what you don't want to do but end up doing things due to external pressure, you make mistakes. Well, psychologically approaching the issue, the person will make mistakes and learn from life.He gains experience.Doesn't experience make a person's life invaluable? Okay,supposing a person does what he likes to do. After sometime, he might suffer from an ego that he had not studied the professional courses his friends had pursued and this makes him live a life full of negative thoughts and self-pity. I don't mean to say all are that way. But most are.

I would like to conclude this rather long comment of mine by saying "It's always greener on the other side". Hope you get the point. Period.

Ayushi said...

There are three parts to this post:
1) Not taking the subjects of your passion
2)Indian Educational system's wrong emphasis
3)The relation b/w the two

And I agree with the fact that the Educational system, is largely to be blamed, even for the outlook of the people,who try to adapt to it.

animisha said...

wow man..! i jus loved it.. n am damn sure of one thng..! ur kids will be lucky so am sure u wont a dim-wit dad :)

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