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."