Indian Education System
Graffiti on a wall next to ILS, Symbiosis, Pune reads, “It kills you without even letting you know. It kills you silently, the (Indian) Education System.”
Hundreds in India suicide after not doing well or in exams; thousands suffer from depression after been put under massive pressure, and millions stamp on their dream and not lead a life that they want to lead, instead leading a life that they have been made to lead due to this education system. But on the other hand, the life that they lead in a clichéd profession – in most cases - lets them taste success at a rate unparalleled in any other country around the world. Also, this has led to the Indian economy experience a rise in recent past and if you see, Indians are doing exceptionally well in India as well as abroad.
So, the education system, is it really a silent assassin, or is it the one that can leave India leaps and bounce above the rest?
The education system in the past:
The education system back then, was spirituality based. It made people have and maintain their piece of mind, also gave them skills and techniques for doing so. It was a pivotal in making India a country that was famously called as the golden bird.
Going back to the ancient Indian readings, "He who is possessed of supreme knowledge by concentration of mind, must have his senses under control, like spirited steeds controlled by a charioteer", is famously said by the Katha Upanishad (iii, 6). In fact, from the Vedic age downwards the central conception of education of the Indians has been that it is a source of illumination giving a correct lead in the various spheres of life.
If you go on to read through some of the books about ancient India, it is said that the percentage of literary people in India was more than that at present. At least up to the 7th century A.D. this system worked most satisfactorily. People showed brilliancy in all departments - Mathematics, Astronomy, Medicine, Chemistry, Poetry, Drama, Grammar and Philosophy. No nation could excel these people at that time. From the 4th century B.C. to the 11th century A.D. all foreigners who came in contact with India and studied her civilization critically were very much impressed by it.
They spoke highly of Indian character specially their truthfulness, honesty, and sense of justice. The influence of the system of education was very great among the people in general. Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador who came to India in the 4th century B.C. remarked " for whereas among other nations it is usual in the contests of war, to ravage the soil, among the Indians it is on the contrary. They never use the conquered as slaves." Idrisi, the Arabian traveler and scholar in his Geography written in the 11th century A.D. says, "The Indians are naturally inclined to justice and never depart from it in action. Their good faith, honesty and fidelity to their engagement were well known and they were so famous for their qualities that people came to their country from every side." Abul Fazl, the author of Aini Akbar, in the 16th century notes, "The Hindus are admirers of truth and showed unbounded fidelity in all dealings."Dwelling on this wonderful effect of this system of education unparalleled in history Sir Monier Williams says, "And here I may observe circumstances in the history of India are more worthy of investigation than the antiquity and perseverance of her institutions. It has existed almost unaltered since the description of its organization in Manu's code two or three centuries before Christian era. It has survived all religious, political and physical convulsions from which India suffered from time immemorial. Invader after invader has ravaged the country with fire and sword but the simple self-contained township has preserved its constitution intact, its customs, precedents, and peculiar institutions unchanged and unchangeable amid all other changes." (source: Brahmanism and Hinduism p. 455).
British Transformed it for the worse:
As the British invaded India, they looked at the education system and were stunned to find everyone rich, happy and contented.
Lord Macaulay (Thomas Babington Macaulay), who was born on October 25, 1800, arrived in India (Madras) on 10th June 1834 as a member of the Supreme Council of India. He returned to England early 1838, and resumed his writing career there. Macaulay was in India, thus, only for nearly four years, but he was destined to impact the lives of millions of Indians forever, and so he did. In a letter to British Queen, he said, “"I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation."
Thus, now British had their work cut out. Slowly and gradually, by hook or by crook or by trail and error, somehow, the British transformed the Indian education system.
It is often said that British brought urbanization to India, fair enough. But what they took away was one of India’s priceless assets – the Education system.
A Silent Killer?
The head of Scientific Advisory Council very rightly, and famously, wrote to the Prime Minister, C.N. Rao, drawing his attention towards the faulty education system in the country calling the Indian education system as an exam system.
Well, according to me, he is absolutely correct. Have a look:
Curriculum of schools in India:
First week – chilled atmosphere.
Second week – Class Test 1.
Third week – Class Test 2.
End of the month – Unit Test.
This pattern continues throughout the year; only Unit Tests are replaced by Half Yearly and Final Examinations. Much to the agony of students, education becomes a burden rather than learning.
Every single place that a child goes, people rather than asking him what all he has learnt, all they him is asked is, “How much did you score in your exam?”
It is literally as though getting good marks and a decent enough percentage in exams is the end of the world for the people. But people forget that every child has his own field of interest, which at times is not respected by most and thus, this system pressurizes a child too much in order for him to succeed.
This trend of making a student week with examinations after examinations, carries on in colleges as well and has often lead to student suicides.
Newspapers recently had tragic daily reports of youngsters who have killed themselves or taken what Indians euphemistically
One was falling behind in his studies and the other was afraid of an English exam. A final year Bachelor of Commerce student hanged herself in the commercial capital Mumbai apparently because she was not prepared for her economics paper and did not want her family to feel ashamed.
A grade 12 student from Surat in western India hanged herself and another threw herself before a moving train in Allahabad in northern India, the paper reported, adding there were other suicides that day too. "Teenage suicide (over exams) is a national disaster," said Samir Parikh, psychiatrist at Max Healthcare, a leading New Delhi private hospital chain.
In 2006, the most recent year for which official figures are available, some 5,857 students -- or 16 a day -- killed themselves due to exam stress. Police say thousands more suicides go unreported because parents want to keep the cause of death a secret.
Sad, isn’t it?
It sure is.
Movies like ‘Taare Zamin Par’ and ‘3 Idiots’ have been tried to covey similar things. It’s only for us to realize.
Another aspect of the education system is that it makes students think in an extremely clichéd form. For example, most of the people who take up engineering after their high school, don’t even know what does the engineering course offer. Board exam, then, a number of entrance exams, if you make it good, otherwise, students pay and get in; in another words, dig their own grave.
Look, there must be thousands who would have wanted to do engineering all their life and become successful engineers, but then, there are millions, who never thought of engineering as their profession and have got in (either on merit or donation) for the sole reason that, engineering is “the thing” these days to do. This was one of the reasons that a newspaper recently reported that only 7% of people, who pass out as engineers are worth working as engineers.
Need for a change?
Well, for all that has been mentioned above, yes but I guess I have left it too late when it comes to bringing out the positive aspect. Yes, the Indian education needs some tinkering but you can’t deny the fact that the degrees that it offers are respected all over the world. Famously, Chennai-born Sara Mathew in an interview to Times of India gave ample credit to the Indian education system for her success. "The good education system in India is what has helped me in excelling in my career in the US," she said and added that Indian degrees are highly respected and are very helpful in getting good jobs in the US.
Similar is the story with most Indians who have success stories in India and abroad. With Indian economy on the rise and Indians doing well in most areas of the world, is the change necessary.
Well, it is a difficult question but the change is needed, even if it is a minor tinkering but we do need a change. I know people are doing well and will continue to do well in the future but what about the ones, who find themselves down and suffering from this education system, do we not think about them?
I change is need, even if not a major one, but a change is needed.
Now, if the Indian Education System is that good or that bad, is it bad enough to be changed massively?
Ok, it does lead to students weep under but if it does bring success, do we really need to change it?
Well, now that is where SkyKpaar steps in, and steps in it does, perfectly!
In one of its modules: Sunshine:
Most children are really interested in a particular field but at times, there is something that stops them from taking a professional course in that field. Some succumb to parental pressure, some overly influenced individuals take up the same fields as their friends and most take up clichéd fields purely due to the thinking patterns in the society. This project called ‘Sunshine’ is aimed at school students majorly from VIII-XI std. in order to make them realize and live their fields of their interest.
A joke often goes around in India. The joke reads – if you ever throw a stone from the moon on India, it will – in most cases than not – go on and hit an engineer. Now, this joke is decent enough if we want to have an occasional laugh but what it also underlines is that the pattern the Indian education system is following. When it comes to choosing a field, most toppers chose science without giving a prior of what the field demands, then, Commerce and then, Arts. Now, some of those who have taken science might want to make a career in another field (theatre, music, dance, accountancy, economics, etc.), a field that suits their interest. Thus, we aim to bring a change in the pattern of thinking in the society.
In the other module of this workshop: Inside Campus: because you deserve to know the truth This is a website centric module which aims to provide all the inside and true information of all campuses (Colleges, Companies, organizations). This website will have the information of all the college in India from each and every university. Thus, if a person wants to move in from a different state, he can go to our website and then, have a look at the list of various colleges from the university and decide for herself which college she wants to take admission in.
This website would offer the grading of colleges, fee structure, courses offered, detailed map and a special review by us from the college which will include comments of the currents and the pass-outs.
The last module of the workshop: Jump Start: coz all it takes is a nice Jump.
This is a series of workshops specially designed for undergrads. Soft skills are exceedingly important and needed to be a successful personnel. These workshops will including development in students’ soft skills. The workshops will be aided by the students practicing the NLP and meditation techniques in order to focus better. These workshops will make the students aware of all the non-academic activities they can get themselves involved in.Day by day, the world is becoming smaller. We have universities who come all the way from UK or USA to Pune, especially to conduct seminars. Students are usually unaware of such events happening in the city. Thus, we will also make the students of such events happening.
Yes, SkyKpaar is definitely taking up measures to change what needs to be changed but we need your help, your support.
Is it a silent killer? Yes, it is.
Can it be bettered? Yes, it can.
Need for slight tinkering? Yes, surely needed.
Support us and we’ll change the thinking, we’ll change the education, we’ll change India.