The present education system in India was brought by the British in the 1800s. The objective of the British, to bring forth such a system, was to train clerks to take care of their menial clerical work. It would have cost the British dominion a lot to get clerks from England to India and Indian labour was cheap and aplenty.
The British left India in 1947, but the education system they had established stayed. Till today, there have only been little changes in the Indian education system and it still remains, largely the same, as it was when it was built by the British.
The present system gives little choice for students to pursue anything apart from academics. Back in school, right since first standard, the daily-timetable had classes like PT, Art and Craft, Music, among others. Ideally, the PT period was for budding sportspersons to explore their talents, the Art and Craft classes were for aspiring artists, painters and sketchers to delve deep into their passion, and the music sessions were for the young vocalists and musicians to sharpen their hone. However, as a student progresses to higher standards, such classes which give them chances to explore avenues apart from academics, lessen and after the eighth standard, such classes altogether struck-off from the timetables. The PT period comes only once, or at the most, twice per week. Thus, a student’s creativity is almost stifled and he is pushed into academics. Post class 10, academics assumes paramount importance and a student spends her time between college and coaching classes and by the time he graduates from college, he is out on a job hunt, whether he likes it or not. Thus, there is little a student can explore beyond academics.
One might argue that academics are necessary to fetch a job for a student. While this is true, the academic avenues that a student can pursue and which are worthy for a job, are also limited. According to popular belief, a student won’t get a good enough job if she doesn’t take up engineering, whether she might have the aptitude for it or not. Here, one might assume that since there are a lot of students opting for engineering, its syllabus would be well-refined and up to date. However, that’s not true. The same old syllabus is taught to students year after year. There is little scope for research and innovation for students. The students are not made aware of the latest trends and hence, they fall behind when they step into their professions.
There are levels of significance in these academic disciplines too. Science comes first, Commerce comes second, and Arts comes a distant third. And since there is little importance given to these disciplines, the academicians who are responsible for making the syllabus for subjects in these domains put little effort in forming a strong syllabus. Like engineering, these syllabi are out-dated and do not cover the latest happenings of the industry and hence, students’ knowledge after they graduate have little relevance.
Another drawback of this system is that it judges students on the basis of their marks which they earn after writing exams. These exams test the memory of the students and not the knowledge they possess. Classes are conducted in a certain manner and students are expected to write answers in from textbooks. The ones who reproduce answers with near perfection score the highest and the ones who fail to do so lag behind. This system completely discounts the aptitude of students and the real knowledge they might have. It just tests the memory of students. And this system is not restricted to schools. It goes beyond the school level and to junior college, Degree college, and even post-graduate college.
Degree college and post-graduate colleges are supposed to train students, equip them with the necessary knowledge and make them aware of the latest industry trends. However, even institutes of higher education stress on how well can students write answers from the text books and are awarded marks on that basis. If a student presents their perspective in the answers they write, they are often discouraged from doing so and are asked to stick to the textbooks.
While the above is the case with most central and state institutes, one might expect that private institutes and deemed universities offer better prospects for students. But that is not the case either. Most deemed universities in the country follow the same educational pattern. While their syllabus tends to promote innovation, their exam patterns are very similar to that in the standard educational system. Even they are marks-centric and students have to complete intensive courses where they have to study almost everything even at the post-graduate level. On the contrary, post-graduate levels are supposed to be subject-centric and very specific. However, central, state, and private institutes are churning out students who are jack of all and master of none.
While this may not change in the near future, it is necessary that this discussion on the education system continues and gathers momentum. Only when large number of students will talk and discuss, there will be a collective and the winds of change will start blowing. Because, this system needs to change.
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