The history of Indian education is extremely rich and interesting. In the ancient days, gurus and scholars imparted education orally, but after the development of letters, it took the form of writing. Palm leaves and the barks of trees were used for teaching; this in turn helped in spreading the written literature. When the British arrived in India, English and Western education gradually underwent advances in the country and currently, we have over hundreds of universities and thousands of colleges which are affiliated to the Western style of teaching.
According to the QS world university ranking, presently, India is only second to China in terms of international student enrollment in schools across the globe. This plight of the Indian Higher education system can be understood from the fact that we Indians spend over Rs 65,000 crores annually, on foreign education which is almost twice the size of the government’s higher education budget. Also, every year only one or two Indian universities are able to secure a place in the top 200 universities of the world. If we are unable to work on this, the human resources issue is going to become a burden for the country.
The reason why Indians do not prefer staying in their country for higher education is because they consider it to be an under-investment. Though India has been establishing national level institutes for over 40 years, we have not been investing enough to maintain those standards. The regular channelization of funds is very essential for quality education. The topmost Indian institutes lack proper infrastructure, labs, resources etc. and whatever is available just exists for the sake of the students to pass their examinations, while it sits idly otherwise. The importance of academics has been rapidly increasing in India, and to handle this expansion we have standardized education and completely ignored the fact that different people need different types of tutelage. This standardization leads to marks being the prime focus instead of learning. Every student ends up studying for the sake of passing or getting a good score in examinations which has paved a way for the breeding of coaching classes and stereotyping of marks etc. Even those institutes which could have done better and moved on independently are subjected to and caught up in this process of standardization and watertight rules.
The Indian education system has become outdated, in that it has not changed since Independence. We have not adopted and adapted to the latest technology in our curricula whereas in foreign countries, the curriculum of each subject changes every day according to the upgradation of technology and requirements of the industry. On the other hand, Indians fail to understand the worth and value of this change. We consider educational institutions as job-generating machines, we expect to enter unemployed and emerge employed. We do not realize that we need to upgrade our skills to become worthy of employment. This is the reason why more than 80% of our engineers are unemployable and the figures are even worse for non-engineers. Among Indians, there is also the typical stereotype of becoming either an engineer or a doctor. Sports and arts are considered as leftovers for the more incompetent students. In addition to this, Indians only believe in grades, degrees and certificates. We believe in being admitted to IITs and IIMs while other countries believe in the importance of skill. They do not care much about the institution of education and moreover they usually only consider what one has learnt during his/her schooling.
The course structure in India is extremely rigid and minimal options are available for pursuing in the Indian education system. On the other hand, if the students opt for an education in foreign countries, they get the option of taking up a multitude of courses. They can even change their major midway through college. This usually means that the students receive more exposure to a variety of subjects and they are more aware of their career options and the opportunities available to them. It is very true that Indian students perform brilliantly when they go to different countries in the field of research. This simply implies that we do not lack talent; we lack good infrastructure and a healthy environment to nurture our minds.
When it comes to education, no certification from the government or any other recognized body can substitute the feedback of the alumni. Education should make the person more free-minded and should broaden their horizon of thinking, while inducing him/her to experiment and ask questions. Ultimately, it should make a person realize what are their capabilities and what shortcomings they can overcome. We can only imagine the degrading quality and desirability of Indian institutes from the fact that every year, close to 40,000 students go abroad for higher education, but not even 1% of this number comes to India from other countries. Government institutes are very few in number and they are nowhere close in standard to international institutes. The private players in the field just ask for an exorbitant amount of fees from students and in return give them the required degree and poor education. Still, it is unfortunate that these institutes flourish because the demand exceeds the supply.
Thus, it has become imperative to improve the quality of education in India, so that we can compete with other countries at a global level, and provide our youth with the finest platforms to discover their talents and cultivate their personalities.
Picture Courtesy- LSE Blogs