Ram Rattan Sharma
The foundation of every state is the education of its youth. The instability of India could, perhaps, be attributed to the millions of educated, yet unemployed people; the country abounds in, the education system gives degrees, but does not guarantee employment. The education system in India is hackneyed and it mainly lays stress on theoretical knowledge. Apparently it requires a serious revamping exercise. In a nutshell, some radical changes must be introduced in order to tune it to the needs of the modern society. India has a glorious tradition of education. During the ancient times, Indian educational centres and universities were the temples of knowledge. India’s ancient universities of Nalanda, Taxla, Patliputra and Ujjaini were considered as the reservoirs of knowledge, and they beckoned students from many countries to India. Indian education was respected around the world for its high quality, syllabi and learning. However, the glory of the past did not transcend into the future. Successive foreign invasions destroyed the country’s economy, educational system and polity.
The present education system was inherited from the British and the education imparted under it, is predominantly theoretical. The British evolved a system of learning aimed at producing ‘Brown sahibs’ and clerks in large numbers. It was Lord Maccaulay’s system of education. It was supposed to perpetuate loyalty to the British educational and political institutions. Educational system in India has become ineffective and it needs a complete overhauling. Education means the all round development of a child inculcating in him/her all the human values that need to be kept intact in order to let the society progress as well as it can. Education must bring out inherent virtues of the child and at the same time it must eliminate the vices that may be latent in him/her; it must instil in him/her patriotism, discipline, obedience and self-respect and it must prepare the child for future so that he/she can lead a responsible life. With the various flaws in the inherited education system in India, the number of universities and colleges has, increased manifold since independence. The pressure of education system is taking its toll on the toddlers who, barely out of their infancy, are made to identify fruits, vegetables, animals, alphabets, numerals etc., to qualify for admission in kindergarten. Parents seeking admission of their children are interviewed to access their educational background and financial capability. But in the educational system, there still exists the predominance of textual knowledge. Students do not learn the practical application of knowledge.
The examination oriented system judges the student on the basis of his/her performance in the annual examination held at the end of every session. The marks mania drives every teacher and even parent to expect the very best from every student. Parental and peer pressure to secure good percentage for entering into prestigious colleges and courses hinders the proper development of the child. Getting admission in a good college is a difficult task. Applications are many, but seats, few, colleges offer limited seats for various courses, and hence, cut off percentage for admission is invariably high, some colleges have a sports or extracurricular activities quota , but this is used mainly to secure back door entry for favoured candidates, colleges have reservation of seats for various special categories like scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, etc., in accordance with govt. directives. Applications belonging to such categories are able to secure admission at comparatively low percentage. Capitation fees is charged by colleges in a clandestine manner, which very often side lines the meritorious students. Though the university regulations require each student to have 75% attendance, the fact is that nobody observes this regulation. Reports of mass absenteeism appear in most universities as soon as teaching commences, it is often seen that the students not attending classes in the college opt to go for private tuitions or coaching, students attend coaching classes for each and every subject. This is the latest trend going on among students. Some of the teachers who shirk their duty in school/college only to make extra money through private coaching are also responsible for this kind of degradation in the education system. Children of well-to-do families can afford to go for tuitions, but the plight of the poor children is very sad. Education is not properly imparted in schools, colleges and universities and as a result, the bright students who are poor are the worst affected.
The present education system needs to be reformed, so that all children get proper education. The bitter reality is that an average youngster who merely concentrates on the prescribed course has a bleak future, as the university degree does not assure him of a lucrative job. There is a lack of emphasis on vocational education. A modest attempt in favour of vocationalisation was launched by the UGC about a decade ago and it did achieve some degree of success. But it has been very limited.
The short comings in the present education system can be attributed to the fact that only a few changes have been made in the system that fails to suit the need of the changing times. The same regime of three-hour examinations and emphasis on note learning has continued. Ideally, the education system should have been overhauled after independence. But Indian academics failed to carry out curriculum or examination reforms in the radical sense though some intellectuals did help in improving books on certain subjects, the overarching colonial legacy of the classroom, text and examination remained unaltered.
The education system as of today is in dire need of reform. The few attempts so far to reform the education system have done but little. Many commissions were constituted to look into the flaws of the existing system. The Mudaliar commission the Kothari commission and the Radha Krishna commission recommended thorough reforms in the existing system. According to the recommendations, a student’s performance was to be judged on the basis of periodical tests and overall performance, imparting of practical training to students, to enhance their skills and improve their chances of employment was also recommended. The scope of formal education should be broadened by giving a place to community work, sports, and crafts and fine arts in the main curriculum. The aim should be holistic development of the personality, instead of sharpening analytical and literacy minds in isolation. This would help in tapping the various talents of the students. Unlike that of the ancient time, education today is not for knowledge sake; its aim today is to find a job of one’s own choice and draw a handsome amount of salary, so as to lead a comfortable and convenient life. And here lies the drawback of our system, our education system appears to be giving the impression that the ultimate aim of education is to pass examination with good marks. It fails to instil the responsibility in students, towards society and humanity that is part and parcel of true development. Another striking drawback of our education system is that it does not prepare the student’s with the skills that are to be tested in any profession as well as in one’s life. Situation today, in India is very funny. There are job vacancies but suitable candidates for those jobs are few. On the other hand, lakhs of unemployed people run helter and skelter in search of jobs, but to their deep dismay, find none. With the introduction of New Education Policy 2020, it is expected that education sector will see good days ahead.
Ram Rattan Sharma