Vision Document written on 18.11.2012
The aim of education is to deal with real life situations and make someone able enough to earn his livelihood. The system should teach someone to learn to acquire and update his knowledge so one can keep updating his skills and knowledge for the rest of his life.
Indian government has recently made Education a fundamental right for every child up to 6-14 years of age as planned in Surva Shiksa Abhiyan. I would like to teach primary and secondary education up to class 12 (age 18), but we cannot afford to do provide free education to every child including all girls in India up to 18 years. See http://business-standard.com/india/news/nitin-desai-right-to-principals/474528/ Nitin Desai: Right to principals, business-standard.com.
These studies are showing that we are doing much worse than expected with their plans for variety of reasons.
The total budgetary allocation for education is less than 4% of total budget and it does not appear that we can do so in coming 10 years or more. For budgetary and other reasons, the short cut will be to give the basic education up to 14 years (class 7 or 8) and after 14 years they can get trained in some profession they like for 2-8 years eg carpenter, Engineer & carry on that employment. Thus they can earn at earlier age for themselves and India. One advantage of this system would be that our youth would be able to do their profession at the age of 15-19 years or so, which will be a boon for a developing country like India and one can make the livelihood from that age. It will be much more affordable for the government and the parents;
The aim should be that every one could be employed to do some job and I hope this will increase the growth of India by 50% or more and it will be a worthwhile long term investment.
We obviously do not want to produce an army of educated, unemployed people. This produces frustration, wastage of time and resources. We do not want to teach them too little and too much- Just what is required to do his job. During job, updating and earning can go side by side.
One way India can be happy is to educate huge number their human capitals, so that they could be employed to do some job, possibly of their own choice. For this and other reason we need some changes in our education system.
I feel the Education system in India could be divided into two components:
a. Up to class 7, every student should be taught subjects are essential for every human being : 1. Computer including Words, Internet, Searching, 2. English language- Writing, Grammar, Speaking 3. EPH (Elementary Physiology and Hygiene),
4. & 5. There would be two subjects consisting of Mathematics- Addition, Subtractions, Multiplication, Division; Economics eg Teach children about money from the day they learn numbers and counting. Teach them about importance of saving and spending wisely. Personal banking, Duty of Indian citizens, Social Studies, Sciences, Geography, History, Value based education, environment. Pollution and how to prevent it, How to walk on roads, and a brief idea of other subjects etc.
6. Mother tongue language e.g. Hindi, Urdu, Bengali or South Indian Languages, where one does not have to pass an examination. Learning the local language will help one to communicate with local people of different age and background
English somehow or other is the international language. It is the language of USA, Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), Australia and Canada. English is the language of most commonwealth countries. Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language. However, when combining native and non-native speakers it is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world. It is the official language of 53 countries. Approximately 125 million people in India speak English.
Books for all advanced studies are available in English. For instance one can search a particular topic in Computer in any language, but articles in the English language will be many more times and knowing good English would be much more advantageous in searching. Unfortunately Indians do not have a common language and introducing English as a common language will help to unite India. One reason Indians have done well in foreign countries is because they have a good command over English language.
Computers now have become an integral part of our daily lives and it is impossible to separate our life from computers. Once someone learns to search a particular topic in computer, he will keep learning about other topics he is interested in. As technology is improving we can do more and more things with computers. Computers will play extremely vital role in present and future training.Only few days ago our president Mr Pranav Mukherjee has launched the much more improved version Aakash 2 tablet. It will be available to students at 50% subsidy rate of Rs 1130.It is likely that we may change in 5 to 10 years time depending on how we respond socially and politically to these needs and computer access will be vital. With increasing Computer assisted training and spreading internet access education could change dramatically. Once computer access is available, Khan Academy from US could be very useful. They provide free on line computer lessons.
EPH – I think most people in India don’t know about water borne disease and how to keep in good health. It will reduce diaorrheal illness and mortality. It will decrease Infant mortality rate. The student should be taught about human anatomy and physiology, food hygiene, cost effective local healthy food, how to keep healthy by exercise and sports (including practical). Depending on the age, sex education could be imparted. This will improve the health of general people, which is a major problem in India.
The school hours should be about 5 hours, which would allow ample time to study whatever the students want to study wiz Arts, Music, Literature etc, or whatever else they are interested in.
We need to get more teachers, computers, schools infrastructure including good cleaning and toilet facilities etc. The teacher job should be of a facilitator and accountable for student’s education.
2. At the age of 14 years, one may be taught for 2-7 years their chosen subjects, which will be their profession i.e. teacher, scientist, doctor, agriculture, Politician etc. Someone may not so and would want to start working soon. At this age there should be more emphasis and expert evaluation on what they want to do in future depending on their aptitude and interest. It may be difficult to decide at class 7 as what one wants to do in future and some one may take a break for one year or so and try to see where his interest lies. They should know the different jobs and should have some work experience of the job they seem to like under supervision of an expert. We would like to decide what they are best in, but it should not prevent them to change their profession at a later date, which I suppose should happen rarely.
There is a large group of students, who did not had a formal education or who have studied even up to acquiring graduation, but can not find a job. The former could be trained to become a carpenter or electrician job. There are many big car companies which may train them for free for their own job. They need to be made skilled. Those who have been educated may become an accountant or work in a call centre and such people need vocational training.
India has a potential to utilize 500 million more working people in coming decade. It is very important to provide that such people get appropriately trained and skilled to get these jobs. India can become a developed nation from developing one. We don’t have much time for this, otherwise unwittingly came demographic profile does not become counterproductive.
A normal person spends half of his waking life in doing his profession. His happiness and financial return very much depends whether he likes the job or not. Ideally one should do the profession if he wants to do it rather than just for money.
Let us cure some long term maladies which have always affected our education system. The approach should be practical and interactive and probably less of theoretical knowledge. The aim should be to understand the subject rather than cramming it and the evaluation should be planned accordingly. There should be monthly or regular evaluation, where students should be graded and not by given marks. The future evaluation should be on whatever practical things which have learned before.
All these subjects would be very much applied and we would find that students would be more interested in their subject and there would not be apathy to the subjects. We can bring back the “Fun of acquiring Knowledge.”
We should continue our “Mid day meal programme” to poor students which can provide free nutritious lunch, which may be extra incentive to attend the school
A student who has been trained with such system would be good in English, computer and specialized in their own branch and will have the option to work in lot of other countries in the world.
One problem in India is various curriculums in different systems- State Government Board, CBSC Board, ICSC board, NIOS board, Cambridge International Examination and other boards. This system at least up to age of 14 or so will be very similar all over India. They must teach the above subjects as the minimum. The advantage will be transfer between different parts of India or if one goes for higher exam a uniformity of the subjects for competitive examination will be maintained.
Education in India is a big topic and is of everyone concern. We shall keep writing the various issues, especially how we promote it in a cost effective way in India.
Dr Ajit Kumar Agrwal MD,
MRCP(UK),CCST(General Medicine & Geriatric Medicine)
Ex Consultant Physician in UK
Consultant Internist in Kolkata
Oft critiqued, yet with flaws: The Indian Education System
Progress in education is the foundation – critical for a nation to build a skilled workforce, and also to help people improve their livelihoods as a country grows. However, the quality of education – basically the Indian education system – is a serious problem in India as our system is one-dimensional and lays emphasis only on scoring marks and not acquiring skills required for the job. Questions on whether the children are really learning, go unanswered.
It is important that education policy makers review the situation and reorient the education system to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of employable graduates.
What is Potential without Opportunities?
“India is set to become the youngest country by 2020 with 64 percent of its population in the working age group.” We all come across such cliché statements day in and day out. On looking closer, our enrollment numbers are a curtain drawn across a dismal reality. While there is nothing wrong with the statistics, such figures make you ask the question – Do these figures imply that the nation is growing, developing, or even emerging as a super power? The answer is simple, and it is ‘No.’ Our country may have a lot of potential, but most of it would not be of much use if it is not channelized properly.
Making Education Accessible to All
The only way to harness this potential in an organized way is by educating the masses. Education, as we understand it in the contemporary world, has been reduced to rhetoric when in fact most of our educational institutions are like assembly lines that churn out workers, which are reduced to mere duplicators and their creative talents are hampered in the process. The capitalists have turned the educational system into one more tool to exploit the poor, and proudly refer to it as the ‘education industry.’ It’s crucial to spread the reach of education in remote areas and give every underprivileged child the opportunity to spread his/her wings.
Going Beyond Mere ‘Training’
If statistics are to be believed, 1.5 million engineering students graduate every year in India and run the risk of not getting a job. India produces approximately 50,000 doctors each year, and still, people die due to the lack of proper health care, and so on. The problem isn’t the lack of jobs but the fact that we have restricted the realms of education and reduced its definition to nothing more than a way to land up in a lucrative position. Thus, we end up being, what can be referred to as well trained, not well educated.
If the term ‘development of India’ has to grow beyond rhetoric, then major reformation is needed at the micro as well as macro level. These reforms have to begin with an emphasis on the development of the individual. The question remains: What sort of reforms are we talking about? Reform cannot always be thought of as a change in policies of the state. It has to begin in the mind, or when an individual starts thinking in an unconventional way.
Innovation Required in Teaching Methodology
While the West keeps on experimenting, and seeking novel ways of growth, India never allows itself to take risks, and that is where the Indian Education System lags behind. We have to change our thinking about education, and finally, implement this change in a pragmatic manner.
Education is not simply a process to get you a job; that is not the only role of education. It is about understanding yourself, your capabilities and putting yourself up for what you are best at, for the benefit of the society. It is not just about learning new things. It’s about exploring your hidden talents, and utilizing them for a better life. Education should be able to transform a stone into a statue and a moth into a butterfly. Whether it’s using more interactive mediums of teaching or the use of technology, India needs to give a serious thought to how children are being taught. The syllabus needs to be less theoretical and make students understand how to face the world.
Education as a Tool of Self-Realization
Today, after twenty years of education, students graduate only to end up depressed. There’s such a dearth of opportunities that they are ready to accept any job. What happens to our passion then? Where does it hide? The education has ruined us so far. It has devastated us. We study engineering and join banks. We get an MBA and join a BPO. We learn mathematics and do not know anything else that we can do with it other than teaching it to our students. We have adopted mediocrity, and it will destroy us as well as the Indian Education System.
Our problem is not that we don’t study well, or we don’t get good grades, the problem is that we don’t know how to channelize our resources. We should learn that each citizen of this country has a right to education, and we should not deny education to anybody. India has to come up with reformative policies wherein we teach farming to our farmers; we need to teach marketing to our artisans so that they can market their products in a better way; we need to teach art and architecture to our masons, laborers, and carpenters so that they excel in their line of work. We need to teach environmental science to every boy and girl so that they understand the importance of a clean environment. And above all, we need to inculcate values and ethics to overcome corruption. All this needs to be taught not to fetch good grades but to become a better human being.
From Individual Excellence to Societal Growth
Only after implementing positive changes, India can march forward on the road to development and become an example for the world. That is what Indian education system should strive for. I couldn’t agree more with this: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Remember that if we keep feeding people without teaching them how to feed themselves, we are not doing them a favor. We need to teach everyone to become independent and explore their potential. There is always a difference between education and learning. We all have to grow individually to contribute to the development of the country at the macro level.
Share this post
About the author