Education & India: Part 1 of 2

Cross-posted from Not Just The Talks.

I’m a student and I have problems with the education that issupposedly ‘imparted’ to me. That’s where this post begins from andthat’s also where the part 2 of this post will end.

There’s a reason I chose ‘Education “&” India’ instead of whatshould have been ‘Education “in” India’. It being the same reason thatwe can’t and don’t produce enough talent, educated talent. There is noeducation in India. It’s a myth. And whatever is, is the word education& its association with India. Thus, the title.
I remember my kindergarten and primary school days. Everyday, I usedto be more than eager to attend school. Not because of my friends,teachers or to study. (Or may be it was one of them, I was too littlethen to remember anything about it now.) One of the reasons being, likemost others of my age, who were in other schools from mine, I didn’thave the worry of appearing in exams and performing poorly, at an agewhen I barely even understood what ‘competition’ meant.
Having come a good 8-10 years since that point, having come throughsecondary school, junior college and studying in an engineering collegetoday, most the facts, myths and so-called-beliefs about education inIndia, are busted to me, and these are undeniable (of course, a fewexceptions).
  1. Education is a business. A business, like none other. And a bountiful one, for that matter.
  2. The quality of education, depends on the fees of the school or college you are in, nothing else.
  3. There’s nothing really to ‘learn’ or ‘understand’. You rote, mug up, puke it out in your exam papers, get the marks, go to a goodcollege/university, repeat the previous steps, get a job.
  4. You don’t have a heart. You don’t have a life. You have just competition to face. And that too, a fierce one.
  5. You may lose your admission to someone less deserving, but from abackward class. So, if you’re a student from the general category, you have to hate those who are not.
These are the things that are understood, told to, perceived, andaccepted by everyone who is a student in any part of India right now(Please don’t shower me with exceptions right now, please?). The pointis, everything that I’ve said above, is just the gist of the things Ihave understood in the last few years.
We make robots, not students or humans, in packs of thousands andthousands. Those who compete for every mark they can get, in every examthey ever give. We can’t think out of the box because our educationcripples us to think in one line. Every time we think outside thoseboundaries, we are losing out on our marks, our parents are on our backs to score, and then we’re back on track to the end of the manufacturingline, till the end, again.
And then we’re proud in saying that NASA, Intel, Microsoft, Google,doctors in USA, etc. are Indians. Ivy League colleges have Indian deans. Heads of MNCs are Indians. Did they study in India? And did they eversay that solely their study in India made them their life in USA? Or any country of the world, for that matter? Why do educated (and/0r) wealthy Indians send their children abroad for studies?
We all, each one of us who is alive in this country, knows that theeducation system of the country is something we are not and can’t beproud of. And if we are, we are just fooling ourselves, truly.
And, no matter how much we talk about changing it, it’s not changing. Just not.
They say, Bollywood does what anything else can’t. For the latest,polio was eradicated completely after Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Do BoondZindagi Ke’ campaign (applauds), and there are numerous other exampleswhich each one of us knows about. In fact, the reason India changes, iswhen Bollywood calls it to. And even after having our eyes soar ofcrying while watching ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and laughing till our stomachhurts, while watching ’3 Idiots’, we didn’t particularly learn anythingfrom either.
Or may be we did, but did we apply it to our lives? We are happy andwhen we’re out of the theatres, that’s it? There goes our desire tostudy and make our children study (for those who are, or will beparents) in a better and more sensible environment?! Just like that?
Well, for anyone else it may. For me, it doesn’t. For Not Just TheTalks., it doesn’t. I’m tired, really tired of not doing anything. And I am going to. From now, and I will keep doing, for everything that I say on this blog that I will.
In this 2 part blogpost, I’m going to cover a few things that are myreal concern with the education system in India. In part 1, I will talkabout the over-all situation of education in India (a lot of which Ialready did) and then about the school-specific problems and reforms Ithink are the need-of-the-hour. In part 2, it will be a broad go fromcolleges (junior, graduate and PG) to reservation.
Also, I had designed what ‘My Dream School’ should/would be like,describing it with every minute detail, 2 years ago. I will put that upon my personal blog, after these 2 posts.
And so, to part 1…
The first thing that we need to bust, for every entrepreneur,coaching class owners and teachers and politician who enters theeducation sector with a view to exploit, earn, and be seen noble. Well,it is not a diamond-mine, you retards. We’re humans, children. Innocent, delicate, culpable, and we’re impressionable.
But, at the same time, we are not stupid, mindless or unaware to not see what you do! Enough said.
It hurts to see such things happen, mostly in colleges, and I’ll talk about it in detail in my next post.
Then comes my other major concern, the quality and techniques ofeducation. They say, those who fail at everything else, teach in India.Seems pretty true with the quality of teachers I have seen in mypost-school life (even in coaching classes). Techniques, well, rotelearning never had me backing it. I always was the guy who understoodevery concept and wrote them down in his words. Still am. And willalways be. But, I think over such theoretical studies (which isprimitive and the portion is worn out, not in-sync with the currentscenario of the world), practical knowledge, applications, logic, andpromoting these, should be emphasized.
We live in a digital world. I know that digitization hasn’tpenetrated so deep in the Indian cities yet (let alone villages), but,using technology and internet to our benefits, is the only way forward.Not being slaves to them, but, making them our media to communicate andease our lives, yes. I would want to say do away with paper stationarycompletely and go digital! But, that’d be utopian and nonsensical.Reducing it, by a major, would do the trick to begin with.
Next up, the competition we are faced with. The forceful studying.Why should I study physics when I know I don’t want to be a physicist or even an engineer? What if I know I want to go medical? Or musician,actor, director, author, archeologist, sportsperson? Who deserves tomake that choice if not me? Of what I do with my life? And that’s whatwe need. The ability to choose our lives, through what we are good at, over what we can force ourselves to be good at.
Coming to the last part of this post. Schools.
Kindergarten. The most expensive and weird business I have observed.Utterly unnecessary expenditures. People coughing up sums of money toget their kids into some XYZ K.G. where he/she’s just gonna play?!Interviews of a 4-year kid for giving him/her admission? I think that’sthe lowest our society can (and more so I hope, should) fall to.
Well, I think where I studied, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Vidyalaya, hasleft pretty good an impression on me about the no-exams-till-sixth-grade thing. Let your children enjoy life till they are 10 or 11, parents!Let them play, laugh, dance, sing, and be happy. Why burden them withstudies till then? Why bombard them with the pressure to score?
Although, at the same time, teaching them their very well basics and building their blocks, for the future.
Marks for everything co- and extra-curricular. You have the right toget recognition for something exceptional that you do in the fieldswhich are not related to academics in any way. But, they’re still veryimportant. You have that right. And that should be given to us. Thatdevelops a student, in all the aspects of his personality, and not justas a popping parrot who would answer your questions, in the words of the text-books.
That’s pretty much it for now… Part 2 is gonna be much more hard-hitting and intense, I promise.
Till then, adios!
Update (02-04-2012): The part 2 of this post is up here.

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