Why Blame the Education System?

The literacy rate in India has increased 3 folds since 2011, standing at 74.4%. The enrolment rate for higher education is up by 24% since the last decade. That’s good news, right?

There is no doubt that the government and various private organisations are doing their best to get more and more children to attend schools and colleges and this effort definitely needs to be applauded. My question is, is that all we want? To increase the number of students enrolling into schools? What about the quality of education? Is anyone making sure that the quality doesn’t suffer?

The New Indian Express says that the Indian Education system seems to be producing zombies, since in most schools, students seem to be spending majority of their time in preparing for competitive exams rather than learning or playing.

“It is unfortunate that today, education, instead of reforming the human behaviour, in our humble opinion, appears to have failed to achieve its objective. Instead we find a troubled atmosphere in society at large, which calls for immediate reformation with the efforts of one and all,” quips a Supreme Court bench including justices BS Chauhan and FM Ibrahim Kalifulla.

India is going to experience a paradox of nearly 90 million people joining the workforce but more than half of them will lack the requisite skills and the mind-set for productive employment, stated a report in DNA.

According to a National Survey conducted a couple of years back, nearly 80% School Principals were of the opinion that the poor standards of learning in students is due to rote- learning. Out of these, 70% felt that the curriculum followed in India does not give scope for creative thinking.

We read these statistics every day, we mock our schools for teaching things that seem completely irrelevant even today and reminisce how we all learnt theories, answers and formulas a day before the exams only to forget it the next week. But still, at the end of the day we are the ones who pressurize the next generation to do the same. Introducing IIT entrances classes from 7th standard was mocked by the population at large 2 years back, but today these same classes have a waiting list for years! Parents make sure that all co- curricular activities are completely off limits for students, the day they enter Grade 8 so that they can concentrate only on getting better grades. I’ve actually seen parents complain to Principals about the syllabus not being completed in the class.

Why should we blame the government and schools for creating batches of robots every year, when parents stress exactly on that: Making robots out of their children! A 4 year olds mother once told me that her child goes for grammar and elocution classes. Why? Because everyone in his playschool does the same and she can’t let him fall behind! What a beautiful and completely unnecessary rat race!

No wonder a 14 year old today has stress levels equal to that of a 35 year old. Why should it then surprise us that more and more students are committing suicides or that it is common to see 30 year olds die of heart attacks!

Schools and colleges are meant for learning. Learning is nothing but the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study and experience! Where is the experience? Almost every parent in this country wants his children to go study ‘abroad’ because the education system here is inefficient. The only one thing that sets education abroad apart, is the one thing that we concentrate on the most: Rote learning!

Change is not far away. There are many change agents waiting and wanting to help make the change. To make India just more than a literate country. To make education much more effective and this will be successful and worth implementing only if WE decide to change! Change will take place the day we realize that a 96% or an engineering or an MBA degree is not an assurance of a successful life!

Let’s change our attitude before we go change the System!