Monday, 2 March 2015

How To Transform India's Education Sector

Jyotika Pruthi
Assistant Professor
Dept of CSE&IT, 
ITM University, Gurgaon

None of us is incognizant of the importance of education. “Education” is a word and a world in itself. It is a hand which pulls us from darkness of ignorance into the sunshine of enlightenment. With education alone, social transformation is possible. Just as each seed contains the future tree, each child is born with infinite flair. There is an old Chinese saying, “Give a seed to a potter and you shall have a bonsai.” In a nutshell, as a teacher and parent, become a gardener, not a potter.

The word “Education” itself comes from the word “Educere” which means to bring out what is already in and not blindly stuff in. For this, it is essential that education should be based on application and intelligence instead of trying to test memorized text. It would not be out of place to mention here that countries like Russia have made chess compulsory to force students to think logically. Swami Vivekananda said, “Education is the manifestation of perfection already present in man”. Real education should enable you to find what is unique within you. Talent is more than important than tool (knowledge). It would be wrong not to earn a comfortable income, but to succumb to greed and then earn is wrong. One of the teachings of the Mahabharata is to develop your unique quality and this statement is supported by the fact that Pandavas too were unique in their own way.

Our education system needs to reform without making a compromise on a child’s education just because his family cannot afford it. As per the recent survey, the literacy rate in India is 66% with a child population of about 450 million, which means child dropout rate is 53%. So how and why do we expect to have morally sound citizens when we don’t even have base set for them? As a step to reform education norms for economic, social, cultural and overall national progress all the government scholarship schemes and loans should be increased.

Prof. (Dr.) Yash Pal quotes “Give freedom to education”; it is a very apt quote as there is a need to groom individuals for a life, not a job. We hold a great feeling of proud in our IITs, IIMs but 431 universities along with 21000 colleges in India are still in a darker state. Over 75% of engineering graduates, 77% of MBAs and 85% Arts/Science/Commerce graduates are unwaged. There is a need to give freedom to the foreign universities and let them open their campuses in our country so that Indian students can achieve a good standard of higher education instead of getting a substandard one. We should drift ourselves into the R & D and hold hands together to turn and make India grow and come out as R & D Hub rather than just being an academic warehouse, producing innumerable software engineers, unoccupied technicians and clerks.  

The transformation should be done with a view to fight up with unemployment, poverty, female foeticide, exploitation, corruption rather than maintaining a goal to have a 98.5 % of enrolment in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan just on the grounds of ‘Mid-day meal scheme’. That should be, of course, a part of the Abhiyan, after all it is covering 14 Crore children, but the quality of education should also be maintained with students getting a motivational dose to build up curiosity for themselves. There should be more improvement in the image of women. Girls should be encouraged to achieve higher education and even to do jobs of their choice. Don’t become the murderer of their wishes, their emotions and their dreams. Give them opportunities through which they can also fulfill their dreams, ambitions and wishes.

Education must also impart good vocational and physical training and inculcate values to respect all vocations/professions – this is something we have to learn from the United States where a janitor can talk to a professor on one-to-one basis on the same table as an equal. The caste system which determines occupation by birth is fundamentally incorrect. All this also causes inter-personal problems in practical management. In books like “Karma, Destiny and Career”, it is given what can happen if you try to pursue an exalted occupation (engineer, lawyer, doctor) when in reality your real vocation maybe relatively humble (carpenter, plumber). In New York, a child psychologist became a taxi driver because driving was his passion. (This may seem awkward but normally people seeking artistic satisfaction have such problems). Therefore, formal education should give equal respect to all occupations and people should be respected for what they are instead of snobbishness of degrees and qualifications associated with certain exalted professions. So, we can conclude it in this way, that formal education in its ways should have moral education as its in-depth persona?

It’s the high time to transform the India’s education sector as with change comes spontaneity, a novelty in our life. Education system needs to change in order for us to invent new things, to see life in a different way. And when people accept change, they not only imbibe change, they learn to transform, to adapt, to flow and not stand stubbornly in an unbending way. When Gandhi Ji came to India after the famous South Africa incident, he was a changed man. His ideas of non-violence and equality brought a change in the outlook of people of that time. This changed India like a storm and this gave Gandhi Ji the responsibility of becoming the torch bearer for millions of Indians. Through the amalgamation of the new and old, we will be able to have an amicable society. G-8 and G-20 summits are taking place so that people become aware of the damage they are causing to the environment; this should be tackled up by the educated. Education should include the ill effects of too much pollution. It should be a torch bearer for those who have gone astray. Not only should education be compulsory for children but for adults too. Until our heart beats as one, our eyes see one thing, we unite ourselves in silence, we won’t be able to know the hidden meaning of education.

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