Straight away, taking you to the point, as the title speaks, this writing is presented in a simplest form which every commoner can understand few of the basic errors in the Indian Educational System. These perspectives shared here are critiques for a better solution. There are hundreds of thousands of NGOs, Government aided projects, Good Educational Institutions who consistently taking strenuous efforts to take education to a holistic better level. We share the same interest and passion to contribute solutions for the issues discussed here. Let us share the critiques here in this part.
In our perspective the Education System in India has three major challenges which are well- known but ignored,
- Over Commercialization of Education
- Mere Marks / Numbers driven Evaluations
- Biased Career Orientation
Let us look at these in detail
1. Over Commercialization of Education
First, let us clarify, why we mentioned “Over” Commercialization. We are not in the Vedic ages or in the times of the past, where the purpose of education was pure learning towards gaining wisdom. Educators in Gurukulas had earned positions wiser than Kings and Emperors. Money was not the center of the centripetal force, which drove the society those eras.
Now fast-forward the clock to the present. The power of a nation is directly proportional to its economy. Every entity in a country has its dependency on Money. Governments, Politics, commerce, and Agriculture, which are the primary factors in the progress of a nation are driven by money. They tend to be seen powerless when the money value goes down.
Same force, acts on Educational system too. So it has become impossible for the system to exist without being commercially involved. Even government, educational institutions which are taking massive steps for progress via free education schemes to the students, are funded by the government by thousands of crores of Rupees every year. So the system becomes is non functional without money from a source.
Critics who find it negative about privatization needs to note the point above, whether private or government, the system needs a money for existence. A healthy progression towards global advancement can be shown only if the educational system is funded with more financial reserves. Take a quick glance at all the rapidly growing countries their investment on Education is more than what they invest on Weaponries.
The real problem started here, when the Paradigm shift happened. The healthy return on investment in education should not be the monetary profit, but on the knowledge and the monetary wealth what the consumers of education (students) can give back to the society. This is applicable to the educators and the students as well.
To be more clear, the education system has been viewed so narrow, in such a way that if we invest money, the consumer pays money and we take our profits. No. This theory will not work with the education system. The cycle does not end here. Any nation that educates its young generation for the sole purpose to make them eligible to contribute to the national / social progress, can be sure that simultaneously they can take care of their self too. So the real profit comes only when the students learn and starts contributing, when he starts earning. The real return on investment will be the taxes paid by the educated, when he/she earns profit in his business / occupation.
Unfortunately, there is no room for patience and a holistic perspective now. The Educators want returns immediately and there is a sense of irresponsibility on how the educated will contribute. Most of the searches end where the opportunity for money goes. This paradigm shift caused two barriers.
- Most of the Private Educators focus only their returns on investment and more profit.
- As the investor is the government, there is lethargy in common to deliver quality with the government educational bodies. They don’t mind profit as long as they are salaried by the government. As the government knows they can’t expect profit from their institutions, there is a perspective towards those institutions as mere liabilities.
This too does not end here; this is the actual cause for governments seeking profit indirectly from their supported private educational institutes across the country. At this moment we are limiting our critiques at this level.
As a result the entire education system is pushed to make profits. Knowingly or unknowingly, the complete system is desensitized to the original purpose of education.
2. Mere Marks / Numbers driven evaluations
Performance should be measured and it should be scalable. There are no second thoughts on this. Well, this holds good for education too.
It would be too vague if we just leave a comment on the current marking / ranking system which is available for students in India. This is how it is works today Students writes/ takes exams and they are rewarded marks usually out of 100 or 200 for what they score reflects the ability of the student. Fair?
There are three subjective factors we need to consider if we need to answer this question.
- The determination of content and its marks
This is a huge topic with a wide spectrum of subjects, making it very difficult to write up, the most important is the missing link of teaching ethics and values, which we left for a separate discussion. However, we share the essence now on content and marks related shortcomings.
For instance a principle or concept is taught and asked as a question in tests. The educators are well aware of the importance of learning it and its future implications; there is no doubt in this. But the point is, it is related to some marks say a 30 mark question or 1 mark question. So this creates partiality towards topics and the concepts. 30 marks questions sidelines the one word questions.
This leads to skipping-learning patterns among students. The questions revolve around the same set of concepts and limiting the minds of students from exploring more and thinking on their own. This is observed at grass root level in the learning process which many of us never even thought of. But the respected subject experts knew it.
- The students perspective on the mark
A student comes to a conclusion that in the end only the marks are going to determine their future options, their interest towards securing more marks only stands in the minds. As a result, there is less focus on relating learning towards their life and achieving excellence in subject matter.
If we go and tell a student to study for excelling in a subject, but not marks, they will give a laugh and rejects the idea so innocently. The parents also do the same. And of course you can’t even initiate this topic to institutions. It’s considered as a taboo.
The story of marks does not get over as the student secures some marks. There starts the real drama. The publicly announcing of the results comes in place. This is a huge draw back / error in the education system according to us. This leaves students to compare oneself with others on various subjects and cultivates inferior / superior thoughts on their minds.
Low the score the student will be labeled inefficient, curtailing his confidence. This marking system wants all the fingers to grow to the same heights, which is impossible. But the system demands so.
A student can explore and learn fundamentals of all subjects, but it is wrong to expect him /her to excel in everything. They are not omnipotent or all are expected to be polymaths.
This causes an error after error. A doctor is superior to an engineer who is superior to an accountant… There we caused a pyramid of careers to the students to choose from. “Well, you want to reach the top? Score more marks” – this is stupid. The pyramid is a myth and a hallucination. We will see more about this in our next section biased career orientation
How many students commits suicide fearing to face the embarrassment the society puts on them if they fail to grab those marks? Well, you know the answer! Marks are not bad, but marks creating partiality is worst.
It would be comparatively healthy if you want to excel in this field, then score more on these subjects. No field is inferior or superior to any other.
- The evaluation factors
The best feedback on the evaluations done for descriptive examinations can be got from the students. We heard so many fun activities on evaluating the exam answer sheets, Teachers from Arts evaluated Science papers, A language teacher evaluated other language paper which he rarely knew, the longer the essay more the marks : many evaluations happen on this parameter too.
One of the most common parameters of evaluation is the handwriting of the students, a justified readable handwriting is not enough to get good marks, one with exceptional handwriting usually has an added advantage irrespective of the subject knowledge. We wonder where in our career we use our handwriting except in our signatures often.
There is no standardization of evaluation except for the multiple answers to questions where no personal interests of an evaluator can act as a fact.
When it comes to practical exposure, till higher secondary students have very poor access to implement, experiment and practice the concepts they had learnt, except for level one school which are affordable for the niche economic class of people. In most of the schools practical exercises are done as a mere formality and more focus is given on pressurizing the students to secure more marks.
After evaluation from the top to the last grade students have the pressure again to score more than what they have scored before. Well, we are happy that 100% is the maximum indicator in the academics, else the case would be even worse.
3. Biased Career Orientation
As explained in the previous factor the hierarchical classification of field of study is totally wrong according to us. Because what happens is the entire perspective of the parents and the students have been oriented towards a wrong direction.
This is the typical hierarchy in most of the schools till class ten there are no specialization in the field of study and every student learns the same subjects. After tenth class the class eleven / PU will be decided based on the marks what they score in the final tenth examination. First group Science with Mathematics which is usually meant for students belongs to the top creamy layer of the score sheets. Followed by the rest of the group like Commerce, Vocational, etc. Which are for students who scores lesser
The justification to suggest a student who scores, poor in mathematics to go for arts is a fair one. But the point of concern here is what kind of orientation and interest level the student actually has for the arts group and also on what ways the student was enabled with ideas for his future, if he chooses arts. Well a day’s counseling for him before enrolling him in the arts group seems mere marketing, rather a true guidance.
If we ask students what they want to become, they will come up with various careers and if we ask them to relate how their class ten’s marks going to help them to get there, their answers will lack in clarity. Mostly they end up in admitting; on scoring good marks means it’s good for a better career.
The worst part of Career orientation happens at school levels and college levels lies in the very definition of a good career. A good career is presumably defined as “any profession in which you can earn more money that career is better than the others”
As we detailed earlier, this is the result of the commercialization of education if you look at this from a 360⁰ perspective. Guidance towards excellence in a subject is given secondary or tertiary importance.
This continues till the graduation is completed and even when a student lands on a job, which is merely for earning money than for a career or contributing for a social progress.
This resulted in a social change that percentage of selfish money minded people are growing and the actual contributors to the societal progress are shrinking. Well, you want any evidence, you may not find its statistics, but have a look at all the global crisis, environmental problems, economic partiality, etc. Everything is the result of a selfish society of people.
We have detailed here for our best now, of course, there will be more perspectives to this. Many other issues can be related to these three major challenges.
We only tried to make a statement that we are swimming an upstream which is pulling us down, we need to act and realize, we have the power to revert the upstream to downstream to a healthy direction.
The effects of these problems are humongous spread across every system around us. We tend to solve it at grass root level by educating the students and shield them from any factors which curtail their learning in the right way and we hope they will be equipped with knowledge and wisdom towards a sustained living.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
We are having faith to direct this educational system towards a healthy direction, but we are not proceeding without seeing the whole staircase, we can very well see almost a good part of the staircase. Making the vision clear is in the hands of all of us.
Let us hope for the best!
Please comment your ideas, feedback, critiques on this. We welcome it and open to discuss.
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- Commercialization of Education : Why? (propelsteps.wordpress.com)