Is the Indian Education System serving its purpose?
The Indian education system in use today is obsolete and damaging the learning prospects of students.
Unfortunately, the Indian education system seems to have remained stagnant with little development and advancement in the past few decades.
This has given rise to several problems.
To delve deeper into the issue and to see if the Indian education system is serving its purpose, We, at Barefoot Trust, asked a few students from various parts of the country to share their views through the medium of a debate competition called the “KaleidoVoice” on 29 May 2021 where we discussed whether the Indian education system was serving its purpose or not.
The participants were diverse in age, ranging from 16 to 26 years old. They were asked to speak for or against the motion and for them, at a time, it was about taking a stand contrary to their beliefs or personal experiences.
The aim here was to gain a better understanding of students’ perspectives on India’s educational system and to highlight areas that need to be improved and to form a view while placing oneself in the other’s shoes.
In the debate, there were a few particular issues that were brought to light.
“How can one possibly ask if the education system is dead in India? Did the system not nurture discipline in you? Did you not learn that with hard work, you can make the impossible possible? Isn’t that what the education system in India taught you?” ~ Jennifer Harrison, 26 years.
The Indian education system nurtures and moulds the character of the students by instilling in them the importance of moral values and etiquettes from an early age. These values include that of discipline, punctuality, responsibility, accountability, and so on, which are considered being some of the most important factors in achieving success in life.
This was also supported by Aavisha S Kharkongor (18 years) in her statement, “We learnt discipline, being responsible, punctual and moral values in school. Schools definitely equip us well for the future.”
DETERMINATION AND PERSEVERANCE
“Our school environment is conducive to helping children learn soft skills, helping them later in life. They also learn to persevere and to be determined.” ~ Charlene Syiemiong, 20 years.
The education system nudges the students to aim high and achieve success. But for that to happen, it is essential that the students learn to be determined. It is the determination and perseverance that enables them to persist in the face of adversity and when things do not appear to be easy; and eventually they can attain their goals.
The education system in India plays a significant role to prepare the students to manage their workload and time efficiently. The students are given the opportunity to work on different assignments and projects throughout their education, which they must submit adhering to the deadlines. Eventually, the students learn to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
The students are encouraged to be proactive in their performance in the education system in turn motivates them to aim high and achieve success.
IMPORTANCE OF MARKS
On the flip side of the education argument, “The Indian education system gives utmost importance to academic marks rather than actual learning and personality development. It should encourage creative learning and thinking.” ~ Catherine Joanna Harrison, 22 years.
Students in the Indian education system are made to believe that their marks are more important than learning itself. This encourages the students to adapt techniques like rote learning instead of trying to understand and internalize the concepts. This also affects the self-confidence of students. Those who secure above 80 per cent are felt treated as superior and those who achieve average or below-average marks, and the latter gradually not only lose confidence but also develop low self-esteem and depression.
Failure to score high marks is translated as failure and an insult to self and family. This approach resulted in an increase in depression and suicide rates among the students.
CURIOSITY AMONG STUDENTS
“Reality is what educational institutions lack, we need to harness curiosity to harvest productivity.” ~ Jovie Benson Lyngdoh, 22 years.
Curiosity shows a hungry mind, which is essential for success. If students are curious, it means that they are open to new experiences. This helps them to come up with more unique concepts and ideas. According to a neurological study, curiosity makes our brains more receptive to learning, which in turn makes learning more effective and enjoyable.
The harsh reality is that the students are made to feel that it is their academic marks that define them, so they use their time and energy to come up with techniques to get high marks and in this process, they shy away from curiosity. Regarding this, Sabrina Tochhawng (17 years) asked, “If curiosity is dead, one does not want to proceed further in learning. Does that not mean the education system is dying, or worse, already dead?”
“Every child has different needs, different capabilities and different goals. Yet we are made to study the same subjects, with the same methods for 10 years.” ~ Tanaya Naveen, 17 years.
As each student differs from understanding or grasping concepts, the teachers should not fixate on a single approach to teach their students. The teachers, along with traditional classroom teaching, should also make use of technological advancements and digital learning, and should encourage practical application (wherever possible). This helps ensure the students get a better understanding of the concepts in their syllabus.
DREAMS AND PROFESSIONS
Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” and this could not be more true. We, as children, have always been taught that no job or profession is petty.
However, in India, this seems to be only true in theory. In reality, professions such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers are given more importance and appreciation whereas those of a poet, dancer, writer, musician, sports person and so on are looked down as unfit and undesirable options for a career.
It is important that all students are encouraged to pursue their dreams. Each student should be given the freedom to choose the life they want. All professions, all dreams, should be encouraged by the education system and by society.
“At school, why is our learning only limited to completion of syllabus and scoring marks? Learning is so hollow; emphasis is not given on real life skills.” ~ Natasha Gadal, 21 years.
We should not restrict education to book knowledge. It is important that we teach students real life skills. This enables them to cope up with problems with a touch of optimism. Students can learn new ways of thinking and solving problems through developing life skills. It also helps them to recognize the consequences of their actions and to accept responsibility.
A very important aspect of the education system is vocational training. Although the education policy plans to institutionalize vocational training in high schools, so far, the efforts have not been up to the mark. There are very few educational institutions who offer vocational training and among those who do, the implementation is rather ineffective and hence, cannot benefit the students.
The debate concluded by highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of the Indian educational system, as well as suggesting a few improvements to achieve optimal results. For a student’s complete development, the educational system demands a more holistic approach. Students should view education as an opportunity to grow. The teachers should attempt to make classroom learning to excite and engaging. Equal importance should be given to both curricular and extracurricular activities. And students should not be forced to adopt techniques like rote-learning. Creativity and unconventional, out-of-the-box ideas should be encouraged much more than is the current practice.
(Catherine Joanna Harrison, a 22-year-old BBA student specialises in marketing and has a keen interest in Psychology. She is vegan, an animal lover, and a promoter of animal rights. During her free time, she enjoys dancing. Catherine is currently an Intern at Barefoot Trust and serving society is her core interest.)
The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TNT-The Northeast Today.