Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back to basics

They say that the "Pen is mightier that the sword". But the problem India faces is that 31% of the population does not know how to use the pen. We have a literacy rate of 69%; well below the world average of 84%. The southern states fare better compared to north.

The education system in India has gone to the dogs, worse still; to the street dogs! The educational system in ancient India was Gurukula. There an individual learnt all the things necessary for his life contrary to the popular belief that only religious scriptures like the Vedas and Upanishads were taught. Although this my not be practical today considering the professional environment; the present education system in India was designed by the erstwhile British colony for clerks. Indians were supposed to do clerical jobs for the "White" back then. We have just improved on it. Theory based education with very little concentration on the practical system is the order of the day. BusinessWeek denigrates the Indian curriculum saying it revolves around rote learning and ExpressIndia suggests that students are focused on cramming.

The educational system which we have now lacks the goal of universal which requires constitutional directive which has become a distant dream, the gains we made in terms of enrollment are set to nil by the high drop out incidence. Hence the ultimate result it has brought is that the number of illiterates in the country continue to remain the same. The extreme inadequacy of infrastructure facilities; as few reports on education have shown the pathetic condition of many of the schools in the country, from which it is evident that the resources available are not enough as in the present scenario it is highly difficult to provide even the basic or minimum facilities to such schools, as the allocation made for education still remains the below recommended average of 6% of the GDP. The public expenditure on education has actually declined from around 3.23 percent of GDP in 2000-2001 to 2.88 percent in the recent times. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), India has the lowest public expenditure on higher education per student in the world.

The system needs a serious facelift. The problem lies in the grass root level. We live in the same country that boasts of premier institutes like IITs, IIMs, IIS on one hand and on the other has one the highest school dropout rates in the world. The graduates today dont know what to do after the completion of their education even if the manage to gather the knowledge required for their professional life. Apart from this the real problem we face is not that of unemployment, but of unemployability. Only one in ten young people have access to tertiary education Out of those who receive higher education, only a quarter of graduates are "employable".

The government on its part has been trying it best to educate the masses by implementing the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan - (2001) and now the Right to Education Act - 2010. But do we have a judicial system competent enough to keep a tab on whether these initiatives are carried out as per law ? Now this is a point worth pondering. Even if those are implemented it wont be of much use as there still gender bias prevailing in the curriculum with the females generally being shown as weak and helpless,  and poor facilities in the schools. Also most of the technical education imparted is obsolete which is of no use in the present scenario. 

Education is not filling the brain but training the mind, for this the teachers play a very important role. The teachers must have the potential to invoke the interest in the minds of the students so that they are motivated to learn more and more in their quest of knowledge. For this the firstly the teachers must take interest in their profession and must update their knowledge on a regular basis. Until these happen I can assure that India will still be a developing country 100 years from now!!

1 comment:

lyfnluv said...

Achu really informative and thought provoking .... and i do have certain suggestions and requests so do plz chk ur mail dear........