Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Is Wrong With Our Education?

Education implies cultivation of mind to make life tolerable with the acquisition of skills. It has been a part and parcel of human life since antiquity. Education has become the basic human necessity and that is why everyone is keen to learn and educate himself as education equips him with the knowledge necessary to face the challenges of life. There is an increasing realization all the worlds over that only through the right type of education can human beings be make good citizens and a better order of society be built. The real and effective education must be based on the actual environment and the experiences and it must fir the student for the type of work he is expected to do in life.
There has been, currently, a general feeling among the leaders, educationists and thinkers of various disciplines that there is something wrong in the current system of education. No doubt, a plethora of education commissions and committees have been set-up from time to time to look into the problems of the system and suggest measures for improvements. And a great number of experimentation in the processes of education have been undertaken or some of them are underway, but he real needs of the people and the country have not been fulfilled so far.
India is a big country with only two-thirds of her population literate in spite of all the efforts made by the independent India so far. The concept of universalisation of education was introduced only in recent years. Our expenditure on education is less than three per cent of our Gross Domestic Product as against the generally excepted norm of six per cent or even above in the developed world. Developing countries like India cannot afford to spend much on education owing to financial constraints. The Government finds it difficult to sustain its education program to owing to a rapid increase in population. Moreover, the Government itself, preoccupied as it generally is, with political issues and the problems of survival in seats of office, do not seem to have the requisite will and inclination to concentrate on this vital problem of the nation, which offers solution to many national and other problems. The Constitution of India lays down specific provisions for universal education and even mentions a deadline, but inadequate expenditures have always been incurred on this important activity in this country. The adult education and mass-education programmes have suffered set-backs just because of the lack of sincere efforts by the implementing machinery or lack of sufficient funds.
It is true that the present crisis in education is also because of the social growth. More and more people now have access to the modern techniques of acquiring knowledge and education. The necessary facilities of education cannot keep pace with the demand. The masses are creating an ever-widening gap between the opportunities and seekers. The trend of increasing population is unlikely to be modified despite the highly publicized family limitation drives. Obviously there is a need for a far more extensive development in the proper balance. It is very difficult to maintain the quality of education when the stress is given more on the quantity. There has been a mushroom growth of technical training institutes throughout the country which carter to the needs of the growing population of aspiring youth but there has been tremendous deterioration in the quality of training and education as less attention is given to this aspect in these institutions because they are more commercial in spirit. This is a glaring ill-effect arising out of the involvement of the Private Sector in advanced education and training. Private sector needs to be encouraged to play a vital role in the higher education but we need a clear and transparent government policy, both at the Center and in the States because education comes under the Concurrent List in the Constitution of India. The regulatory bodies like All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) should be more independent and free form the impact of the Government machinery. Only the institutes with full infrastructure required for the course conforming to the national standards should be granted recognition for the course so that it can produce professionals who can compete well in the world market.
Quite relevant to the problems of present system of education in this county is the defective curricula, the syllabi and the pattern of examinations. All of them do suit neither the students nor the society for which they are going to be prepared. The hue and cry about the curricula and pattern of examinations is so great that some people consider it the real bane of the system and every time when there is a revision of text books and the curricula, the changes worsen the position and do not solve the main problem. It is generally felt that the authorities pay inadequate attention to the problem and are not able to see through the psychologies of the students and the environment for which they are going to be trained and this general carelessness has cost the country heavily. In part, it is the symptom of, the general state of confused society in which very few take their duties seriously and everyone thinks only of cash rewards and, therefore, hurries through his assignments. This state of affairs is, in reality, also the result of poor educational standards which has resulted into diminished social and moral values, among not only the general masses, but also the highly educated and trained professionals.
There is a general tendency with the school authorities to prescribe more and more books for various types of study to the young students. Everyone comments adversely on the sight of young school-going boys and girls carrying bulky loads of books on their backs and usually their back bent by the load. How can we expect to expedite the process of gaining knowledge by prescribing lots of books for study with no time for these growing children for any inadequate thinking? We cannot hope to reform the system of education in such erroneous manner. The process of learning should be a pleasant experience, not a horrible happening which the students today are forced to undergo and which ultimately become the reasons for many youths falling prey to evil ways or resort to strikes and agitations.
The present education policy only ensures that students attend classes regularly, more and more children get admitted and there be less drop-out.  In order to ensure regular attendances, the government has introduced several measures such as the mid-day meals and no failures up to class VII. Here also the stress is on the quantity of students in school, not the quality. Many schools, especially in the rural areas do not have good buildings, teachers and proper teaching aids. The government run schools in urban areas, which cater to the needs of lower class people generally, also present a bad picture. The buildings are not well-maintained; the staff is not properly trained for the job and there is a common lack of interest in the teaching-leaning process in these schools. The government is taking measures for regular refresher courses for the teachers and releasing funds for improvement of the infrastructure of these institutions but enough is not being done on the ground. There is clear demarcation found between the rich and poor in respect of education in big cities. The children of the rich read in private-schools, with good infrastructure and teaching environment, big buildings, laboratories, libraries, playgrounds etc, and the poor send their children to ill-equipped government schools. Obliviously the children belonging to the high-clan get a good quality education and the poor have to be contented with the poor standards all their life. This trend of twin quality education has crept into the small towns and villages also, where small privately run schools are coming with good arrangements and the affluent people prefer to send their children to these schools. Thus the quality of education is becoming expensive day by day as the private schools, even at the basic level, are run by big business tycoons and it produces enormous dividends for them and inaccessible for the common man.
Some people are of the view that education should be completely privatized so that good quality education is available and inefficiency and under-utilization of competent teachers is removed from the education institutions. But there is negative side to the privatization of education. Elitist schools charge exorbitant fees which are beyond the reach of millions of Indians. They create a wedge between the have and have-nots and widen the disparities between the rich and the poor to the betterment of upper classes of society. As such, the solution to problem is, that all basic education should be nationalized and the government should ensure that all schools are equipped well with all facilities so that even the children of the upper crust of the society are to depend on these institutions only. This will naturally improve the standard of these schools as all high-ups in the society including high officials of the government and in business will be interested improving the condition of schools at this level and make all efforts to weed out the system of all the bottle-necks responsible for their poor performance. Along with the nationalization of basic education, the higher education can be fully privatized to generate funds which can be used to manage the basic educations also. The government can easily manage to withdraw itself from the field of higher education and save crores of rupees which are presently spent in the management of big institutions in the field of science, technology and medicine besides management studies and high-technological degrees. The money thus saved can be purposefully used to improve primary and secondary education by making the institutions of government at this level, better places for teaching-learning process. After putting in such a healthy mechanism in place, there will be a simultaneous change in the curricula or syllabi to suit the interest of the common man.
Education is becoming highly specialized today and the interested students can take the advantage of better facilities provided by the better equipped institutions in the private sector. A poor country like


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