Friday, July 10, 2009

What Ails Indian Educational System?

"Education is not the filling of a vessel but the kindling of a flame." – Socrates

Now-a-days, there is a lot of debate about Indian educational system. Many people view that the present system has several flaws and, as a result, we could not produce world class leaders. In this regard, it is relevant to know what the present challenges are.

Present Problems:

Currently Indian education system focuses too much on facts and figures thereby killing the creativity, analytical and reasoning skills among children. It does not encourage questioning by the students. The mindset is so developed that whatever is said by the teachers has to be taken as correct without any cross-questioning. In fact, the mindset is developed by parents themselves as they don’t encourage their children to question elders. All these things lead to regimented and conditioned mindset among children at the initial stage itself. In fact, it is at this stage children develop their inquisitiveness, logical, analytical and thinking skills.

We all are to be blamed for the present mess in the Indian education system such as parents, teachers, authorities and system. Besides, there is less focus on research and development in India.

Psychology of Indian Children:

At home too, parents order their children to obey what elders say. Although it is good in terms of building character and values but it adversely affects their creativity. They develop fear to pose questions. In the classroom, asking questions is not encouraged by teachers. Some children don’t ask questions in the class as they think that others may think as the questions to be foolish. Some children don’t ask questions as they think that teacher may get angry. Some children don’t ask as they think that others may treat as irrelevant.

Children in their tender age don’t have social obligations of failure. They don’t have guilt or shame as their minds are fresh. This is the age where we need to encourage questioning and help them explore themselves without any command and control.

Role of Teachers:

Teach them about the concepts fully. Don’t encourage them to mug up mere texts. Teachers must inspire students. Bring in the live examples and anecdotes that help in content assimilation and absorption among the children. Encouraging conceptual education is the need of the hour.

In few cases, the students adopt self-preparation. Even if the teachers don’t teach, the students are competent to learn through a standardized mechanism. It is a boon in disguise.

Teachers should refer number of books on each topic so as to have diversified and extensive knowledge on the subject. It helps them to widen their intellectual faculties and also enhances their confidence in handling questions in the classroom.

Overcoming Challenges:

We still follow the old pattern of educational system which we adopted from the West. There have been drastic changes in their educational system with the changing times. Unfortunately, we have not overhauled our educational system since long. Commercialization of Indian educational system is another cause for concern. Of course, we need funds to run educational institutions but there is a limit for everything. Somewhere some lines have to be drawn to professionalize Indian educational institutions.

There is shortage of teachers and dearth of infrastructure. The proportional ratio between the teacher and the students in a classroom is widening which requires attention.

The Indian educational system should emphasis more on ethical values and principles. Focus more on personality development, life skills, leadership development and motivation which enable the students to get tuned with the industry immediately after completion of their education. In addition, it builds strong work culture and professionalism.

It is a matter of regret that even after 62 years of independence we stand nowhere in the quality of education. Teachers should be made more accountable and responsible over the performance of their students. They need to be educated first so that they can educate students. Provide proper training to teachers who are not up to the standards. Instead of laying them off for non-performance, train and groom those until they come up to required standards. In addition, continuous training of teachers will also help in getting updated with the changing technology. It also helps them to know latest tools and techniques in teaching methodologies thus making them competent and confident teachers.

Recruit the competent and capable teachers. The authorities should take adequate care in selection of teachers. They should check the aptitude and passion for teaching during selection process. When teachers take to teaching by choice but not by chance the quality of teaching will go up in India.

Taking feedback should be made mandatory even at the primary school level itself as it encourages more accountability and responsibility among the teachers.

Salaries for teachers are very low. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. Even if tigers join, they turn out to be monkeys over a period of time. When you pay the best you get the best. Therefore, salaries have to be fixed as per the accepted guidelines and standards to make teaching career lucrative and attractive.

There should be change in the mindset of teachers. Teachers don’t encourage questioning. Mere dictating the notes from text books in the classroom does not carry any meaning. In some cases, teachers postpone the questions raised by students. And in some cases, questioning students are penalized.

Teachers should be taught with psychology as it helps in gauging the potential of the students and tailoring their teaching methodology. Indians are poor team workers. They should be taught about team spirit and they should also be taught how to manage group dynamics.

Same teacher should not take too many sessions continuously as it decreases the attention span for students thereby defeating the very purpose of teaching. Teachers too get stressed out of continuous teaching.

Teacher should motivate and inspire students with live examples, anecdotes and short stories. It excites the teaching process.

It is unjust for parents to force their dreams on their children. It stifles their creativity. It is necessary to find out what their children are passionate and encourage them in the same lines.

Government alone cannot bring the drastic changes in the educational system. Involvement of top industrial houses is warranted. The reputed IT companies like Infosys, Wipro and TCS can float their universities to revamp the present educational system.


Swami Vivekananda said "Education is the manifestation of perfection already present in man"

The Indian children work very hard right from the primary educational level itself. The strength of children should not be judged by the weight of their books but by their wealth of knowledge. Their merit should not be judged by their memory but by their analysis, logic and reasoning. The value of the students should not be judged by their paper degrees but by their application. Only when we look at this perspective, we can have qualitative education which will be superior to the developed countries.

Don’t force children to learn. Encourage and facilitate them to learn. Don’t dump them with lot of stuff. Instead, encourage their imagination. And finally, don’t force Indian children to work hard but make them to work smart.

The Indian professionals are in great demand across the world. It is not basically because they hail from reputed educational institutions but because they put in lot of hard work at the work place at the initial years to prove themselves. That is the case of professionals at the workplace. When we look at the students, it is basically their hard working abilities and self-preparation enables them to succeed at the academic level. Even though the quality faculty is not inducted at professional institutions the Indian students excel by the dint of their hard work and self-preparation.

We have the tendency to highlight problems not solutions; we have tendency to talk of barriers not bridges; we have tendency to talk of challenges, but not overcoming them. How can we progress with such mindset?

It is regrettable to note that India with a billion plus population don’t have proportional representation of Noble Laureates. It is time for India to walk the talk and talk the talk.

The End


BVSQD said...

Good observations, Prof. Rao. As a parent as well as a Professor myself, for quite a while I have also been trying to understand the good and bad in our educational system. I am getting the feeling that India must first give up its obsession with language- learning, regional or national. Other than English, any language must be made optional and something that parents can decide for their children. Children can then devote that time to building their knowledge of science and mathematics, that will give them a good foundation for the future. If a language is to serve current conversational needs, the child will surely be able to acquire them by mixing with peers.

ram said...

Good article.thank you prof.

ram said...

Good article.thank you prof.

Anonymous said...

thought provoking article....very impressive

Viswa said...

Good Article,In Old Days Education you have give Brief Description,.