Source: The Hitavada      Date: 16 Jan 2018 10:27:05


By prof poonam mishra,

There are instances when you are taken aback, speechless and full of questions to self and you wish to eventually pelt out these questions at societies to seek answers. While playing a game of rapid fire cards with my kindergarten going niece and nephews, where the rule is to speak the correct word instantly for the cue given in the card. As my turn came, the cue on the card said 'A for' and since the same evening I had to board a flight, subconsciously 'A for aeroplane ' slipped from my mouth.

And there were laughter and giggles. The kids could not accept that 'A for aeroplane' is correct too. For them the correct one was 'A for apple 'only as it was always, every time and everywhere, the same. My niece called my sister for the testimony and when it was again Apple from her, she smiled at me slyly. This left me to question the education system that exists in our country. I felt that before going to school every child is unique, every child thinks differently, but the education system somehow makes every child think the same. I realised that this is the fundamental flaw in our education system.

Going way back to the origin of education system in India. In 1800s the industrial revolution was in full swing and East India Company has just started their business in India. To get the work done from Indians, the Britishers need to communicate. Since Indians didn't know English, it was a knot for the progress and propagation of the company. To solve this issue, they turned to a British historian and politician, Thomas Macaulay.

He was asked to anyhow convert the Indians by giving them education that will make them fit to work in the company. And with this came, the English Education Act, 1835 and the Indians were subjected to English and the whole education system. The company needed only the clerical cadre who had simply to follow instructions and only do as they are told, like human machineries. The same continues to be a case even now, only the industries have changed.

The education system strips children of their freedom to think and destroys their true potential. A study by NASA shows that 98% of children think differently before they start going to school. As they go through this education system, at 25 years of age only 2% think different and 98% thing the same.

What we are so much conditioned to is that there is a ladder of learning. The same ladder should be taken by all. It starts with kindergarten, schooling, under graduation, post graduation and likewise. How good or bad you are, will be judged yearly on the basis of scores that you get on mark sheets That's how you progress with the flow, or better stay, with the flood, just like mud.

Children are like sponge, absorbing what they are exposed to. Hence, it is very important, the kind of exposure is given to them by the teachers, parents or the society, as a whole. We cannot homogenise the children and feed them with figures and facts readily for them to know it all. We need to give them enough space to question and the freedom to question. Questioning is a prerequisite for learning. It will be a privilege for a child if he has been given room to ponder and question about the existence of anything or everything. With this, learning will be a byproduct of the whole growth that he will undergo.

The system should stop spoon feeding the chapters and syllabus to the students, just as a part of their duty. Rather they should provoke students to use their senses in a better way, to become observant and look for their interest to make it a career later. The education system has become a mould that wants every student to jump inside and become identical standard product. Just like how it happens in the industries with raw materials. And the grades sheets are no different from the quality standard marks on industrial products.

But such mould can only create Good quantity of students compromising on the quality part. As a matter of fact India produces 1.7 million engineers every year more than the total number of Engineers produced by USA and China combined together. The numbers are alarming. But more alarming is the fact that only 7% of engineering graduates are employable for core engineering jobs. As a result, only a meagre number end up grabbing core engineering jobs and rest join Call Centers or BPO units in MNCs .Hence there is no link between what they studied, what they wished to do and what they do now.

Even in other fields, the corporate and employers do not approve of the quality of finished products of this education system. As per the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry 64% of employers feel that the quality of graduates is not satiable to meet the industry standards.

This imbibe lacunae will only leave its ground when there will be a change in the mindset of people, a revolution in the thoughts of the stakeholders of the system. When the more importance will be given to a well-informed mind and not to a well-fed mind.

The flowchart of education system ideally should go like-
1) Learning the concepts and ideas of different fields
2) Finding a passion in a topic or an area that interests you the most.
3) Then seeking for further education in that particular topic in detail.
4) Lastly, this knowledge should be applied in the real life situations and workplaces.
Only when an interest or passion is made a career you strive for unmatched excellence.
Rightly quoted by John Adams-
"There are two educations. One teaches us how to make a living and the other how to live".
Let us try to make it one.
(The author is Astt Professor, Department of Management, S B Jain Institute of Technology, Management & Research, Nagpur and can be reached at [email protected]