Showing posts with label Indian education system. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indian education system. Show all posts

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Link

The sci - fi me was having a rather good time enjoying the discovery channel when I stumbled upon a curious looking and sounding program called "The Link" and hence my title. The show focuses on how seemingly unrelated discoveries or inventions are related and how one invention let to another and finally to the technological marvels that today we take for granted. The National Geographic talk about the show such:

"Technology is all around us. From computers to cameras, cell phones to sat navs – our dependence on technology has never been greater. But how many of us ever stop to question how these inventions actually came about? Challenging the commonly held view, that they appear fully formed, out of nowhere, The Link reveals the surprising origins of some of the most important technological breakthroughs, of the modern world."

graduates after convocationSo, why am I talking so much about a random show I happened to watch in National Geographic? The reason is simple. This is what is missing from today's educational system the worldwide. Lets take India's case for example, from the days we start learning we focus on passing exams and mugging up most things. It is a very selected few who go into inquiring about why it came to be. The fact is that education has reduced to more of studying and less of learning. How many of us, the educated mass as we call are able to explain why some certain things came to be and how they influence people, society and humanity at large. Take the case of fire or agriculture or the production line, do we know why it came to be, how it came to be or what it did to the society then? Isn't that what education was supposed to impart to us?

What I am trying to say is that at some time along the way we have lost sight of our goal and has gone astray. We don't need to overhaul our entire system, that's is not possible and even if its possible its not feasible. Our educators are good, our institutions are equipped enough. I don't mean at any point that all our schools are in surplus of facilities but I do believe that our schools have just enough infrastructure to create a thinking and capable tomorrow. What we really need is a change in the systems and its priorities. The priorities should move away from scoring marks and more on understanding concepts.

When one starts to speak about de-prioritizing marks people usually come to conclusions that exams are the villain and they should be taken to the guillotine. In fact that will only cost us dearly, exams should be there otherwise how will we evaluate our children, how will we ensure their progress? What we need are exams that evaluate children's understanding of a subject and their ability to correlate and infer. We need exams that will ensure understanding and model our syllabus and curricular to attain this aim. This does not involve a major over haul of anything but a few fundamentals of our educational system. 

teaching our children

Let our children be Einsteins and newtons, let them make and create and innovate tomorrow, let them know that they alone have the ability and the power in their hands to craft tomorrows dreams. Let them understand that their dreams are not simply dreams but visions for meeting tomorrows challenges head on, solve then and conquer them. When they understand this and cherish this revelation then only we will have completed our responsibility towards our children and completed our link to the next generation.

"Do watch "The Link" on National Geographic if you can its a great show to watch if you are a technological junkie or just a curious homo sapien!"

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Crap They Sell Us at Schools

What is India heading to? It must be total anarchy or may be something worse. When confronted with the question of what I would like to change in the society if I could, I went over an awful lot of possibilities. I considered personal stuffs like changing my hairstyle to my stop biting my nails and universal stuffs like a world without boundaries (we ought to talk about that some time sooner). But then it struck me very of handedly that the one thing that must be changed in India is its Victorian ‘tailor made for slaves’ education system by our huge hearted well-wisher Lord Macaulay. But with all the crap that we are being fed in our schools now one has to ask themselves is it still called ‘education’ anymore.

I must be unfair in placing the blame on Lord Macaulay; in fact I am wrong in doing so. His intension was not to create the entrepreneurs scientists and thinkers who would one day propel the nation to unprecedented heights but his was an even harder job. His job was to create an educational system that would create enough donkeys who would work on the largely underpaid and ‘sub-standard‘ jobs that they could just not watch an English man do. And he was fair in churning out our matriculation system that we still proudly uphold today. One cannot call them schools they must be called cattle farms. He was a complete success in what he did, but we were the real idiots who bought their sinister plot with not a thought going into it.  

But, now our educational system which, I was once a part of a few years back was indeed not all that bad. There were some good things in it too like raisins in a cake. But now it’s just like a nightmare gone horribly wrong. Each person adding his whims and fancies into it doesn’t really give us a comprehensive and informed educational system. When todays educationalist go on to the extent of defining a forest vaguely as ‘a group of tree’ , the doubt starts arising in one’s mind whether they really are educated enough to be called educationalist. I think they get some kind of sadistic pleasure by ruining the life and dreams of today’s bright ones.

We need to revolutionize and revitalize our educational system or at the very least make our ‘antique’ system catch up with the today. What the nation now needs are brilliant entrepreneurs, stratergicians and researchers who would become the corner stone of its continued success. When a nation such as ours finds itself in the middle of a fast evolving world it need to put up its best face to be part of that world and to continue being there we need educated and capable people’.

Simply copying any educational system from the west may not be a very good alternative. Though highly successful in generating quality research and enriching potential, the cultural aspect and the mindset of the prevalent society play a significant role in its success too. What we need is not a ditto copy, but of possible inclusion of its best practices to our educational system and make the exaggerant focus on marks must go dim. It’s true we need more quality people but that doesn’t mean more people with maximum marks but we need more people who understand what they do.

If one thing must change about the mindset of the people then it must be this, the parents should stop pursuing the career of their children. They should realize that they can’t live their child’s life too. They should give their children a chance to live out their dream. Children may not be best judges of things but they know their hearts and their odds, if they believe they can succeed, shouldn’t they be given a chance to try. If this one factor about our society does change, there will be a reciprocating change in our educational system and a transformation in it for the best. The only thing that drives entrepreneurship and research is passion and its severe shortage is what the nation is suffering from, and why is that? The simple answer is the overwhelming focus on a ‘safe career’ forced upon today’s children.

Indeed our educational setup is plagued by a hoard of problems; the only reason for it can be the lack of timely changes that never happened. Now we are faced with a problem, whether to radically alter our system or slowly change it such that it can play catch up at the cost of valuable time. I incline towards a radical transformation, I believe a couple of unrest in the department will be all the resultant problems from such an action but it will produce the desired results in time. But I need not be the final say in that matter. It is a complicated and sensitive issue and requires an equally though-about and subtle solution. But one thing is sure, we have already reached the precipice now all we have is total oblivion or a resurrection and the choice is ours to act about.