The Indian education system is not actually ‘Indian’; it was imposed on the country by the British. The imperialists had just one goal in mind – to create a population of educated clerks and coolies so that they serve the British Empire better. India was set free in 1947 but successive governments did little to change the education system. In fact, they only made it worse over the next few decades. Here is the list of top 10 detectable flaws in the Indian education system which must be removed if the government is actually serious about the country’s development.
Many Asian countries, including China, have invested heavily in primary education. Their fundamental goal is to increase functional literacy so that every citizen is capable of reading manuals or any other documentation and perform various tasks at work. The Indian education system, on the other hand, fails to impart the much needed functional literacy to millions of students. Except Information Technology and IT-enabled services, India’s performance in the services sector is abysmal and these, too, include repetitive work lacking any creativity.
A large majority of Indian parents and students look up to engineering, medicine, law and management as “better” streams. The Indian education system is such that vocational streams are almost always looked down upon. If a young student wishes to make a career out of his/her hobby, s/he has to fight or convince the entire society before going ahead with the plans. In fact, a large number of students have no choice but to graduate in Science, Humanities or Commerce even if they are ultimately going to be musicians.
The Indian education system is firmly stuck with the old and traditional system of ‘chalk and talk’. Technology plays little or no role, and it fails to find a mention in the policies laid out by various boards of school education – MHRD, NCERT and others. Decision makers in the Indian education system, on state and federal level, have made little or no attempt to modernize student assessment processes, teaching methods, etc.
In India, a student has to appear for dozens of qualifying, selection, entrance and periodical exams in a short span of 4-5 years after leaving school (as if the School gave him or her some respite and time to do something worthwhile). In the process, students lose interest in sports, creative pursuits and everything else that could be important. A successful (or failed) research scientist, medical specialist, engineer or any other person will agree that Indian education system should instead of called ‘Indian Exam System’.
There is little or no room for world class research in the Indian education system. Even if a university student has great ideas and manages to implement one of them despite having to appear for dozens of exams every year, s/he has to align well with department head, professor-in-charge or director of the educational institution. If s/he deviates even slightly from what a professor with outdated knowledge thinks and believes in, the student is likely to get no funding for research, average grades or no recommendation in future.
Young school students in India are made to study as many as 7 to 10 books on different subjects starting from a very young age. They learn something about everything from Civics to Geography and from Language Studies to Trigonometry, but fail to focus on any one particular subject and excel at that alone. This is precisely the reason why these students fail to carry out research or have little or no creative pursuits later on in their lives.
India is a country of billions and it only has a handful of quality institutions with limited seats for millions of students. But admissions to these institutions are not always based on merit. The merit is sidelined as a major chunk of the “limited” seats is reserved for students who are born in certain communities, whether their parents happen to be peasants, industrialists or IAS officers. While the fundamental solution to the problem should have been more schools and better facilities for the less fortunate, the government chose to blindly implement the politically influenced reservation system.
Indian students are made to learn formulae, chemical equations, periodic table, names of freedom fighters, peaks and so on. Instead of learning the fundamental algebraic concepts, characteristics of elements, intricacies of the freedom struggle, etc., students end up cramming information that serves little or absolutely no purpose in day to day life. Why should everyone cram Trigonometry formulae to score well in High School, for example?
In the Indian education system, teachers impart theoretical and not practical knowledge to students at any level. Even a 7-year-old student can be seen carrying a bag full of books and notebooks all the way to school and back home like a coolie (the British succeeded!). Instead of imparting practical education to students, boring subjects are forced upon them. In the process, the students lose the curiosity which could have helped them learn better, and at a much faster rate. The biggest flaw of this system is that it kills curiosity – the human nature that leads to development.