The present system of education in India focuses too much on facts and figures. It thus kills creativity and analytical and reasoning skills among children. It develops a mindset that whatever is said by the teachers has to be taken as correct without any cross-questioning. Even parents do not encourage their children to question elders. Besides, there is less focus on research and development. All this leads to regimented and conditioned mindset among children whose inquisitiveness, logical, analytical and thinking skills are curtailed. The blame for the present mess lies equally with parents, teachers, authorities and the system.
Children in their tender age do not have social obligations of failure. They do not have guilt or shame as their minds are fresh. This is the age when questioning needs to be encouraged. Instead, they develop fear to ask questions as they think that the teacher may get angry while some other children do not ask questions in the class as they think that others may think their questions are foolish or irrelevant.
Also, conceptual education needs to be encouraged where the concepts are taught fully by bringing in live examples and anecdotes that help in content assimilation and absorption among the children. Students should not be encouraged to mug up mere texts as is done at present.
There is a huge neglect of primary and secondary education. The quality of university education is also highly variable. The main causes of uneven and highly unequal educational system in India are not technological underdevelopment but political and social neglect. Besides money for raising salaries of teachers and officials, better organization of teaching and other practices are also required, different from the present concept of minimal schooling with maximal private tuition. For this, cooperation at different levels and between central and state governments, teachers’ unions, parent-teacher committees, and civil society is necessary.
The education system in India lacks many advancements and it continues to be traditional. Though there are some learning centers such as the IITs and the IIMs which continue to deliver world-class, high quality education, several flaws and lacunae exist in the system. There is a very distinct difference between the education system in India and the US. While the Indian education system is knowledge centric, the American system is enquiry centric. Whereas the Indian system accumulates knowledge, the American system centers on the application of knowledge. It shows that the Indian system is theory centric where as the US system is practical oriented.
World over, testing a hypothesis holds high excitement and by doing so, one could acquire a practical sense of doing things right at the first time, every time. In contrast, in India, enough stress is not laid on the practical application of a theory learnt. Students go with the fatalistic assumption that the theory, if put to practice, will work. Mostly they do not try it or test it. This is an attitude that needs to be changed.
Another problem with the present system is the lack of good quality teachers as the job is not very paying. There is a shortage of qualified, trained, and experienced teachers as one goes to teaching when he is not able to get a high paid corporate job and thus teaching has come to being the last resort sort of a career. In these teachers, the students are unable to find their role models.
The contrast would be ample clear when we compare this with a very peculiar practice in the Gurukul system that India had, at least in the Takshsila gurukul. From the passing out students, one or two students those who were the top of the class- were retained to teach at the Gurukul. Others could go home and indulge themselves in whatever other profession they cared for. The best were to teach. For other professions, lesser students could do.
The situation seems to be alarming when one does not see any new knowledge coming through research. The research activity associated with higher education sector lacks originality and many often, authenticity. The questioning and research orientation which is not cultivated or encouraged in our institutions at the student level continues throughout the studies. This leads to a lack of research-oriented mindset—an area of concern in our education system. Institutions of higher learning cannot merely be institutions for the dissemination of knowledge. It is imperative that they are also producers of knowledge.
In primary and secondary education and often in higher education, technology is seldom applied. It looks like technology based education stays in the hands of few selected institutes and people. Broad basing technology based education is absolutely the need of the hour for India. Added to it is the interaction between the industry and educational institutions. While in India the interaction continues at the minimum level, the developed nations have thrown open their universities and research facilities to the industry and vice versa.
In India, the industry never tries or tests the acclaimed theories brought out by the academia and neither the institutions bother about it. The institutions never worry about the industry needs when it comes to curriculum preparation and many often continue with the archaic syllabi. It is for the educationalists and the leaders to strengthen the industry-institution interaction and make it mutually value adding and a win-win situation.
The old pattern of educational system which India adopted from the West is still being followed. There have been drastic changes in the educational system of the West with the changing times. Unfortunately, India has not overhauled its educational system since long. Commercialization of Indian educational system is another cause for concern. Of course, funds are needed to run educational institutions but there is a limit for everything. Somewhere some lines have to be drawn to professionalize Indian educational institutions.
In short, Indian education system lacks excitement. Like any back office operation of companies, the education system loiters in the background and does not come into the forefront. When India is developing and surging forward as an Information technology and knowledge super power, it is time that Indian universities and institutions beckoned students from all over the world or at least, from South Asian and Far East Asian nations. This calls for introspection, soul searching, brains storming and strategizing by educationalists, leaders and the concerned authorities.
The Indian educational system should emphasize more on ethical values and principles. It should 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. Indeed, the time has come to clean up Indian education sector, add more value to it and make it at par with world standards. As Socrates has said, “Education is not the filling of a vessel but the kindling of a flame”.