Issues and Challenges in Indian Education System
Parents love to boast about their kids when they are small, yet as they grow older many parents find their children not good enough compared to other kids. Why is this? Is there a sudden change in parents attitudes or the child has lost his talents or is it that our system does not support our children’s talents. Let’s talk about children and the Issues and Challenges in Indian Education System they have to face.
What are Issues and Challenges in Indian Education System?
“Urmila sit down to study or no television for you today”, said her mother. Urmila shrugged. She would just throw a tantrum and within some time they would let her watch her favourite tele-serial. Her parents started pleading with her and shouting at her. They did whatever they could to try and make Urmila work harder at studies. But for Urmila studies had become boring. “It is a common phase among school going children,” the parents declared, throwing up their hands. But for something so common it was surprising there was no cure.”Mr Shetty too was complaining about his son”, exclaimed Urmila”s father. “But he doesn’t have an answer to this problem either.”
There was a time when Urmila used to love going to school. School was where her friends were. She loved to play with her friends while waiting for her dad to pick her up. Now she hated going to school because nobody played with her after school. Everyone had extra tuition. She used to sit sadly near the gate waiting for her dad. Where once she used to make her dad wait for her, she now requested him to come early. “Why do you come late dad,” she cried. “If you cannot come in time let me come with the school bus.”
What could be the reason for the change?
Although Urmila’s parents noticed the change in her attitude they did not notice the change in her environment. She had to study more subjects now than she had to earlier. There were more things to remember. Teachers did not explain the lessons at school and tuition teachers were interested in completing homework and giving more practice. Urmila’s chirpy spirit was being killed. Her parents too reminded her she was growing. She had to be responsible. She tried to help around the house, but that was not enough. Responsibility meant getting more marks than the neighbors’ son or daughter. Will it be a surprise if she fails in standard 9? If that happened the school would simply hand her a leaving certificate because the school doesn’t want to spoil it’s average. Schools really don’t care. They have enough students to take care of and showcase as example of good teaching. Even if they are doing a bad job of it.
The solution to disinterested children
One of the Issues and Challenges in Indian Education System is that Schools do not want to change the way they approach subjects. We have to change the way we approach subjects. Most of history is important to the one who is interested in it. It is a subject that had been much politicised anyway. What if we have history for information only. In fact, it is information and not something that needs to be learned. It could just be a period that shows history in audio visual format. No questions or exams should be required unless it was a small objective test or maybe what the students learned from history – as they say those who don’t learn from history tend to repeat it. Similarly, math is a vast subject. Why not teach basic math till the 7th standard. Standard 7 should be a standardized board exam. Till then students should learn to read, write and talk languages. Do basic math, know basic science and know some information from geography, civics, history, economics and even home science. Enough to help students to tackle most careers. For example trigonometry or geometry is not going to help a student who will decide to take up a career in finance or journalism.
But what about engineering?
To tackle this problem students should be given psychometric tests and counseling so that they can choose their future occupations. Once they have chosen they can jump right into the kind of studies that will help to be good at what they want to become. One of the Issues and Challenges in Indian Education System is that no choice in learning is given to the students who don’t want to study certain subjects. So students who need trigonometry can opt for it and students who need chemistry can opt for that subject. Keeping a buffer for students who cannot decide or who think they have chosen wrong we should have an open system of studies so that they can join whenever they realize their calling.
Sports and Dance as Subjects
Today we have schools that have academics. These schools have physical education periods to offer holistic growth of children. Why can’t we have sports schools that have academics or maybe dance or drama schools that also teach academics. So after std 7 children go to a school with their respective callings and still go on learning new and better things they would love to learn.
Remember Steve Jobs dropped out from his regular studies and attended calligraphy, something that had nothing to do with computers. Yet it helped him to make an important decision about his operating system – that it will have good fonts.
Education should be encouraged at every stage and age and no one should feel that he or she is too late to learn anything. At the same time education is for learning and becoming wiser in our choices. Students should not be forced learn things they might never use.
Indian education system problems
The Indian education system problems have increased in the past many years and there is a need to revamp the system completely. Almost everybody knows that. So the question is why doesn’t anybody do something about it?
Who are the Stake Holders in Education ?
Students do not gain anything from their years in school. It is like 10 precious years of school thrown away in hope that one day the child will learn something. In the meanwhile there are businesses that benefit from this neglect. Private tuition classes are the obvious culprits who actually help children pass. Work that should have been done by the schools. When will the stake holders be responsible to dictate what should be in the curriculum rather than politicians and bureaucrats who have their own agenda.
Who decides what we learn?
Why should every state have a say in the syllabus rather than people who it is supposed to help. The syllabus should be decided by industry people who need young talent to be competent on the global level. The syllabus should be decided by parents who would like to have a say in what their child should be learning. And of course most important the syllabus should be decided by the students who have to study and go on to take up a career in their chosen field.
Do the children have a say?
Ask the children? What do they know. Yet the decision to allow children to the next class was supposed to be a child friendly decision. What good did that do? Children need to learn some basics while they are growing up. These basics should be taught to them in the first few years of school. Basic math, languages, science that would help them in life. All other agendas should be put aside. Up till a certain age the basics should be made strong and then the studies that will help in future career should click in.
The much awaited results
Exams should then be easy to give. Whenever the student wants according to his pace. The authorities are so rushed to make children skilled labour that they are not concerned about the mental and physical health of students. What we need is a young person who had decision making abilities and who is sure footed about his choices and not whimpering puppies who take up whatever is offered or get waylaid by the side.
Our Education System Needs a Revamp
The education system needs a revamp. Almost everybody knows that. So the question is why doesn’t anybody do something about it? Students do not gain anything from their years in school. It is like 10 precious years of school thrown away in hope that one day the child will learn something. In the meanwhile there are businesses that benefit from this neglect. Private tuition classes are the obvious culprits who actually help children pass. Work that should have been done by the schools.
When will the stake holders be responsible to dictate what should be in the curriculum rather than politicians and bureaucrates who have their own agenda. Why should every state have a say in the syllabus rather than people who it is supposed to help. The syllabus should be decided by industry people who need young talent to be competent on the global level. The syllabus should be decided by parents who would like to have a say in what their child should be learning. And of course most important the syllabus should be decided by the students who have to study and go on to take up a career in their chosen field.
Ask the children? What do they know. Yet the decision to allow children to the next class was supposed to be a child friendly decision. Gary good that did. Children need to learn some basics while they are growing up. These basics should be taught to them in the first few years of school. Basic math, languages, science that would help them in life. All other agendas should be put aside. Up till a certain age the basics should be made strong and then the studies that will help in future career should click in. Exams should then be easy to give. Whenever the student wants according to his pace.
The authorities are so rushed to make children skilled labour that they are not concerned about the mental and physical health of students. What we need is a young person who had decision making abilities and who is sure footed about his choices and not whimpering puppies who take up whatever is offered or get waylaid by the side.
Current Scenario of Education in Modern India
They say a chain is as strong as the weakest link. Similarly, schools are as strong as their teachers. Even the best teachers are struggling to finish their syllabus. they are teaching students obedience, discipline, and to do what they’ve been asked to do. These qualities are useful also. Patience is a virtue and students are learning that by sitting in uninteresting classrooms waiting for the bell to ring.
Teachers are giving away information on the board every day in which they have become masters. Behind them are 3 students who are paying attention while the rest of the class is busy in various activities including finding out who can make the best paper rockets, a chalk throwing match, passing chits to people in the furthest corners of the class etc. Fortunately, if the teacher doesn’t find out about the commotion behind her back then she will give a brief explanation and homework. Unfortunately, if she finds out and it makes her angry then the students will have to learn the lesson themselves and do the homework. Either ways there is no time to make sure all in the class have understood what was being taught.
So there are students who have mastered the art of learning from the board and acing tests. These are the students who stand first in class and these students are the favorites of the teachers. The other students succeed in various degrees. Most of them will never talk to teachers throughout their school life. They will believe they are mediocre. Their belief will become stronger because sometimes teachers will make them the subject of their jokes.
Read: Teach Your Child How to Achieve Success in Life
It’s only recently that schools started increasing sports activities and physical activities and there is a continuous teacher improvement programme. Schools, if you’ve noticed have taken over a project based curriculum. That’s because there is a demand for experiential learning. Unfortunately, in the name of experiential learning we have projects and videos. Both are good, but is video good for concept understanding. And everyone knows who is doing those projects. Parents usually do the complete project assignment for their children because they don’t want to lose marks.
The Assessment Scam
Teachers are awarding marks and prizes to children acing assessments.
The assessments don’t allow you to be different. Although many schools claim to be focusing on understanding, students are still complaining that marks are cut when answers are not given according to a preset format. And I am talking about answers that are correct. What about questions that are open ended and can be different with different students. You know what? Nobody is asking them!
However, let me remind here that all is not gloomy for the students we call back benchers. Some of them will become powerful entrepreneurs. How is that possible you ask.
This is one more way the system doesn’t allow you to grow. Why is that most success stories you hear are of people who either did not get education or dropped out? That is because those stories are fascinating. Nobody wants to know about stories where the protagonist studied a lot for good grades and carved out success for himself. These guys are all around you.
Even today when it comes to studies, parents will ground students by stopping games. Physical and virtual.
Today’s school curriculum has added physical activities and project based learning but schools are implementing them only to fulfill obligations not because they believe it’s true.
Is it possible for us as parents to forget marks and let the children learn on their own? Let them finish the projects, give them time to learn on their own?
The Demographic Advantage and our Education System
The much touted Indian Demographic Advantage has been languishing and trying to find its way to a better life. Unfortunately, the powers that be haven’t been able to provide the jobs they had promised and the parents have their own ideas regarding their children’s careers. The question now is not how many hands we have on deck but that if we have a deck that can accommodate the hands that we have or will it capsize the ship before we learn to take advantage of our talents. Right now it is every man for himself.
The matriculation and higher secondary exam results are rolling out and it has been quite some time that I have been wondering about the demographic advantage or should I say the lack of India’s youth. In the recent years we have gone from talking about the advantage of being the youngest country to the demographic bomb and demographic catastrophe. I for one had a lot of hopes with the youth of India. I still have, but it seems that we are adamant at wasting away this advantage. The biggest drawback I believe, as a person interested in the education sector is how to improve our education system. That I think is the root of the problem. Why do we have a fair amount of educated people who are unemployable? I started by looking at facts and figures about students and dropouts. I studied our whopping education budget and money that is donated by our industrialist-philanthropists, money coming from abroad, which by the way has doubled in the past few years according to a report. I also went through the statistics about children studying in private schools and the majority of children in public schools. That is a vast topic by itself.
So I think I would tackle it in parts rather than the whole. Pointing out the problems seems much easier. However, if we don’t look at the problems we cannot talk about the solutions. Personally I do it for my own learning.
The rat race
We in India have mastered the art of rat race. We have applied that in the education sector too. Most of us are not interested in what our wards are doing and what they would like to do, but how they are doing in comparison to the neighbor’s kid. While they are small we do like to exhibit their singing and dancing skills to all our relatives and friends, but when the time comes to notice their skills seriously we ignore them and become strict disciplinarians who want children to study hard. The only concession we allow them is TV b breaks because that’s what we want to do after a long hard day at work.
While a lot of parents are opening their eyes to alternative careers in sports and music, we are still narrow-minded about our engineers and doctors. However, in our zeal to see children succeed, we either overlook our child’s education or make them overwork to get through the exams somehow, since we believe we have found their calling.
Finding their own path
We must allow our children to find their own path and walk on it at their own pace. I remember earlier generations used to be pushed into a career by getting them married. ‘Once he has responsibility he will start earning’ it was said. People have become a lot more independent, but the mentality remains. We as parents still believe in coxing and nudging our children into fields that we think are lucrative and high earning. Some jobs have changed the game thankfully. That neighborhood kid we thought was going to become a junkie and waste his life has suddenly bought a new car. He is now a Software Engineer. That other kid who used to be wasting his parents’ money and party all the time has bought a new flat. He became an Event Manager. Parents do not have any idea where to push their child. They still search for a suitable career though. What they fail to understand is that the answer is not outside, but within. A child’s talent whatever it could be can be nurtured. In one of my lectures I was asking students what they believed their talents were and what they would like to become. One of them answered that he loved to sleep all the time. Now that is a talent. I am sure that there is a job for him out there somewhere. Sleepwell?