Does our Education system need a change? What areas we need changes?


Many State Boards have declared their Metric and secondary education results. Others will have it soon. ICSE and ISC and CBSE results will soon be out. In many schools the result will be fairly “good”. Many students will score above 90%. We know that some students will even get above 98% of marks. This makes us to think about the Indian education system, its merits and demerits. For an average student it is impossible to get into a prestigious college. The cut of marks will be 95% or 93 % in many of them! If the trend continues and the marks awarded reach all-time high every year in the two main boards of education in the country, it really raises a lot of questions in our minds.

Today the criterion of assessing the standard of the school is, to many, on the basis of the number of students who get into IITs and IIM’s! This gives a craze for parents to admit their wards in such schools where competition and intellectual development is possible. It is the trend and people tend to go with the new trend at the cost of individual talents and aptitudes!  Students now routinely score 90% marks so that even students with 90+ percentages find it difficult to get into the colleges of their choice; but still every year we do more of the same old stuff. Did all these change our system of imparting quality education to all? 

It is not that education in India was free from all problems. Education has been a problem in our country from ancient time onwards. The lack of education has been blamed for all sorts of evil for hundreds of years. Even S. Radhakrishnan wrote lengthy articles about how Indian education system needs to change.  There were many commissions after independence suggested ways and means for the improvement of universal education in our country. Kothari commission (1964-66) and later on National Education Policy (1886) have come out with radical recommendations to change the situation. We have established IITs, IIMs, law schools and other institutions of excellence as part of the new thinking for excellence. We cannot going on blaming the ‘colonial legacy’ after 6 decades of independence.

Rote learning still plagues our system, students study only to score marks in exams, and sometimes to crack exams like IIT, JEE, AIIMS, CAT or XAT. The colonial masters introduced education systems in India to create clerks and civil servants, and we have not deviated much from that pattern till today. If once the youngsters prepared en masse for civil services and bank officers exams, they now prepare to become engineers. If there are a few centers of educational excellence, for each of those there are thousands of mediocre and terrible schools, colleges and now even universities that do not meet even minimum standards. There are schools/ colleges exist only on record and they get permissions from the authorities while schools/colleges that have every facility are not recognized by the same authorities! If things have changed a little bit somewhere, elsewhere things have sunk into further inertia, corruption and lack of ambition.

Creating a few more schools or allowing hundreds of colleges and private universities to mushroom is not going to solve the crisis of education in India. Deliberately creating a bad image for the government schools or allowing them without any required facilities to keep away even the poor who have no other option etc. are only damaging Indian education. In our country, millions of students are victim of an unrealistic, pointless, mindless rat race. The mind numbing competition and rote learning do not only crush the creativity and originality of millions of Indian students every year; it also drives brilliant students to the verge of committing suicide.

 We also live in a country where people see education as a means of upward social mobility. If the education system is failing – then it is certainly not due to lack of demand for good education, or because a market for education does not exist. Very often we see educated people remain like the metamorphosed rat as a cat and then a dog…. but still have the heart of a rat! We are highly qualified yet remain the same old with an unchanged mental attitude!!

Our education system is geared towards teaching and testing knowledge at every level as opposed to teaching skills. “Give a man a fish and you feed him one day, teach him how to catch fishes and you feed him for a lifetime.”  I believe that if you teach a man a skill, you enable him for a lifetime. Knowledge is largely forgotten after the semester exam is over. Still, year after year Indian students focus on cramming information. The best crammers are rewarded by the system. This is one of the fundamental flaws of our education system. Our education system rarely rewards what deserves highest academic accolades. Deviance is discouraged. Risk taking is mocked. Our testing and marking systems need to be built to recognize original contributions, in form of creativity, problem solving, valuable original research and innovation. If we could do this successfully Indian education system would have changed overnight. Memorising is no learning; the biggest flaw in our education system is perhaps that it places memorizing above originality.

We need good teachers to teach in our schools, who are ready to teach our rural children too. They must be paid well, of course, however they must have an aptitude and commitment to education. Unfortunately, thousands of terrible teachers are wasting valuable time of young children every day all over India. As Amir Khan visualizes we need a breed of superstar teachers. Teaching must be the most vying profession our talented youth looking for.

Our education system is still a colonial education system geared towards generating babus and pen-pushers under the newly acquired skin of modernity. We may claim to have the most number of engineering graduates in the world, but that certainly has not translated into much technological innovation here. We make tall claims with not much substance. The goal of our new education system should be to create entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, scientists, thinkers, philosophers, philanthropists, and writers who can establish the foundation of knowledge based economy rather than the low-quality service provider nation that we are turning into.

Our education system today encourages mediocrity – in students, in teachers, throughout the system. It is easy to survive as a mediocre student, or a mediocre teacher in an educational institution. No one shuts down a mediocre college or mediocre school. Hard work is always tough; the path to excellence is fraught with difficulties. Mediocrity is comfortable. Our education system will remain sub-par or mediocre until we make it clear that it is not ok to be mediocre. If we want excellence, mediocrity cannot be tolerated. Mediocrity has to be discarded as an option.

Indian education system needs change. Education system in India is failing because of more inherent reasons. There are systemic faults that do not let our demand for good education with excellent education services.  Teachers are the best persons who can change it for better. If only we have committed, dedicated, visionary teachers to teach in our schools, and such smart educationists to frame policies for our future I think there will be long lasting changes possible. Let us hope for a better system and work for making it a reality for the future of our people.