India is indeed a country brimming with contradictions. We are dealing with illiteracy on one hand and have been rated as a land of intellectuals on the other.
The statistics that reveal the number of school dropouts is overwhelming but there is also another survey that shows that vast numbers of graduates and post graduates are pursuing higher studies in more numbers than ever before.
The rural and urban divide has not changed much with respect to education with an instance of exception here and there. While cities house schools in almost every street their country cousins have “ekopadhyay” schools where one teacher is in charge of anywhere between three to seven classes at any given point of time.
The BSc and BA courses in several leading colleges are seriously considering closure while a whole range of management and engineering colleges are sprouting like mushrooms all over the place. While some universities are considering downsizing as a result of a sharp dip in the number of admissions in under graduate courses that there are others, which are bursting at their seams with an unrealistic number of colleges under their wings and humongous workload to deal with.
Despite the fact that there is infinite number of dualities in the education scenario, there is no doubt about the fact that it has the maximum number of takers in our country as we Indians as a race value education as an asset.
It is high time that we answer a few pertinent questions regarding the relevance and the value of education beyond the superficial levels. Does conventional education deal only with learning languages, mathematical skills and the essence of general and social sciences or are we expected to go beyond and link the learning with the life around us? Most educated people in our country will vouch for the fact that many a time classroom learning has little or nothing to do with the job scenario.
While our system teaches us to pass examinations and learn by rote it does little to test our knowledge or help us to apply our knowledge practically. The major drawback in the system is the syllabus, for the syllabus does not train students as per the requirements of the industry.
This happens to be the uniform opinion of the teaching faculty who are finding it extremely challenging to teach outdated syllabus especially in subjects like electronics and computer science which is undergoing changes almost on a daily basis. Overcrowded classrooms, untrained teaching staff, ill-equipped educational institutions, vast and sometimes irrelevant syllabi and time constraints have been cited as the main culprits in the issue regardless of the level of education.
Apart from the practical setbacks our education system has also taken a backseat with regard to the value added education. Story telling, moral science classes, games and arts and crafts classes aimed at bringing out the latent talent in the child besides introducing the student to different dimensions of learning and disciplines have been relegated to a corner. Though every school worth its salt has included a decent amount of time for the abovementioned activities almost all the institutions give up conducting these classes as the academic year progresses as they happen to be running out of time to “complete their portions.”
Well the situation is no different at the college level. Bangalore University has introduced subjects like environmental studies, computer applications and Constitution of India for undergraduate courses at various levels in all streams to sensitise students on these subjects as a part and parcel of the value added educational scheme with the best of intentions. Apparently the subjects have to be merely cleared during the examination while the marks they carry have no academic relevance.
In such circumstances, it is perceptible that the education system neither galvanizes the student in their chosen subjects nor gives them any value addition for umpteen numbers of reasons that vary from institution to institution. It is time for us to pull up our socks and plug the hole in our education system or even revamp wherever necessary so that we can equip the future generation with not only a sound education but a sounder value system.