We get to hear more Cons than Pros about the Indian Education system by Indians themselves. This is probably because in most cases people like to criticize and look for faults rather than appreciate  anything positive. However an impartial analysis of any subject is always good since it makes us think and it is only when we think and analyse that we are able to change and improvise any system and let it grow. This is true of our education system as well, which is probably one of the most voluminous systems in the world. It also goes without saying that quantity necessarily does not mean quality . But with all the adversities present in our society , Indian education is still one of the most competent systems in the world.

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Looking Back

To go back in history , Indian education started with the concept of Guru Kula where the students , almost all of them coming from Brahmin and Rajput families stayed with the Guru ( Teacher) and his family living a frugal life until their education was complete. Guru was highly respected often giving advice on matters of the state to those of his students coming from Royal families and later taking on the responsibility of ruling the kingdom. There was a lot of prestige attached to the system except the fact that education was not available to all because caste factors dominated life during those periods.

But with time and western influences in the form of the Portuguese and the British education took on a different look altogether. Western education was unbiased and available to all regardless of caste ,creed and class. The spread of western education is one of the greatest gifts that we received from foreign rule. By the time India became independent education was widespread and people had realised the importance of education which gave them status and the power to earn and be independent.

Education in the Indian context

When we speak about Education, in the Indian context all that comes to one's mind is a class room , teachers and the ultimate goal of attaining a degree. This is the drawback that makes our system lacking and incomplete. Unless Education facilitates not only learning and acquiring knowledge but also includes developing one's skills, values and personal development , a student will not be fully equipped to make a mark or become an independent thinker which quality is equally important.

The system of education in India started out with a lot of ambition. Many Indians went abroad to study law and other competitive courses during the British rule. It was through the dedicated effort of some progressive minds of that time that education began to evolve here . However, once we got our Independence things began to change. The government schools in the initial years were considered the best option for everyone except a very few who could afford to gain entry and study at the prestigious private schools started and nurtured by the British

 Coming back to the present  we have the government run schools and colleges, most of which suffer due to the negligent attitude of the concerned authorities. However the Higher level professional colleges ,IITs and IIMs are run very well. In fact many of the professional colleges attract foreign students who find it cheaper to study here without compromising o the quality.

Some of the major drawbacks in our education system

1, Most of the educated old timers of the forties, fifties and even sixties studied in government schools and colleges and one can see the dedication and the all round knowledge that they received. Even with a Pre-university or a bachelors degree they rose to very high positions in their career and managed to leave a mark.  It could be because of the smaller numbers combined with the initial enthusiasm that is normally there. But over a period of time, all though education became widespread, the value and quality began to take a back seat.

2, The growth became lop sided with our politicians realising an opportunity to make education into a business venture. So, now we find a clutter of Professional colleges all over the country filled to 50% capacity. Last year more than 2 lakh seats across the country were lying vacant in Engineering colleges alone. When I say lop sided , I refer to the total neglect at the pre school, primary and secondary levels of education which has hardly seen any kind of push except in some private and International schools. Unless students are given a solid all round foundation in the early years it is not possible to achieve much. In the early years after Independence the push was for an all round education where extra curricular activities, sporting activities and hobbies were given equal importance.

3, The standard of government schools have steadily deteriorated , in spite of the fact that more than 85% of the students still study at government run schools. I have seen many government schools close down because there are no teachers willing to go to remote areas due to lack of facilities. Unless this basic need is taken care of , there will be very little development made in the education system as a whole. If we hear or come across some achievers coming from remote areas, we have to appreciate the individual effort that has gone into it by the student, parents and the teacher but not by the education department which has failed so far to provide the basic needs.

4,The major problem with our system of education is a lack of vision and lack of commitment  by the concerned authorities , who are able to bring in the much needed change in the system. We see Education portfolio is more a political circus where just about anybody, depending on their proximity to the top leaders are given the post. Instead if it is given to a minister who is educated and has worked in the educational field for sometime, we may see some far reaching changes. There must be several bodies set up to monitor the system consisting of highly educated and brilliant minds that our nation has produced in spite of many lapses. But do they have the freedom to bring about any positive changes ?

5, It is also a fact that our political system is at the root of all the problems that the education system faces today. There is no minimum educational qualifications laid down for contesting an election where caste, minority issues and sycophancy play a major role. After winning the election one among the candidate who has won will be given a portfolio and if a well- educated person is given the ministry of education, we must consider ourselves lucky.. When such is the case it is not possible to expect any kind of improvement in the near future although some small measures are being taken from time to time.

Conclusion

No system is perfect anywhere in the world , one can only strive harder to make it better. However,  positive changes are  happening the world over at a much faster pace than in India. We are still at the basics stage where infra structure itself is not up to the mark. So, we cannot even compare our basic school education system to any of the developed countries. Some halfhearted initiatives are taken by the respective states more to garner votes rather than improve the system. Free food and free education for lower castes and scheduled caste is one such measure. It may help to some extent in drawing crowds but is that enough ? In fact such a measure can backfire in the long run since it also teaches the youngsters to expect doles and freebies forever which definitely is not contributory to the society.

To conclude, with all the above points where I have highlighted the negative points in our educational system , it is still considered almost at par with other advanced systems of the western countries. In fact there are many students who have studied in governments schools with very basic amenities but were able to do brilliantly well, with regard to their academics and career . This may be because they realise that unless they work hard they will not get much help from the system, so they tend to go all out to achieve their goals. The very fact that in the United Kingdom the National Health service has more than 40% Indian doctors and the US is filled with our IT Engineers who have studied in India goes to show that Indian students have the potential to compete with any society and its needs around the world.

(image - wikipedia)


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