‘Education is a gem in prosperity and a refuge in adversity’. But I have always been wondering why. What is this potential that education has that makes us run after it?
Education, pretty similar to success, is a journey. It however is a steady journey. The objective of this journey is to open up one’s mind to various fields or sciences of life. Education is not only limited to opening up one’s mind but is also instrumental in conveying to you the basics of every field. This process of getting to know the fields helps person in realizing his inner calling.
Formal education is a primitive stage of the entire learning process in a person’s life. The completion of this process is extremely essential to develop one’s character. It also plays a vital role in imparting the necessary survival skills to a person.
But what happens if one is deprived of education??
The answer is very simple. An uneducated person is a liability to the society. An uneducated person does not use his full potential. The person starts living life on the basis of some pseudo ideas. These pseudo ideas sometimes prevent him from achieving things he has really worked hard for. The person unknowingly wastes all the tremendous talent in himself or herself. Just as a rocket full of energy is not useful until it is controlled and guided in the appropriate way a person with no education won’t be able to channelize himself or herself appropriately.
Good Education is the sole creator of good future citizens. Good education does not necessarily mean formal education.
Good education makes a person aware of a lot of things. It helps a person in knowing how to dream big. Complete and wholesome education will prevent one from making mistakes our ancestors have made. The person gets a better view of the world. He or she collects valuable experiences, which will help him or her in tackling every situation well. The person in the process of attaining wholesome education realizes how the world works.
Character building is an important outcome of wholesome educations. A beautiful statue can be created out of a simple stone just by eliminating the unnecessary and unwanted material in the stone. It is also passed through some necessary pressure, heated to a certain degree to increase the finesse of the shape. Similar is the definition of Character Building to me. It basically performs the task of molding and disciplining you. The molding and disciplining once inculcated won’t vanish easily. It does not remain confined to education but to all walks of life.
A good and sound education has motivated millions to do well. Good education inculcated an irreverent attitude towards caste discrimination in Mr. Kailash Satyarthi. This very attitude kept him motivated in his initial struggle against caste discrimination. Later he freed 80,000 child laborers. So basically the outcome of good education is a mature citizen with his head and heart in the right place. An outcome of good education is the transformation of an average citizen into a big asset for the society.
In India school education begins at the age of four. A student spends 2 years in Kindergarten. Then begins the formal education. Grade 1 to grade 10 is the students school life. The student then completes 11th and 12th grades in a junior college. After grade 12 the student then moves on to a university for higher education. In India education till the age of 14 i.e. the 9th grade is compulsory. This education system is pretty neat in its framework but the approach towards education is totally wrong. Education is considered a tool to get a good job or an asset to give you enough money to survive upon. There are fundamental flaws in these concepts. Education must be treated as an asset, which prepares you for life and gives you the power and will to go through the ups and downs of life.
These flaws in concepts arise due to certain drawbacks in education system. Here I take the example of my state Maharashtra in India, to elaborate on the flaws.
CURRICULUM AND EXAMINATIONS
Today the curriculum focuses on too much of rote learning. The curriculum demands a student to master the technique of ‘rote learning’. No importance is given towards the understanding of concepts. There are no questions based on application. Creative thinking is smothered. The textbooks carry a lot of flaws. A student is not allowed to correct the flaw while writing his or her examination. The student is expected to remember the incorrect matter. All these defects have created an atmosphere in which examination technique is given more importance than the actual learning content.
While talking about the examination system flaws, I will use the grade 10 exam as a reference. The grade 10 examination is known as the ‘Board Examination’. It is the first common government exam all the students appear for. Hence it naturally carries massive importance. Special tutors have come up to help students master the examination technique. ‘Good handwriting plays a key part in getting you good marks’ is the main slogan of schools. Good handwriting is definitely a necessity. But the whole focus of an exam can never be on handwriting.
In grade 10 all the students appear for a common test conducted by the education board of the respective states. I spotted this problem in the exam conduction of the Maharashtra Board. Each subject carries 100 marks. Out of these 100 marks, schoolteachers allot 20 marks. There is no foolproof method to verify the authenticity of these marks. This gives immense power in the hands of the teacher. No doubt a teacher must have authority over a student but as they say ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’. The teachers thus have 20% of a student’s marks in their own hands. These marks are supposed to be given according to the completion of schoolwork, projects and other stuffs. But the students liked by the teachers end up getting more marks that they deserve. Deserving students who may not be teachers’ pets may not get their fair share of marks.
PROBLEMS FACED BY SCHOOLS
Schools face a big financial problem in recruiting good teachers. The teachers are not paid well at all. Instead all the money is diverted towards the expansion of the parent institute portfolio. In this financial game the students and teachers are at a big loss. Due to the poor working conditions the good teachers are never attracted to work with the schools. The good teachers receive lucrative amounts in the private sector. This also leads to the commercialization of education. The teachers who teach children at the school level are not passionate and motivated teachers. The aim of these teachers is to make whatever money the school offers. This leads to the creation of a situation wherein the teachers are not capable of teaching the students.
OVERCOOMING THE FLAWS
To overcome the drawbacks of the current education system I have an ideal education system in mind. This system will also have a 10+2 model. Children will attend school from grades 1 to 10 after which they will go to junior college. Importantly I will eliminate the system of reservation in education. I will help the deprived with financial grants, scholarships and many other things but I will never allow a student with backward class have preference over a student who has scored more marks than him.
CURRICULUM AND EXAMINATION
In this system I plan to have a complete subjective exam for all. No marks will be in the hands of any teacher. The exam will not contain any amount of rote learning. The exam will rigorously test the concepts of children. Though neat handwriting will be always encouraged, examination marks will not depend upon handwriting
But here we talk about the examination technique. We also need to set up an efficient coaching system to prepare the students for this competitive exam.
The basic need to train students well is good teachers. Good teacher acts as an amazing catalyst in a student’s success. The teacher helps the student in learning different methods to practice. A good teacher can have an indelible impact on a child’s character. I will ensure that teachers have good working conditions. I will recruit good teachers whose interest lies in teaching and not money.
SOLVING THE PROBLEMS COMMONLY FACED BY SCHOOLS
The second most important thing in a good education system is the availability of good infrastructure. By good infrastructure I do not mean highly techno-savvy schools. The infrastructure must satisfy the basic needs of the students. In this system, laboratories will have an amazingly high importance. Practically performing things rather than just reading about them will definitely be etched in a student’s mind. This will tremendously increase the concept understanding. Sports will also have a special place in the curriculum. The students will be persuaded to live a very healthy life. Sports talents will be encouraged to keep pursuing their respective sports.
SYSTEM LEVEL CHANGES
The most essential aspect to make a particular system successful is to completely eliminate corruption from the system. An extremely strict and foolproof method must be established in order to eliminate corruption and destroy it right in the bud. As the current scenario stands, a person who wants to make money enters the field of education. Private institutes literally rob people off money. Students are lured towards the supposedly lucrative professions of engineering and medicine. This false attraction keeps a child from what is truly at his heart. These private institutes have created an atmosphere in which people feel that engineering and medicine are the only good fields. The viral advertising by these institutes easily fools parents. Many a time parents dissuade their children from chasing their dreams but instead make them run after something that is not really their passion. Good schools will not even make the students run after these institutes. I am not against the establishment of private institutes. Good private institutes actually can help a student a lot. They actually can compliment schools well.
The road after the establishment of a new system is never easy. The road ahead will be definitely full of handwork. The creation of a new system with so many changes will be certainly offered some resistance. But as Mahatma Gandhi said, “ First they laugh at you, then they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win”.
The changes in the education system have the potential to shape the future of an entire generation. The road ahead will certainly be steep. Many problems may arise, right from financial problems to harassment by undesirable social elements. The owners of the big private institutes will also turn against us. But I believe in hard work for a good cause. This makes me feel confident that we will be able to turn the tide.
Once we are through this initial rough period, we can rest assured that the future of our nation rests in safe hands. No force however large will be able to stop our progress.