If the purpose for learning is to score well on a test, we’ve lost sight of the real reason for learning.
– Jeannie Fulbright
Education is the form of learning that directs each individual to pursue his interests, to sharpen his skills, to become comfortably employable. The ultimate effects of education may vary from teaching others to take the nation forward to creating world class technologies depending on the individuals. It is different from being literate which is simply defined as being able to ‘read, write and speak. Education system on India in the olden days of Takshila and Nalanda Universities relied on creativity and was famous in the whole world for it. It was the scope for creativity that education provided that fulfilled it’s purpose of developing the society in totality. There is no point of educating an individual without having an effect, directly or indirectly, on the society.
Presently, the Indian Education System is in fiasco, mostly owing to shoddy politics. It now focuses on rewarding rote learning sans understanding, penalising those who question, suppressing free thought and pigeon-holing clueless kids into “streams” and yet manages to combine the corruption and ineptitude of the public services with the greed of the private. Did I forget to mention the abysmally low salaries for teachers and the utter incapability of society to deal with failure?
The entire ranking list of toppers is an unapologetic hierarchy of rote learning, where we’re never ashamed of showcasing the performance of disability. The day since rote learning has replaced knowledge as a standardized way of judgement, it has become more of fierce, dark competition, where children chase absolutely nothing. Celebrating success of this kind was meant to be an all-round personal achievement and not a standard system a failed competition in education. Succeeding in a hollow system like the one that prevails now, is even more worse than not gathering enough knowledge and failing a number of times.
The system is so sick that it has become an antithesis of the pleasure in knowledge acquirement and freedom. With such imprudent exaltation of so called toppers furthermore makes the entire failed system even more worse and disheartening to the not so called toppers, rather the victims of a still failed system. The entire definition of “excellence” is being misjudged. Perfection is unattainable, and in this case, is a complete trick of misjudgement.
Education system was meant to come out with a strategy that would scrap discrimination and not jeopardize the learning process. Authorities shouldn’t teach us displeasing habits of grading every human being out there by a completely wrong system, rather they should join hands to cultivate a sense of morality, joy of learning in every individual and aim towards an all-round development of a human being than pushing towards the death end of a cliff with all sort of cursed strategies.
The ongoing pandemic only magnified the shortcomings of the education system.
The structure of schooling and learning, including teaching and assessment methodologies, was the first to be affected by these closures. Only a handful of private schools could adopt online teaching methods. Their low-income private and government school counterparts, on the other hand, have completely shut down for not having access to e-learning solutions. The students, in addition to the missed opportunities for learning, no longer have access to healthy meals during this time and are subject to economic and social stress.
The pandemic has significantly disrupted the higher education sector as well, which is a critical determinant of a country’s economic future. A large number of Indian students—second only to China—enrol in universities abroad, especially in countries worst affected by the pandemic, the US, UK, Australia and China. Many such students have now been barred from leaving these countries. If the situation persists, in the long run, a decline in the demand for international higher education is expected.
Parents, students, and employers must demand that our institutions deliver real capability and not empty certificates. Let us stamp our vote to those leaders who can make this happen. Let us not keep quiet till we get what we deserve. But with the right to raise our voices comes the responsibility to stay invested. Media must capture this moment and ensure that those in power heed this call. It must hold them accountable for action.
It is our children’s future, not our ancestor’s pride, that deserves our outrage first.
Only then can we begin to unleash the potential of our 100 million young minds.