Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Well, the short answer is No. And the long answer is Noooooo.
What is Education anyway? A google search will lead you to Wikipedia stating -
Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.
Now, we are failing in providing most of these. In a big freaking way. And are we even realizing that?
Let’s start with the Schooling of a kid here.
Primary School Education (till lower grades like 6th)
It’s not about learning anymore. I don’t know if it was earlier, but it surely isn’t now. Let’s take a look at how our schooling system starts.
We start from Pre Nursery. Then Nursery, Lower Kindergarten, Upper Kindergarten, and then 1st grade. I started from UKG. The lower classes feel useless to me. There’s nothing there. These below classes are just because parents don’t want to spend time with their children, they are ‘burden’. And people are always up for money, so we have these lower classes introduced by private schools. And it’s bullshit. Parents might think that their children are studying there. No. You are just overloading that kid. That 2 or 3 years old is not meant to carry those loads on the back. And he/she is definitely not learning. That Lil kid is meant to enjoy those years. Let them play at home. Homeschool them a little bit. I mean teaching A-B-C-D, 1-2-3-4, or क ख ग isn’t hard. And if kids are that much burden to you, don’t have them.
I don’t remember much of my primary school education, but I am seeing my brother advancing the lower classes. And I feel that kids are being overloaded for their age. The chapters they have in Hindi-English, no values are being taught. Just forced to write and learn those scripted answers. The kid is not deriving any sense from what, he's being taught which straightaway defeats the only purpose of education. I seriously don’t know why teachers feel the need of making a two-line answer, double. Is he being taught how to frame an answer? No. Was he/she taught what’s the conclusion of what he/she read? And the Grammar that is being taught is just way too much. Tenses in 5th class, sentence changes! Seriously. Sandhi Vichhed in Hindi in 6th, of a level that often teachers attempt them wrong. We study these things till 10th, why is there a need to teach them in such lower classes.
Was he taught sentence formation in English? No. Was he taught basic English sentences to be used in daily life? Was he taught anything at all? Things are just written on the blackboard, and they are asked to copy that. And given homework to write and learn. By using the word 'learn', I mean cram and reproduce in front of the teacher whenever asked. Kids are supposed to solve word problems in math. Can they? without understanding what’s written. Teachers just do one question in class, then ask to do others at home. How can they! They are not at the level. I am not saying that give kids everything. No, teach them how to do. Then let them think. But they are not being taught and asked to solve. Did he learn anything? No. He/she will remember for a couple of days, then again during the exam. Then it’s over.
If students aren’t able to get what they are taught, then I think it’s time to evaluate how we are teaching, what we are teaching. These are the condition of private schools, damn if I begin to write about State-Run Govt Schools.
Middle & High School Education (till 12th)
As we march to higher classes, students are pressurized for 10th & 12th boards. To the level that it causes depression. Scoring in boards is everything, life ends if not scored above 90. Marks, marks, marks & marks. The Indian education system revolves around this. We are taught Physics, Chemistry, Bio & Math. But we are never taught problem-solving. No focus on clearing the concepts There’s that question, there’s this method to do it. That’s all. Students are not allowed to think. There’s no focus on problem-solving. Do you have a different method than the teacher told you? How so ever it may be right, but that’s not in the book & is the one teacher is not used to, you can’t do with that. "Beta method to sahi hai, but book me nahi hai."
Remember those questions starting with 'What do you think', 'What’s Your view' & such types? Well, we weren’t really allowed to express our views. Students aren’t even allowed to think about that (Not true for all teachers though).
Education is 100% theoretical and bookish. Nothing practical. Because what matters at the end is marks. That’s the sole purpose. Practicals in Science? Amm yeah, but the practicals are not so practical and useful. Aims of practicals are that in 11-12th, 25 marks are to be given on basis of the practical file. So that’s it. Because, "Baaki cheejen to aap college me ja ke sikhoge".
I always thought about why students face problems in grasping the concepts. Now I know why, because it’s all bookish not including an ounce of practicality.
Everything is marks, the focus is marks, life is marks. There’s nothing outside that. Don’t try enjoying and living life with friends, if you want to get those ‘marks’.
Schools really don’t teach how to live life. They try to make it so easy. Score in 10th, life is all set. Just score in 12th, life will be all set. No, its fkin not. Let me tell you, if any of the school-goer is reading this, 10th marksheet is just to finalize your DOB throughout your life. 12th is just to get you in a "not job providing" college. Forget about the Engineering and Medical ones. They require an entrance test, for which 95% of schools don't prepare you.
So at end of school –
Did you acquire any knowledge? Yes, bookish.
Did you acquire any skills? Apart from writing answers and making PPTs, No.
Did you acquire any values? Maybe some, that too on your own.
After school comes college. Science students have craze of IIT & NEET. Coachings are killing IITs dreams. Yes. IIT too requires you to have marks in 12th and then in 2 entrance exams. Coachings are killing the students capacity to think. What they are teaching? They are teaching you short cuts to solve a certain type of question. So the students who are good at these are going into IITs, the ones who think to solve a problem are not(obviously can’t say about 100% of the students). Since I am not in IIT/NIT, I can’t say what happens there and how. Let's come to other colleges.
What are colleges teaching? They are teaching you how to do your job 9 to 5. Seriously, two years into college and I can say that neither I nor anyone I knew has learnt a thing. Here you do your assignments & write practical files. That’s not the problem. Problem is that we are not made to think in assignments. Assignments are not problem-solving. They are page filling assignments. More the pages, more are the marks. Same I can say about the exams. Pick up and cram the last 4-5 years of question paper and you will get a 10 grade. Practicals are just because it’s necessary to do 8 out of 10 given. And they decide your 50 marks.
Teaching is the same here. Cram for the semester exam. No problem solving taught. No reasoning, no fundamentals.
No skills are learned, no knowledge is gained.
Indians work in tech companies in the west, shows that they know how to do stuff. But when was the last time we had an Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Larry Elison, Jeff Bezos? Indians may be CEO in companies there, but they didn’t build them. And they are not the CEOs in India. They are there in foreign. So stop being happy and celebrating that an Indian born is this and that, there.
How many of our local products compete on an international basis? Why aren’t we engineering competitive things?
Why is that? Because there is almost 0 innovation, 0 entrepreneurship in our education.
Not saying, that nothing is happening. There are certainly some great companies here too. But look at wide-angle, we are behind. We say Indians are good in Maths and Science, where is that being implemented?
Who Should We Blame?
Let's try blaming teachers & schools
When we say Private schools are better than Govt Schools, we meant to say that private ones are better in helping you cram. Because the teacher’s job is private, and if his students aren’t getting ‘marks’, then he/she might be sacked. For the govt ones, because their job is govt, he/she can’t be sacked, marks or no marks (talking about state-owned schools here).
We don’t have motivated teachers (obviously there are very few). They don’t want to teach. They don’t love their job. They are there to earn money. And when you don’t love your job, you surely aren’t going to do it with enthusiasm. Trust me, those who love their job, they teach really well (I know a few).
And private schools don’t hire many great teachers. Because that requires you to pay & why will they pay more when they can get someone else in a few bucks. I seriously don’t remember how many times my dad & mom have corrected the Grammar of my Hindi teachers, from starting to end. Other subject teachers must have taught the wrong things at the same time, but my parents aren’t experts in others.
Do you know how teaching is done in India? The teacher will come already exhausted in class, pick a book, read the thing, explain(by explaining I mean convert English into Hindi) a bit. The chapter is covered. Do the Q/A, now on to the next one. Learn and write Chapter No.- n. For math Do Ex- m.n.
(This certainly isn’t an attack on teachers, I had some good teachers in early schooling and also in higher classes).
Let’s try blaming on students
Yeah, obviously students (talking higher classes) aren't interested in learning too. Many are just there because where else they can be. Others lose interest because there’s nothing that can keep the interest. Everything is just focused on obtaining marks.
Let’s blame the system
So the system needs your marks for the job. What else is the criteria to select when lakhs fill forms for just a few hundred positions. The system surely can’t afford to check your skills.
So blame the population? I guess so. Our population is the root cause of many problems. So the population might be the cause of this too. Not sure.
Real talent dies in the crowd and our system(& parents) doesn’t allow the exceptional ones to try something new.
What should happen?
Education should focus more on learning. Practical learning. Science should be practical. Things should be in a way that forces a student to think. To solve the problem. Find a way out of it. Innovate.
And scrap these nationwide exams. It shouldn’t matter if the syllabus is complete or not. Take exams on the basis of how much they have been taught. Just make sure that that teaching should be real, practical. It should force one to think and innovate. Should be allowed to live life.
I mean what things taught in school/college, am I using in daily life. Skills should be taught. Do I know how to fix a PC? How’s the car/bike at home working? How to fix the stuff? How to file the damn taxes? How to invest? We really need to introduce some skill-based classes.
Education should be a fun way of learning, not a boring way of fighting for marks.
But guess it’s too much for us! It would require a monumental change. Not impossible, but who will take the initiative?
Given current schooling systems, best schools are JNVs (Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas) & KV (Kendriya Vidyalayas). But that’s a thing for another blog someday. I just wish I had studied in JNV when I had the chance (but then wouldn’t have met Nishant, nor this blog).
Amid the pandemic situation, Various Education portals have been started by the MHRD which provides great skilled courses. GO make use of them, learn new and needful things. Some of the education portals can be accessed here:
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