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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Role of education in Modern Times

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela

“Destroying any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or the use of long range missiles. … It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by students.” … Patients die at the hands of such doctors; buildings collapse at the hands of such engineers. Money is lost at the hands such economists and accountants. Humanity dies at the hands of such religious scholars. Justice is lost at the hands of such judges. The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation.  (At the entrance gate of the University of South Africa).

‘Education is not the learning, but the training of mind to think’. Albert Einstein

“The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Toffler

Introduction

Nelson Mandela has stated “Education is the great engine of personal development” …. “It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” Through Education a person acquires knowledge, experience, skill and sound attitude. It makes an individual civilized, refined, cultured and educated. Not only individuals, through education the whole society  can become civilized.

Education is a key to success in life. It facilitates learning. It helps people to understand the world around them. It develops power of reasoning, and judgement. It is meant to inculcate positive thinking, ethical values and shape attitude, and builds confidence. It trains people to work in a better way.

Difference between Education and Knowledge – There is not much difference between them. Knowledge is a process of acquiring facts, information and skills through one’s own experiences or learnings whereas education is a process of learning in a systematic manner from a formal institution such as schools, colleges or universities. Education gives knowledge of the world around us and changes it into something better. It develops in us a perspective of looking at life. It helps us build opinions and have points of view on things in life. (18-Aug-2013, https://blog.library.tc.columbia.edu ›)

According knowledge can be categorized into four types:

(1) Factual knowledge,

(2) Conceptual knowledge,

(3) Procedural knowledge, and

(4)Metacognitive knowledge. 01-Marhttps://learningstrategist.org

Knowledge and wisdom Knowledge is information of which someone is aware. It is means confident understanding of a subject, potentially with the ability to use it for a specific purpose. Wisdom is the ability to make correct judgments and decisions. It is an intangible quality gained through our experiences in life.

Historical background of Education

Ancient Times – System of Education started in the Middle East about 3000 BCE. In the beginning until the decline of Roman Empire, Greek philosophy since its inception, together with some influences from the ancient Near-East had influenced much of Western thinking. In ancient Greece, philosophers contemplated and theorized about many different ideas such as human nature, ethics, and moral dilemmas. They dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, epistemology, mathematics, political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, logic, biology, rhetoric and aesthetics. Romans preserved, imitated, and spread ancient Greek culture over Europe.

Greek philosophers were quite advanced for their times, bringing along revolutionary philosophical contributions to politics, science and ethics.  Socrates of Athens (l. c. 470/469-399 BCE) is the superstar teacher of the ancient world. He is among the most famous figures in world history for his contributions to the development of ancient Greek philosophy which provided the foundation for all of Western Philosophy. He is, in fact, known as the “Father of Western Philosophy” for this reason. (02-Sep-2009, https://www.ancient.eu › Socrates)

Though Socrates was sentenced to death more than 2,400 years ago for “impiety” and “corrupting” the minds of the youth of Athens, his ideas helped form the foundation of Western philosophy and the scientific method of inquiry. And his question-and-dialogue-based teaching style lives on in many classrooms as the Socratic method.

Socrates didn’t write anything down. And details of his life remain largely unknown. Many of his ideas, and much of his life as a teacher and philosopher, are known largely through the writings of his best student, Plato, in his Dialogues. Plato, the disciple of Socrates, introduced the idea of an ideal political system In his work the “Republic”. Plato’s disciple, Aristotle  had combined logic with observation to make general, causal claims.

In ancient times, knowledge and education in humanities and practical subjects like law, science, astrology, medicine, mathematics and geometry were mostly preserved by Priests/a powerful intellectual elite. Priests taught in formal schools like Gurukuls in India. There were two types of formal schools one for privileged youth and another for priest trainees. Rigid method and strict discipline were followed. Vocational skills in the spheres of architecture, engineering and sculpture were generally were generally taught in camps outside the jurisdiction of formal schooling.

Medieval Times (Known as Dark Period) – As the world entered  the medieval period, the knowledge base of ancient times had destroyed. That is why this period is known as the Dark Ages. Period. Demographic, cultural, and economic deterioration occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire. Rejection of reason was the main cause of decline. Church outlawed reason as the means to knowledge, and replaced it by revelation, over which they have the monopoly on.

Church and monasteries took charge of educating both the common people like farmers or workers and the nobility. They became influential during middle ages. Christianity  and religious institutors dominated the scene. They got the patronage of State governments. (03-Mar-2021. https://libguides.stalbanssc.vic.edu.au).

Period of Renaissance – From 14th century onwards, started the revival of surviving fragments of classical ancient culture and systems. Renaissance movement (from 14th to 17 centuries), can be said to be the beginning of modernization, Industrialization, and technological innovations.

During this period, unparalleled intellectual curiosity in European nations brought transition of western world from the medieval to the modern age. It was rebirth of everything in economic, political, cultural spheres. Europe witnessed the end of the old and reactionary medieval spirit and the beginning of the new spirit of science, reason and experimentation. It was the hard work and sincere efforts knowledge seekers, intellectuals and scientists that process of Modernization, Industrialization and technological innovations could again be started. 

With the beginning of Industrialization, Education system was designed to teach workers to be ‘punctual, docile and sober’ and do what their employers/managers told them. As industrialization changed the way of working, the need for universal schooling was felt. (29-June-2018, https://qz.com › universal-education.)

Purpose of education

Generally the meaning of education is misunderstood. Education neither means the knowledge of three ‘R’s, (reading, writing and ‘rithmatics), nor does it teaches to depend on academic or theoretical studies leading towards award of degrees or certificates from formal educational institutes. Nor is its purpose to increase knowledge-base by collecting available information/data/bookish knowledge. is also not the purpose of education.In present job market, these degrees and certificates are shown to the prospective employers as a proof of one’s knowledge. The main purpose of education is to provide for the fullest possible development of each learner for living morally, creatively, and productively in a democratic society.” (ASCD Committee on Platform of Beliefs, Educational Leadership, January 1957)

Since ancient times, one of the continuing objective of education has been to make people realize, what it is to be a human being. Along with it, other purposes of education have been to develop the intellect, to serve social needs, to contribute to the economy, to create an effective work force, to prepare students for a job or career, to promote a particular social or political system. (Arthur W. Foshay, “The Curriculum Matrix: Transcen- dence and Mathematics,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 1991)

Margaret Ammons, Associate Secretary of ASCD, has said while talking about Educational Leadership in Oct. 1964, “The purpose of education] has changed from that of producing a literate society to that of producing a learning society.”

What is education? – The aim of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Education embraces in itself reading, observation and thought. It enables people to understand their surroundings in a better way. Education is a process of facilitating learning and increasing knowledge and improving understanding and attitudes of people. Besides acquisition of knowledge, education develops mental, moral and spiritual values, morals, beliefs and habits of individuals. It gives skill training as well. It refines their actions, language and behaviour, mannerism of individuals andmakes them more cultured. In short, proper education system blossoms the overall personality of a person.

Combination of education and training – Education can be effective, when it is combined with proper training-systems. Training helps people to acquire skills, and prepares them to apply their knowledge in their work life. It enables them to get better adjusted in real life. It improves individuals for certain line of action, which are delineated by technology and urgently needed by their occupations. The main purpose training is cultural conservation (control over cultural deviation), vocational training, moral and character training, and inculcation of qualities like self-restraint, cooperative work, and moderation.

Education along with training hones skills and attitude, trains people to think positively, rationally and act responsibly. Together, education and training prepares people to get gainfully employed in job market. At present, certificates and degrees from educational/professional institutes are considered necessary for entering into job-market.

A well-planned and sound system of education and training inspires human beings to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they could be adjusted better in real life’s environment. It guides people to achieve their goals within time and cost parameters and to channelize their efforts towards desired direction. In short, a sound education system imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work habits of the people. It enables people to face the challenges of present mechanized world, liberalization and Globalization in present context.

Academicians and planners should always remember that education and training system that focuses only on efficiency and intelligence is not enough. Group of persons gifted with reason but no morals, may prove to be a menace to society. Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.” (Martin Luther King Jr., speech at Morehouse College, 1948).

Method of education – Method of learning may be formal or informal. For formal education, one has to join educational or skill training institutes like schools or colleges or vocational training institutes Present societies attach more importance to formal institutionalized education, which is time-bound and leads to award degrees and certificates than to guide the children to become good, responsible and confident citizens of society. Informal learning happens by doing and observing the real-life situations.

Formal education in schools at primary level. It has a vital impact on the personality building, outlook and maturity of the people. It should be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature, so that it  could provide firm foundation for the continuing education of the citizens. It equips a person with understanding of political, social and economic/occupational infra-structure of the country. Training during formative years of a person familiarizes him/her with the atmosphere and requirements of the sphere, in which (s)he wants to work. Informal learning takes over the tasks initiated by formal education and training systems and fills the gaps between theory and practice. Indirectly it helps to improve the performance.

Education and Training during formative years of a person familiarizes him/her with the atmosphere and requirements of the sphere in which (s)he has to work. Informal learning takes over the tasks initiated by formal education and training systems and fills the gaps between theory and practice. Indirectly it helps to improve the performance.

Learning never-ends – Learning and training oneself for its application in real life situations continues throughout one’s life. it is a never ending continuous process. The process of learning is also not confined to schools/colleges. Informal education and training continues at each stage and step of life starting from birth till end. Hindu Epics say about education -“Neti Neti” (No end to learning). J Krishnamurty has also commented, “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

Key to success – Rabindra Nath Tagore says,”… education is not about what we learn: it is about what we make ourselves through what we learn.” The main purpose of education is to free individuals from ignorance, to gain knowledge and enlightenment. Knowledge is necessary to become a better person. It is a key to success in life. Only educated persons, with positive attitude, can contribute to building up a society with love, justice, equality and peace. Education brings transformation not only in individuals, but in a society or a nation as a whole.

Distinction between action, forbidden action, and in-action – Sound education system considered essential for the purpose of giving activities, their due meaning and value. According to Hindu philosophy even a wise man may get puzzled without knowledge about do’s and don’ts. It is only after the acquisition of knowledge, that a person understands the real nature of work and could distinguish correctly between action, forbidden action and in-action.

Sphere of knowledge – The sphere of knowledge is quite vast and is developing at a fast speed. The process of gaining knowledge is quite difficult. It is beyond human capability to cope with it completely. Even a genius like, Newton used to say that he was ‘like a child, who is picking pebbles at sea-shore while the great ocean of knowledge lies before me’. For learning or acquisition of knowledge, even one life is not enough. To think that one can acquire enough knowledge within a short time or fixed time, is not correct. It is a continuous and never ending process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death. Continuous learning at each and every stage of life develops knowledge-base, understanding and attitudes of a person.

Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge” – Khalil Gibran has said “Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge, all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.”

  • Objective of education – The main objective of education is to inspire human beings to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they could be adjusted better in real life’s environment. It should guide people to achieve their goals within time and cost parameters. People should learn to channelize their efforts towards desired direction. In short, a sound education system imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work habits of the people and enables them to face the challenges of present mechanized world, liberalization and Globalization in present context.
  • Gaining Knowledge – Thanks to the revolution in information technology. After technological advancements, during post 1970’s and then at the dawn of 21st century, access to information/knowledge on any subject is available easily to anyone, on any subject and anywhere in the world. Internet has done the wonders. Within seconds Google can tell about anything happening anywhere in the world.
  • But the catch is that a focused mind and sincere efforts are required to get detailed relevant information on subject of one’s choice. One should be sure what exactly does he want to know. Otherwise, entering into world of internet is like going into a dense forest. One gets lost. Standard educational institutions use innovative methods of learning like theme-based discussions and theme-based activities etc.
  • More important is application of knowledge – The real object of education is also to prepare individuals for application of their knowledge. One of the important element of education is to develop the career skills of students. So that they can apply their knowledge and skills in real life, It requires lots of efforts and will power. Sound education and training system prepares individuals to apply knowledge in real life.

A little knowledge that acts is more useful than inactive knowledge. The wealth of knowledge confined only to books, cannot be used properly in real life-situations.at right time. Rote learning also does not work effectively, as it confined to text-books only.

  • Upgrading knowledge – Equally important to upgrade knowledge continuously. As Alvin Toffler, renowned writer has said, “The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

All the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.

Close connection between Knowledge and hard work – There is a growing awareness that for acquiring knowledge, training mind in a scientific manner and concentrating energies of mind, one had to struggle, work hard, make sincere efforts and face many challenges in life.

A majority of youth of present days  do not have courage to struggle or belief in “work hard”. Only a few students keep the fire of learning and acquiring knowledge burning all the time. Without hard-work, search for knowledge remains incomplete and superficial.

Role of a teacher – Teaching has always been an important and a rewarding profession. It leads to intellectual growth of self as well as others. It gives to teachers a real satisfaction of contributing something worthwhile to the society. 

In modern times, the role of a Teacher is just not only of an instructor, but he is supposed to be a facilitator, a true friend of learners, a philosopher and a role model for his students. It is his prime duty to inculcate in the minds of his students/children both, the qualities of head and heart.

Awareness about the importance of education in modern times –  It is encouraging to see that recently there is a growing realization all over the world that ‘Education and Training for all’ is necessary for imparting knowledge, shaping attitudes, cultivating skills and building work-habits, for making people capable of meeting the challenges of modern times. Awareness about the importance of education is not something new for India. India always had great regards for education. Even during ancient India, great importance was given to development of sound systems in the sphere of education and training.

India and its Education system

Very few nations in the world had to start with greater initial difficulties as India had to, after its Independence had to. Illiteracy was one of the major handicaps for slowing down the process of modernization, industrialization, technological advancements and higher productivity. It requires to make people work hard and be aware of their rights and duties. Desire to improve the quality of life demands the nation to adopt goal-oriented approach. So far, the dream to achieve desired results has remained unfulfilled.

It has often been felt that at present education system is becoming unrelated to national needs and aspirations. Most of the times, it is insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.  There is education received prior to joining the work-force is degree-oriented and not job-oriented. There is a wide gap between learning and practice. Being so, how can it be expected that present education system will deliver the desired results? Situation was not always like that in India.

Importance of education and training in ancient India Ancient  India has always given a high place to learning/pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, virtues, characters and will power. According to Indian philosophy, ‘Wealth of knowledge is supreme among all forms of wealth’. (Vidya dhanam sarvadhana pradhanam). India has always realized that human being is human because he has the organic capacity to think and seek knowledge.

From the time of Rigveda onwards, ancient education system was evolved over the period. Focus of education was on holistic development of an individual by taking care of both the inner and outer self. The system was focused on moral, physical spiritual and intellectual aspects of life. Ancient Indian Education was dominated by strict moral codes of conduct. Stress was on ‘Self-respect, self- discipline and self-knowledge. The ancient education taught to the students ethics like humility, truthfulness, discipline, self-reliance, and respecting all creations. (https://www.intechopen.com )

During the ancient period, two systems of education were developed, Vedic, and Buddhist. The medium of language during the Vedic system was Sanskrit, while those in the Buddhist system were pali. Education was imparted from Vedas, Brahmanas, Upanishads and Dharmasutras. The writings of Aryabhata, Panini, Katyayana and Patanjali and the medical treatises of Charaka and Sushruta were also some of the rich sources of learning. (https://byjus.com)

Gurukul system Gurukul was actually the home of teacher or Acharya and was the centre of learning where pupils resided till their education got complete. All were considered equal at the Gurukul and guru (teacher) as well as shisya (student) resided in the same house or lived near to each other.

In ancient India some centres of learning like Taxila or Nalanda etc. were so famous that knowledge-seekers, from distant places from different parts of the country as well as from neighbouring countries, walked to these centres for learning.

Salient features of ancient education system

Values and systems were developed in such a way that even a powerful Emperor, like Ashoka the great, thought it his duty, to bow before the learned persons as a mark of his respect for their learning, wisdom and sacrifice. It shows what matters in life, is not a person’s status or position, but his virtues and wisdom. Only when one raises oneself up from ignorance, can he recognize the greatness of a few in a sea of humanity.

  • More importance to knowledge than wealth – Traditional culture of India is not so materialistic, as Western countries are. Indian values and systems have separated pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts, wealth or power-politics. According to Indian philosophy, when a person runs blindly after money and forgets about the real purpose of knowledge, both wealth and knowledge vanishes from their lives. The only judicious way to generate wealth and gain power goes via the path of acquiring true knowledge. West gives more importance to creation of wealth.
    Wealth is the ultimate aim of the people, yardstick of success and a status symbol.
  • Knowledge as the base of ranking – In ancient and medieval Indian society, the greatness of a person, institution or a nation was judged on the basis of the degree of righteousness and justice. Greatness of Princely states was judged with which its administration governed lives of the common men or their character. It was not on the basis of the size of a state, its military power or its treasury/bank-balance. Similarly, in the society, a person or a caste was ranked on the basis of knowledge, discipline and moral standards, and not on the basis of material success, muscle or money power or of having controlling power over the destiny of common man.
  • Respect for knowledgeable persons – In India, not only Brahmins, but others were also commanded the respect of society for their knowledge/learning capabilities, character, spirituality and ability. The system was quite liberal in this matter. It provided opportunities to all irrespective caste, creed or community, to get to the top from the humblest origin and earn the respect of the whole society. For example, Vashishtha, the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the maker of the very Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman (belonging to Mahr community – Dalit according to present standards and to which Dr Ambedkar, the messiah of Dalits belonged).  Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards, the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India. None of them were not ashamed of their origin. They still hold a very high position in general public minds.

System of education and training in modern India

Modern education – Originally, Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay has brought in India the modern Grammar School education system in the 1830s. Medium of instruction was English. Education is primarily a State responsibility. It is Government and communities, as well as public and private organizations of all kinds, that establish schools and colleges, develop curricula, and determine requirements for enrolment and graduation.

‘Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE)’ was enacted by Parliament of India on 4 August 2009, which describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between the age of 6 to 14 years in India under Article 21A of the Constitution.

Indian Education system is good but it needs little bit improvement. At present, India is facing a rapid deterioration in standards of teaching. It is not technically strong enough in educating, when compared to the well developed countries. Earlier, though education was thinly spread, even government schools were maintaining a good standard. In an attempt to do quantitative expansion of education, quality of education suffered a lot.

It is a matter of great concern that even seventy four years after independence and self-rule, literacy-rate has gone up to 74% from 65. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54.  In absolute number, the figure is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled.

All is not well in education system in India – From time to time, it has been noted by distinguished academicians, policy-makers, political leaders, other eminent persons, commissions and committees that all is not well in the present education system of India. Now and then, failures have been pointed out in one or another area of education. They have noticed that education and training system has become increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations, insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.

External and internal constraints on Education system –  There exists many internal and external constraints on the education system, such as –

External Constraints

  • Socio-economic and political pressures have indirectly affected adversely the education system violated its quality and autonomy.
  • Unholy alliance with vested interests between elites of Indian society – Some changes have taken place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of seven  main constituent of the national elites – Political Executives, Legislators, Businessmen, Media persons, Organized Workers, powerful lobby of Farmers and Bureaucrats. Their vested interests have  brought into forefront some undesirable social changes and political turmoil, which has affected adversely indirectly the whole atmosphere in the field of education as well.
  • Population explosion – Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on present education system and its available infrastructure. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favouritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different powerful lobbies are increasing every day to have their exclusive hold on scarce resources available in the field of education or for power and pelf. Lobbies of a few powerful persons and ruling elites interfere and control every stage of the educational process.
  • Modern life style – Modern life style of stay up late due to reasons like working parents coming home late, socializing/going out for entertainment late in nights and health hazards due to undisciplined way of sleeping and getting up late adds fuel into fire. In long run, sleep-disorder may increase health problems like risk to heart attack, high blood-pressure, stroke, diabetes, drowsiness, depression, headaches obesity, loss of memory and poor performance at school.  

The reflection of all these evils is found in the educational system as well.

Internal Constraints – Internally the system has been fractured along the lines of discipline deteriorating standard of education in general and student sub-culture. Slowly but steadily, the education system lost its capacity to equip the younger generation with relevant knowledge and skills for enabling them to get gainfully employed and to perform their jobs with a sense of responsibility. It has failed to produce much-needed dynamism in youth as well. Now people have started questioning the legitimacy of a modern education system itself.

  • Past legacy – Some defects in modern education based on colonized British Grammar School type education. After Independence, many more  problems, paradoxes and constraints have cropped up. 
  • Grammar school education system is mainly based upon foreign culture and uprooted the indigenous culture of India.
  • English instead of mother tongue as the medium of instruction puts extra strain upon the nerves of students. Result is that the system is producing mostly the youth, who are unable to express clearly in any language, including in their own.
  • Acquisition of quality education is not possible through a foreign language.
  • It adversely affects the competence and confidence of students.
  • Masses remains deprived.
  • Present education system gives more importance to subjects like science and mathematics and ignores the culture of heart and hand. It has confined itself simply to head.
  • Present system increases the gap between ‘haves and have-nots’ – Instead of being an instrument of social integration, modern education system divides society into two groups, ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Usually children of poor families go to government or government aided schools. Poor people cannot bear the expenditure of sending their children to Private schools. Only well-to-do families can afford to send their children to Private schools, which try their best to maintain good standard of education.
  • Unfit for original work – Education system in India makes learners crammers, imitators and unfit for original work and thought. Whereas, Education system in Western  countries makes student a lively, inquisitive and original thinking person. There, it has been able to develop certain special qualities like regards for laws of the nation, awareness, contempt for hypocrisy, sympathy for underdog and courage to resist cruelty or misuse of power and authority. An educated youth in India generally fails to develop such an attitude and conscience.
  • Store-house of information – No doubt, access to information provides the basis of all the thinking and increases knowledge. But over-emphasis on information at all stages of education, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind a store-house of information/knowledge and discourages original thinking. It lays emphasis on giving students ready-made knowledge, systematically and neatly organized in the form of lessons, units and text book. R W Emerson comments on modern education, “We are students of words: we are shut up in schools and colleges and recitation-rooms, for ten or fifteen years and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words and do not know a thing.”
  • Degree-oriented system led to rush in educational institutes of higher learning : The whole system of education, training and employment is degree oriented. The result of such a narrow mind-set is –
  • Requirement university degrees/certificates as a Passport for getting white collard jobs and giving final from manual work has made a mockery of higher education. It has encouraged mass entry into the institutions of higher learning
  • Present education system does not pay enough attention on Primary education. Early childhood learning plays a vital in improving the quality and quantity of learning and for developing lifelong qualities in children. Latest brain researches tell that first 2000 days are the most important in a child’s life, when children develop learning strategies, learn how to think and develop problem-solving ability. At primary level of education, it is necessary to have more interaction between parents, teachers, and children.
  • Higher secondary, the weakest link in Indian education system – Higher secondary education is not up to the mark. It is the weakest link in Indian education system. In western countries, the higher secondary education system enables talented students to join courses of their choice. Sincere efforts are required to be done to improve the academic standards, curricula and methods of teaching at higher secondary level in India.
  • Neck to neck competition in schools and colleges – Attitude, aptitude or personal choice does not matter in learning what you want. It depends only on availability of seats for admission. There is cut-throat competition for getting admission in the courses of their choices. It puts lots of pressure on the minds of candidates. High expectations of parents, forces teenagers to join extra-classes/tutorial classes after school, which cuts down on their free, leisure time or time to spend on extra-curricular activities. Non-availability to get admissions in the courses of their choices affects adversely their interest in learning and giving their best to the society.
  • Degree-oriented culture encourages the mass-entry into universities and colleges. There is over-crowding in the institutions of higher learning. A large number of new substandard and superfluous colleges and universities are being created every day to meet the increasing demand. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the academic standards and students’ discipline, regional imbalances in the growth of educational institutions and politics in the temples of learning.
  • Politicization of the institutions of higher learning – There is a rush of students, who want degree as a passport. Some join institutions of higher studies just as a time-pass till they get employed. They  seize every opportunity to spoil the academic atmosphere and create disturbances. They get affiliated to youth wing of different political parties. And do not hesitate to take support of different political parties to create disturbances from time to time within the campus.
  • Indiscipline in institutes of higher learning –Instead of inspiring the modern youth to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they can channelise their energy and efforts towards desired direction, the present education making them over-conscious of their rights. They desire to be absolutely free from all kinds of moral compulsions.  Discipline, morality and observance of rules seems to them to be unnecessary and irrational. They do not have much respect even respect for their elders, teachers or authority. Not learning, but enjoying the life and material gains is  their aim. Knowledge without discipline may lead to chaos and violence.
  • Pre employment (primary and secondary) education and training – Work in human life is very important.  Work towards one’s goals and dreams gives purpose to human life. Living each day with purpose provides a sense of fulfilment. One of the major aims of education is to make youth employable. For streamlining the performance of people at work after employment, most essential and fundamental requirement is that the character and scope of primary and secondary education and training, (before joining the work force) should be  comprehensive in scope and sound in nature for making youth acceptable in job-market. Pre-entry education system needs to be redesigned in such a way, that it could continuously provide men and women of vitality, vigour, initiative and imagination with intellectual accomplishments, qualifications and soundness of character. It should impart knowledge, shapes attitude, cultivate skills and build work habits according to their specific area  of their interest, so that  they get better  adjusted to their working environment. Education should be more project based or practical based education, so thatcandidates get not only theoretical knowledge, but also practical knowledge as well.

Immediately after joining the work force, pre-entry education received prior to joining the work-force needs to be supplemented by well-planned foundation training. Foundation training facilitates the candidates to know the fundamentals of their specific jobs and inculcates in them relevant skills and attitude to do their jobs well. Without proper foundation training, effectiveness, efficiency and quality of work suffers.

  • Unrealistic Manpower Assessment – Assessment of manpower requirement for economic growth is not done rationally according to national needs. After Independence, the need for technical people was felt and in recent past for management experts. The creation of a large number of  institutions in these areas without assessing the needs of the nation resulted in educated unemployment and brain-drain. A large number of trained scientists, doctors, engineer’s technicians and management graduates go abroad in search of suitable jobs.
  • Faulty system of evaluation/examination – One of the reason of deterioration of the quality of education is that examination and evaluation system is faulty. It tests only a narrow range of skills, especially those of memory.
  • Addiction to electronic gadgets and poor life-style – Right from the beginning, children and teenagers are addicted to electronic gadgets. Any information on any subject, is easily available on Google. So there is no need to put any strain on mind for actual learning. Young children are addicted to electronic gadgets very much. It further cuts into their free time. Modern life style of stay up late due to reasons like working parents coming home late, socializing/going out for entertainment late in nights and health hazards due to undisciplined way of sleeping and getting up late adds fuel into fire. In long run, sleep-disorder may increase health problems like risk to heart attack, high blood-pressure, stroke, diabetes, drowsiness, depression, headaches obesity, loss of memory and poor performance at school.

Where the fault lies? – For the present weaknesses in the present education system, parents blame teachers and teachers the parents, students blame teachers and teachers the students. They together blame educationists and they in turn attack the social system. Blaming game can’t solve the problem. It is better to analyse the issues  and find out solutions.

All the weaknesses of present system of education cannot be removed overnight. Instead of offering excuses or blaming each other for the failures and dissatisfaction, all the three partners involved – students, teachers and the society should together make concentrated efforts to improve the education system and create a larger base of educated, trained and skilled manpower. Together they should do rational thinking after understanding the basics, fundamentals, aims and the problem of present education and training.

Problem areas in present education system – It is generally felt that present education system is not on the right track, because –

  • Education does not mean only the knowledge of three ‘R’s.
  • Present system focusses more on theoretical knowledge than its practical application in real life situations. Increasing knowledge-base through available information/bookish knowledge is also not the purpose of education.
  • Not adequate attention on the quality of education. Emphasis is more on increase quantity.
  • It also does not mean collecting degrees and certificates through formal education.
  • The process of learning is not confined to schools/colleges. It is a never-ending process.
  • Over-exposure of information,
  • Continuous deterioration of moral and cultural values in today’ materialistic world. Henry Kravis has commented, “If you don’t have integrity, You have nothing. You cannot buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.”
  • Absence of parental guidance, when it is needed the most.,
  • Too much emphasis on academic excellence has over-burdened the minds of children and youth. Parental pressure and peer-pressure is putting extra burden on students. Many children commit suicide or go under mental pressure.

Present education system does  a majority of individuals really educated with mature outlook. Such persons are mostly incapable to meet the adverse situations or challenges of real-life. The result is that –

  • Employers find it difficult to select, recruit and retain suitable persons for different disciplines and at different levels at job market.
  • When persons with immature mind-set enter into real life and join the workforce, they become restless, intolerant, more demanding or  impulsive.
  • Pre-entry education is such that after employment, even  the basics of their specific jobs are to be told to them. It requires a much more massive effort in order to make employees do their jobs well.

Planning for creating system of education and training – For planning a sound system of education and training, having a larger base of more skilled and expert manpower, and streamlining the performance of people at work after employment, it is necessary to

  • Educators and elders need to understand the psychology of youth/learners.
  • Awareness about changes happening every day in today’s world.
  • Enough arrangements to learn about the latest developments, and to upgrade and refresh knowledge continuously in their respective areas of work, after joining the workforce.
  • Commitment on the part of teachers to share their knowledge with students without bias.
  • Encouraging the students to express their thoughts and views freely and frankly.
  • Quality is more important than quantity in the sphere of education. Quality of education need not be compromised in any way for students, who cannot learn and understand at the same pace as other batch-mates. Educational institutions should make arrangements for special coaching for them, instead of lowering the standard of education.

Suggestions – To improve the quality of education and create a larger base of skilled and trained manpower, rational planning  needs to be done. First step is to diagnose the real problems. Then try to find out  the role of education in modern life after understanding its basics, fundamentals and aims correctly. Some areas which need special attention of all are –

  • Family, the first learning place for a child –  Family is called a child’s first school, where prior to joining school, a person learns manners and knowledge. Under the loving care of parents, a child learns to understand the world around him. It includes health-care, physical, emotional and behavioural development as well as logic and reasoning power. There a child learns as how to speak and communicate with others.  Therefore, role of parents and family becomes crucial for inculcating and developing lifelong qualities in children. For it, requires proper parental guidance is necessary. Parents should understand the psychology of their children. They should find out enough time to have more interaction with their children. At present, parents are so busy in meeting the two ends that they cannot devote enough time  and try to pass on this responsibility to schools teachers and day-care instructors etc. And it is practically very difficult for teachers or child-minders to pay individual attention to each and every child because of the large number of children under their charge.    
  • ‘Education for all’ – In present world of fast-paced life-style, ‘Education for all’ can instil in people,  the courage to avoid out-dated traditions and dogmatic ways of doing things. Educated persons can face  the challenges of life with confidence. Sound system of Education along with proper training system can inculcate in people qualities like self-reliance, rational, positive and creative thinking, problem solving attitude, planning properly about their future and career according to their attitude and aptitude, taking right decisions at right time, doing their duties responsibly, act judiciously and facing the challenges in life.
  • Improvement in the character and scope of primary and secondary level educational system is the most essential and fundamental requirement is to improve. It should be redesigned in such a way, that it could continuously provide men and women of vitality, vigour, initiative and imagination with intellectual accomplishments, qualifications and soundness of character needed in different disciplines and at different levels at job market.
  • Requirement of University Degree not necessary – The requirement of a university degree as a Passport for starting nice and respectable career (white collard jobs) has made a mockery of higher education. Such an attitude has by-passed the need to “educate all”, resulted in negligence of primary and higher secondary education and in over-crowding the institutions of learning. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the academic standards and students’ discipline, regional imbalances in the growth of educational institutions and politics in the temples of learning.
  • Relationship between students and teachers – Relationship between students and teachers should be such that faculty members should encourage students to share and express their views and thoughts freely and frankly. Finding committed teachers is not an easy task, but is urgently required for keeping standards of education high.
  • Spirit of healthy competition needs to be inculcated – In the present atmosphere of neck to neck competition and to be one up,  it is better to upgrade one’s own knowledge, courage to meet the challenges of real life bravely, get control over emotions and impulses as far as possible, develop problem-solving attitude and skill to take right decision at right time.

April 24, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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