Education is liberating. Education is doing justice to the immense potential one is born with and also the learnings throughout life. It is about contributing to society, making the world a better place and being human. You would say, we all know this. What’s new? Now, contrast this to the Indian Education System.
Indian Education System is rote. Indian Education System is getting marks and grades and cracking the entrance exams. It is joyless, devoid of real-life applications, sucks out creativity and curiosity, and more so, depriving childhood to children. You would say, we all know this. What’s new? That is precisely the point.
All of us know how important Education is to human life. And all of us also know how dissociated the Indian Education System is from the stated objectives of Education. All of us are aware of the obvious disconnect; yet, we are a willing part of the broken system. You would say, National Education Policy (NEP) has come and the situation is changing/will change for the better.
Well, all the changes till now have been for the worse. Instead of one JEE, now we have two with NEET also thrown in. The Government is so much in awe of centralized entrance exams, the plan is to have them for all the courses. At the other end of the spectrum, formal schooling will start from 3 years onwards. The sooner the initiation into the rote, the better for the child seems to be the thinking.
What’s the change for the better in all these? Rather, the Indian Education System is getting deeper into the swamp with a further lethal focus on marks, grades, entrance exams, coaching classes. In short, it is a march to more of the same.
In such a scenario, who/what can lead to change?
Who has the highest stakes in the education of a child, apart from the child? The parents. Who is affected the most by the constructive/dysfunctional imparting of Education? The parents. Who has the least say, rather no say in the running of the Indian Education System? The parents.
This is beyond belief. The parents who have the skin in the game are on the side-lines and have no role. Whereas, the people who benefit by perpetuating the rote without any genuine changes to the defunct system are running the show. What incentives do the administrators/establishment/Government, or for that matter even the academicians have to change the redundant system?
Let’s get this straight. Who got us into the problem isn’t going to get us out of it. For one, they do not know how to get out of it. Rather, they do not even perceive it as a problem. Second, the perverse incentives to continue with the rote trumps the desire for wanting/thinking a change to the Indian Education System, for it is the rote that gets them all the riches and enhances their power.
In a scenario like this, if a change has to be effected or even contemplated, it can/will happen only through parental involvement. Unless the parents get drawn into the affairs of the Indian Education System, the Education of their children won’t come through. The success in entrance exams, yes; but learning the purpose of Education and one’s living, NO.
Keeping Education Simple and Real-Life
If the parents get involved, the Indian Education System will respond that Education is a serious task. Only a highly qualified/trained/experienced person, in short, one from within the system, can do justice to the Education of the child. Parents are non-qualified for the job and they are better off handing over the responsibilities of educating their children to the Indian Education System only.
Wait a moment. Are we talking about rocket science or nuclear physics or CABG surgery? All these are highly specialized fields and requires years of training to make a meaningful impact. But, here we are talking about the Education of 3-year-olds, or maybe 7-year-olds, or for that matter even 15-year-olds. What is so Elon Musk-ish about it?
All of us have gone through the vigour of the Indian Education System. Yet, we are considered inept to comment/be a part of the same system that we so successfully sailed through! The system will educate the child, but once an adult, s/he is not welcome to the system anymore. What an irony?
Indian Education System uses the jargons to make it sound and feel complicated to scare away the outsiders. The Establishment makes the Education so complex, erect so many entry barriers – All to protect their turf. If the Education of 3/6/9/12/15 years old is really tortuous for a parent, who is an adult, to make head and tail out of and to intervene, does the poor child even have an iota of chance?
Why can’t Education be simple and real-life? The Indian Education System won’t let us see-through, for it will be known to all that Education is actually straightforward and possible without the confines of the classroom. Real Education, in fact, needs a giant and open classroom, also known as Life.
Education Is Important, Not The Indian Education System
Education is sacrosanct. But in India, we bestow this honour to the Indian Education System, and not the Education, per se. For us, the messenger has become sacred, and not the message. The message – Education is getting diluted by the day and the messenger – Indian Education System is getting hefty by the day at the expense of the message. An unrivalled Indan paradox.
For the sake of our children and their childhood, for the sake of a better and just society, and yes, for the sake of Education; it is time we reset the narrative and call the bluff. We, the parents, have to get involved hands-on in Indian Education System, now.
What are your views on this subject?
PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.