Education System: What needs to change? @ 04 Nov 2016

What do we need to change about the Indian Education System?
Education has been a problem in our country and lack of it has been blamed for all sorts of evil for hundreds of years. Even Rabindranath Tagore wrote lengthy articles about how Indian education system needs to change.  Funny thing is that from the colonial times, few things have changed. We have established IITs, IIMs, law schools and other institutions of excellence; students now routinely score 90% marks so that even students with 90+ percentage find it difficult to get into the colleges of their choice; but we do more of the same old stuff.

Rote learning still plagues our system, students study only to score marks in exams, and sometimes to crack exams like IIT JEE, AIIMS or CLAT. The colonial masters introduced education systems in India to create clerks and civil servants, and we have not deviated much from that pattern till today. If once the youngsters prepared en masse for civil services and bank officers exams, they now prepare to become engineers. If there are a few centres of educational excellence, for each of those there are thousands of mediocre and terrible schools, colleges and now even universities that do not meet even minimum standards. If things have changed a little bit somewhere, elsewhere things have sunk into further inertia, corruption and lack of ambition.

Creating a few more schools or allowing hundreds of colleges and private universities to mushroom is not going to solve the crisis of education in India. And a crisis it is – we are in a country where people are spending their parent’s life savings and borrowed money on education – and even then not getting standard education, and struggling to find employment of their choice. In this country, millions of students are victim of an unrealistic, pointless, mindless rat race. The mind numbing competition and rote learning do not only crush the creativity and originality of millions of Indian students every year, it also drives brilliant students to commit suicide.

We also live in a country where the people see education as the means of climbing the social and economic ladder. If the education system is failing – then it is certainly not due to lack of demand for good education, or because a market for education does not exist.

Education system in India is failing because of more intrinsic reasons. There are systemic faults that do not let our demand for good education translate into a great marketplace with excellent education services. I discussed the reasons previously in this article: Will Education make a comeback in India?

Let’s explore something else in this one: what should change in India education system? What needs to be fixed at the earliest? Here is my wish list:

Focus on skill based education

Reward creativity, original thinking, research and innovation

Get smarter people to teach

Re-define the purpose of the education system

Effective deregulation

Take mediocrity out of the system

Personalize education – one size does not fit all

Allow private capital in education