Fact: Every hour, one student commits suicide in India, with about 28 such suicides reported every day, according to data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The NCRB data shows that 10,159 students died by suicide in 2018, an increase from 9,905 in 2017, and 9,478 in 2016.
This one fact is enough to question our Education System and Parenting.
So, where exactly are we failing?
Let me put forward a few problems that exist in the current Education System of India.
1. Cramming, no practical knowledge
We teach a player how to play a game in theory with all the rules, take a written exam and rate him/her. Can he/she play an excellent game? The answer would be a ‘NO.’ And this is what is wrong with the education system all over the world, not just India. Though other countries are now moving towards practical knowledge, India is not coping up on that front.
2. Marks determine knowledge
Exams are overrated in India. Parents already assume that passing an exam with flying colors guarantees success in life. Is it wise to judge everyone on the same parameter? You cannot judge a fish and a monkey by their ability to climb a tree!
3. Lack of non-mainstream career options
There exist only three main streams – Science, Commerce, and arts, which are chosen based on how many marks the student has got in exams, keeping aside the child’s interest. There is a non-mainstream course called “Gerontology,” and we neither know nor are interested in knowing these options.
4. Outdated Syllabus
We all know that Galileo and Newton made an outstanding contribution to science in the 17th century. Maxwell, Einstein were heroes of the early 20th century, but what after the 20th century? There is a need to update the books with the latest inventions.
Now that I have driven your attention to the issues let me say that we are somehow responsible for this.
A person runs a departmental store where he serves 500-700 people daily. So, we can assume that his business is thriving. However, I could observe everyone around making a comparison between him and others, whereby demeaning what he does and appreciating any person doing a job. The business is considered less valuable than a position where a person has just acquired one skill in his entire life and makes 1/5th of what business makes.
We prefer SERVING OVER LEADING.
We, Indians, prefer being a servant to being a leader. We, the proud citizens of India, only wish to be a tamed animal who could be driven by a shepherd. Our Education System inspires us to become Sundar Pichai but not Larry Page. For the information, Larry Page is one of the founders of Google, where Sundar Pichai works.
National Education Policy 2020: A game-changer?
In the year 2020, when almost every sector is reeling with ailments, the education sector received a gift from the policymakers in New Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The policy boasts of reforms that will enable the youth to face the 21st century’s challenges through a multi-pronged and holistic approach.
Let us look at the major reforms suggested by NEP2020 (For details, please refer NEP2020)
- Multidisciplinary Education and Flexibility of Subjects
- Board exams will be low stakes and test actual knowledge instead of rote learning.
- Mother tongue to be a medium of instruction till 5th grade.
- Curtailing dropout rates, ensuring universal access to education
- A comprehensive report on skills and capabilities instead of just marks
- Major changes in the pedagogical structure of the curriculum. Any student can opt for any subject they are interested in.
- A ‘Gender-Inclusion Fund’ for building the capacity to provide equitable quality education for all girls and transgenders.
The NEP empowers students to pick and choose their academic journey rather than conforming to the set standards and norms. It also moves towards international standards with a focus on digital and research-based learning.
However, the NEP seems to fail in one crucial aspect – IMPLEMENTATION. Education is a concurrent subject and hence, the implementation of NEP lies in the hands of states. With some political leaders arguing that states have not been taken into confidence while framing the policy, the road ahead for NEP doesn’t look smooth. The target of allocating resources equivalent to 6% of the GDP to education (currently India spends 3% of its GDP) looks vague in the absence of a roadmap of implementation. I hope politics doesn’t get the better of what is essential for our Education System.
The Way Forward
Education is the backbone of a country’s prosperity and every attempt should be made to strengthen the system. To make this policy a milestone in India’s education journey, the centre and states have to come together with the spirit of cooperative federalism.
With the quickly changing employment landscape and global ecosystem, it is becoming increasingly critical that children not only learn but more importantly, learn ‘how to learn.’ Education must move towards learning about how to think critically, solve problems, be creative and multidisciplinary, and how to innovate, adapt to new challenges in various fields.
We, the citizens of India, hope that the New Education Policy can provide high-quality education to all, thereby making India a global Knowledge Superpower.