Education is the founding stone of a country’s economy. A country that fails to provide its citizens the right to education lags behind in every way.
History of Indian Education System
The history of Indian education has its roots to the ancient ages where they followed the Gurukul system – a system where the students resided in the house of their teacher until the teacher felt that he has imparted all that he could. The subjects taught varied from Sanskrit to Scriptures to Mathematics to Metaphysics and the knowledge attained would be passed on to the future generations. However, this system was changed during the Colonial era when the British set up schools that followed a curriculum confined to subjects such as Mathematics, Science etc. While the ancient system included more interaction with the nature, the modern system was more classroom oriented.
Why is change required?
In 2014, India’s global education ranking slipped to 93.
This, together with a series of scams faced by the Indian education sector, calls for an immediate need to bring reforms in our education system.
Indian Education System has been synonymous with ‘Examinations’, ‘Board Exams’, ‘Entrance Exams’, ‘Marks’, etc. A student in India is left with the options of choosing from Science, Humanities or Commerce after he/she finishes his tenth grade. However, the trend shows that more and more students are opting to go abroad for further studies after completing their post-graduation in India.
As per the statistics of The U.S. Council of Graduate Schools’ offers of admission to Indian post-graduate students, the admissions are up 25 per cent for 2013-14 from the previous year, compared to a 9 per cent increase for all countries.
Some of the reasons for this soaring number of students not opting India to pursue their further
(1) Lack of top-quality programmes offered by Indian colleges.
(2) Poor quality of teachers. Teaching is not considered as a lucrative career option in India. Most of them end up in this career as they couldn’t find jobs elsewhere.
(3) Outdated syllabus taught in most of the colleges.
(4) Lack of state-of-art infrastructure in the top colleges.
Reforms should begin with schools
Schools play a vital role in shaping a person’s social and professional growth. The conventional schools in India focus on nurturing the children to face the competitive world outside. Examinations and assignments are encouraged by them as tools to assess the capability of the students. Whether a child was knowledgeable or not depended on the marks he/she scored. Many activists today who oppose the Indian Education system are of the opinion that the schools teach the students in learning things by-rote and not to understand things through application.
National Survey conducted few years back reveals that, more than 80% of the school principals in India blame rote-learning as the reason for poor standards to learning in students passing out from schools. Of these, nearly 70% of them felt that the curriculum followed in India today did not give sufficient scope for creative thinking.
"Focus should be on Skill-based Education: Give a man a fish and you feed him one day, teach him how to catch fishes and you feed him for a lifetime"
Latest trends in the Indian Education System
A typical Indian classroom is characterized by long hours of lectures by the teacher with very little focus of the students ability to comprehend. However, Indian Education system today is seeing many technology-driven innovations for students.
Smartclass from Educomp is such an example. Smartclass is essentially a digital content library of curriculum-mapped, multimedia-rich, 3D content. It also enables teachers to quickly assess how much of a particular lesson students have been able to assimilate during the class. Once a topic is covered, the teacher gives the class a set of questions on a large screen. Each student then answers via a personal answering device or the smart assessment system. The teacher gets the scores right away and based on that, she repeats parts of the lesson that the students don’t appear to have grasped.
Another example is the launch of YouTube channel Edu India, which is an Indian curriculum focused education channel. Some other players in this sector who have come up with innovative ideas in changing the education system are Everonn Education, NIIT, Core Education & Technologies, IL&FS, Compucom, HCL Infosystems, Learn Next, Tata Interactive Systems, Mexus Education, S. Chand Harcourt and iDiscoveri.
We also see a lot more schooling options available today as a replacement to the conventional mainstream system. In his article, Vaibhav Devanathan of LaughGuru has emphasized that the high-level of stress in students caused by the mainstream schools have given rise to various alternative methods of schooling in India like Montessori schools, Krishnamurti schools, Home-Schooling and Gardner’s Model.
Indian Education Systems predominantly follows the system laid by the British. Although we can boast of having the IITs, IIMs and some of the best law and medical colleges, India’s contribution to the world of innovation is close to none. Our education system should therefore focus on churning out not just engineers, but also entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, writers etc. all of whom are influential in the development of the economy.
As India mourns the death of one of its greatest visionaries, Dr. Abdul Kalam, there is a need to emphasize his view about the Indian Education System: “In decades time, India will need 300 to 500 million employable skilled youth and there's a need to completely change the university education syllabus and secondary school education syllabus”.