Is it reduction or more focus on specific areas which the student shows ability, interest and aptitude
Schooling, the process which was brought into action hundreds of years back, that very process which claimed to inculcate good values and ethics as education among the students, the future generation of that time and the generation after and so on, and maybe this process actually fetched good results, and the developments, starting from earlier times to now is a proof of that. But, the situation of schools, rather education of recent times is a sorry figure altogether. Where the students are treated as a source of income, by the various popular, promising institutions, teaching is a way of money making, even if that means selling the final terms question paper at extravagant rates to the parents of the students, who just want to pass that particular exam with flying colours. Boys objectify girls and we ask why and how could they, but the answer lies to their education.
Books are what which helps us feel the situation, observe and understand the information provided for any particular subject. But a person can neither feel, nor observe, nor understand any of the information provided in those apparently mundane books, if the teachers does not make the students fall for the subject, develop a liking, a bond. Creating an interest is the most important thing, to actually be an educated person. Compulsion is just depression. Thus, education is a two way process, and if the end result is not fruitful then it is an equal fault of both the parties. A student should be eager to learn, and a teacher ready to impart to those greedy eyes, thirsty for knowledge. Spoon feeding is no option, neither is unnecessary tutorials. Self study is what is important, and then doubt clearing. This creates a sense of confidence amongst the individuals, which in turn makes him/her into a totally learned, educated person.
But to enhance the sorry picture in front of our eyes, we need to take certain steps. Not just us, but everybody.
We have to take a firm step against the wrong policies of this education system. We have to stop producing engineers who don't know the basics, doctors who diagnose wrong and so on. We need a learned generation of people, and thus we need to create it. This is India, and competition is no easy game. But it was and is a fact, that joining the rat race dilutes the intensity of true knowledge, makes one narrow minded and competitive towards his own peers. And that's a very, very negative impact.
We need a population who do what they love doing, actually are good at doing. We need education programmes for the poor, as mentioned by Tagore earlier of this need, but it wasn't paid heed to that much by Gandhi, who thought, financially stability of the institutions were more important, which was nevertheless a very practical thought, keeping in mind India's economical status at that point of time. But now we are much more developed than that time. Our economy is much more developed. Thus such educational programmes should be enforced to improvise the literacy levels among the poor people. Because they are a part of our nation, and if we don't drag them along with our other developments, we will be actually lagging behind and the word developing would forever describe India.
Newspaper headlines of late , read averagely 35% of professional programs are going vacant and the root cause has been poor faculty and infrastructure. It is to be noted that employability of Indian Students coming out of colleges and institutes are at a tottering 20 percent approximately. Looking into the statistics we could find that 60 percent of Engineering graduates unemployed or even 90 percent of engineers not suitable for the software industry.
The report, released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) a couple of weeks back, said that between 1991 and 2013, the size of the “working age” population increased by 300 million. Of this, the Indian economy could employ only 140 million, suggesting a limited capacity to generate jobs. The report estimated that by 2050, at least 280 million more people will enter the job market in India.
It is high time that we start introspecting. Let us go back to the 1951 census wherein India s population was 361,080,544 approximately and 35% was the literacy rate.
And today the Indian population stands at 3.5 times and the literacy is 6 times more than it was in 1951 in sheer numbers. Simple arithmetic statement and the truth of the matter is nearly 21 times the number of teachers joined this profession in schooling alone and considering a similar growth in general graduation and professional programs along with private players joining the fray. It is indeed, a mind-blowing dilution of education. Why is this dilution?
This is the educational system we are in and no one finds fault with it. The responsibility of employability lies fairly and squarely with the last institute attended for certification. Schooling for success is a misnomer and it is only a mere mark generating machine.
But then the question is also important as to the quality of the resources deployed. Are they actually teacher material? Has this profession been made the last choice, to be opted if everything else fails? Has the government in its eagerness to make India a literate country diluted the very essence of education? Is this compromised situation the cause of rise on dependency of the parents to educate their wards through private support systems called tuitions or the rote method to just clear the exams with flying colours that being the only criterium.
Till the age group of 7 to 8 years, the schooling system should focus on making the process of learning an integrated part of his or her life. Basic elements of communication, logic, sports , culture and nature need to be covered in a liberal environment and the process should emphasise two aspects - a) Ability of the child to learn by self and identify his or her learning methods, b) Acumen of facilitators to observe various nurturing skills in each individual to build social skills which they can carry back home to their families and practise.
Between the age of 7-8 to 12-13, the child should be allowed to learn areas which they are wanting to perform on the basis of their acquired knowledge from previous years. The speed of learning and the level of knowledge and adjustments to their strengths can be ascertained in during this period. The key focus areas of this age bracket are to build the ability to confidently perform and find out their own areas where they are comfortable with their practice and excel themselves. Again, the role of the facilitator here is to help them to stretch their abilities continuously and allow learners to challenge themselves to better themselves in each step.
From the age of 12-13 to 19 and upwards, it is important for the facilitators to put learners into vocational training relating to their strengths, ability, interests and aptitude both in the industrial and economic society. This works as enabler for the channelizing into various streams, vocations and professions. Here is where, the assessment and testing self begins. Internship and self-funding also should begin from the age of 16 onwards.
The requirements in the process are:
Infrastructure is more than sufficient in terms of space.
Resources are available and can be funded by the industry.
Human resources need to be retrained to look into facilitation of the learner from teaching of subject.
Examinations need to be reoriented to incorporate more of self-evaluation technique.
Students build their career on their ability and continue to learn more of what they are good at. They start early and thus, become economically self-sufficient earlier. This means that the depth of learning required is more than what it is apparently visible, and also that each student learns those topics and subjects faster that they are more able and interested in. This is also more ideal regarding the use of all the resources that the right student is using the training resources in the correct way for more productive work.
Relevance of the skills and knowledge imparted, thus, becomes a continuous process yielding change to suit the requirements of the industry which is to absorb this growing work force.
Keeping the above in mind the change for syllabus should be designed more towards -learning rather than reducing. It is focused to lead to that liberal process for a student to learn more of what he or she is able and interested in.
Also, we need to investigate this million-dollar question. What is the value of education then to the imparted? Are these only spoons feeding or joining the rat race or vomiting from top of the mind during so called assessments? Is there any skill imparted? The advertisements speak of passing percentage and first classes when it comes to schools and the institutes and the press speak about the salary package in the campus placement.
It is high time! Nevertheless, it is a wakeup call for the economists and policy makers and the owners of the educational institutions. They really need to introspect whether they are doing justice to the 100 percent population studying under them or just looking at the vital few who could be their brand ambassadors. On the other hand, we find that all the coaching institutes which scream in bold as how many got through various esteemed entrance exams, be it Commerce, Humanities, Bio Sciences, Engineering, Medical or management.
Wish we could reorient ourselves and track the success not just in the application but truly based on their skills, interest and personality in building their careers.
Vivekananda , who spoke about inculcating vital few skills of 3 to 5 for each student to perform for their living, Mahatma who spoke about financial stability and gurudakshina model of payment to teachers and Gurudev’s voices of inclusive education to all in a liberal form sans fear, seem to have been lost in the din. Teachers have the authority to teach without responsibility of the end result. Schooling for success is the need of the hour.
While there will be jobs created, excellence in output to outstrip growth patterns in the economy needs to be dealt with care and sensitivity. It is important that industry ready courses have to be designed and the right selection procedure of students for the right streams to be, surely, practised.
There is no time left and now we really need to do the backward integration, to get into the process so that the core value of education remains protected through imparting the core skills to every student to enable them to apply the same.
Yes, there will be variances, so to speak, not that every student shall be first in class, but nonetheless even the student with not so high “marks” shall have a way to find out his or her skill and obvious calling in terms of economic independence.
More focus on learning rather than studying for the exams, shall remove the fear from prevailing educational pattern and bring in the sense of quest for innovation, discovery and more.
Students who are pursuing careers need to choose their streams judiciously and go fearlessly to match their skills and passion to excel confidently in near future.
Once more I want to reiterate that teaching is an extremely admirable profession, it is time to send an earnest call to all students who have the passion and skills for teaching to join the profession so that the future generations’ education is no more compromised by providing them resources that are mediocre.
Let us remember the essence of successful learning process – ‘Relevant education to the relevant ability will lead to relevant jobs’.