There was an interesting discussion on CNBC TV recently about whether the education system in India is better than the US. We have covered the pros of the Indian education system in the previous article. Now, we will discuss its cons or areas of improvement.
Areas of improvement
Most of the students in India find themselves in technical schools & colleges without their interest and passion for the subject. The result is— inefficient and dissatisfied employees. India has a literacy rate of 66%, and the budget of Indian education system is nearly Rs.1 lakh crore (US$17 billion). Indian education system is also considered to be one of the oldest in the world. Nalanda University, which was founded in the fifth century A.D., was the first university to be established anywhere in the world. Currently, Indian education system is offering the world the finest technocrats, educationists and entrepreneurs.
There are around 3400 engineering colleges in India, which are approved by the AICTE, the regulatory body in India. The total seats available in these colleges are more than 1.1 million. Out of these engineering colleges, 65% are in the Southern India and 35% in the North. Similarly, there are around 350 medical colleges imparting MBBS degree course. Out of these 350 colleges, 160 are government colleges, and the rest are private. The total seats available in these courses are around 65,000. So, engineering, medicine, education, science, law and management are the most sought after careers in India.
Basic flaws of the system
In a random survey, it was found that most of the boys were interested in a career in engineering, whereas most of the girls wanted to become a doctor post their 10+2 graduation. It was also observed that for most of the Indian students, the choice of a career is largely influenced by parents. Young students are discouraged from going for their own chosen professions. Most of the Indians feel that the present Indian education system is gifted to them by the British, and its aim was to churn out more and more qualified servants for the British Empire.
It is a well known fact that Indian education system has serious flaws in it. There is a serious lack of functional literacy. Lack of scope for creativity is another serious flaw. Most of the curricula are based on textbook knowledge with little focus on the field. So, it is more of academics with no serious practical exposure. There are disparities in various streams. Vocational streams are always looked down upon in Indian education system and there are only three or four career options available for everyone. If you want to take up a career of your choice, you will have to rebel against your parents and society.
Old fashioned and traditional methods
Indian education system is still struggling with the chalk and talk style of teaching. Multimedia, technology and computers are not fully integrated into the education system. Another serious flaw of the system is the lack of world-class research facilities. If you don’t follow the outdated curriculum and research, you’re out of the system. This system also encourages private tuition, because of heavy emphasis on bookish knowledge and it is despite the fact that students spend around 7 to 8 hours studying in schools. It increases the tendency to mug up theory and discourages creativity and curiosity.
Lack of creativity
Most of the students are force-fed with theoretical knowledge. But, when we look at the most successful people in the world, these were the people who followed their passion at a young age. IITs are considered to be the most reputed technical schools in India, but unfortunately people go there as part of a rate race and for a better financial future rather than for some “real technical pursuit”. Even the best minds in India do not have a future plan!
The first step towards improving Indian education system, is to integrate technology into it as it is considered to be the best way to impart education nowadays. Teachers should be trained to use technology in the classroom. Efficient counseling should happen at high school level, so that students can take the right decision about their careers. They should be presented with all the options and streams that are available to them. Practical approach should be introduced in the classrooms as Prof. Walter Lewin did in the MIT, while teaching physics, in order to produce world-class students. Sports and extracurricular activities should also be encouraged at the school level. Parents should stop the tendency to impose a career on their children. Rather, it should be left to the students to decide what they want to choose as a career.