WHEN ARE WE GOING TO BRING REAL CHANGES IN OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM ?
Education plays a great role in shaping our destiny. We are all aware of its importance but our policymakers are, apparently, not aware of this great fact. Perhaps they do not believe in waking from deep slumber. The quality of education in our schools and colleges has deteriorated with time. Despite being an area of great concern, education sector has suffered heavily at the hands of our policymakers. Half hearted attempts to renovate it have further tarnished its image.
Education says Radhakrishnan should not be equated with literacy and accumulation of factual knowledge. Sadly, our education system is aimed at turning student into godown of unnecessary details. There is no denying of the fact that India in recent past has made tremendous progress in fields like science, business and technology and that we have produced spectacular results in several prestigious branches of engineering. What we don’t realize- amid glitter of success achieved- is that we have trapped ourselves in all sorts of complexities. As a result of widespread confusion around us the things like scams, violence marred cities and political upheavals, to name a few, have become order of the day. To sole reason for rise of complex persona could rightly be attributed to bad education.
The number of students enrolled has increased from 17.9 million in 1961 to 72.4 million in 1991. The enrollments have shot up and the school system expanded substantially but there still exists huge number of children who have never visited the school. Above all, the drop outs are also major source of worry. On the top of it, poor standard of teaching in government run schools is not allowing the students to be at par with education offered in foreign countries. How many institutions of ours can claim a place among top institutions of world? I am sure there will only be one or two such institutions. Against this backdrop, it’s not hard to understand the fate of child who wants make a career in foreign worlds.
The teachers in villages are devoid of facilities to make students develop greater interests in their subjects. The schools in villages are not in good shape. They do not provide safe environment for little children. We have witnessed many tragedies in past that claimed lives of many students. Probably, that’s why in villages the enrollment rate is below desired rate, especially of the girl students. We are also far behind in “ universalisation ” of elementary standards of education is proving to be elusive. It has become some sort of challenge for educationists of our times.
The second largest education system has suffered due to over emphasis on the quantitative expansion of knowledge. Education should culminate in the growth of wisdom which lies in tolerance, understanding, and catholicity of outlook, compassion and humility. It should emancipate the mind from the tyranny of prejudice –personal, social, national, religious, linguistic, racial, and ideological-to “clear mental cobwebs” and “put the minds in order”. Education is meant “not to fill an empty vessel but to turn the eye of the soul towards light.” (Plato)
In a country like India for the successful panning and implementation of programmes we must have projects keeping in mind the ground realities. However, most of the programmes started to reform the education system have either perished or are being carried out in haphazard manner. I wonder what’s going to be the fate of initiatives of Mr Kapil Sibal. There have always been lack of sincere effort on the part of our policy makers .Lack of research and poor work method have led top untimely death of many ambitious schemes to reform the education system. Like all other areas, the education system has also fallen prey to political whims and fancies. Interestingly, budgetary allocations have been constantly increasing. However, there is urgent need for optimizing the utilization of these funds. Till now they have been used on activities hardly concerned with education. Ironically, teachers in villages are more busy in ensuring success of mid day meal programme rather than concentrating on teaching.
True education is three dimensional and should cater to needs of the body, the mind and spirit. It is the third dimension “the culture of soul” which is missing in our education system .The third component is value based, value oriented education which is assimilated by exposure to the humanistic discipline, literature and philosophy, religion etc. Such an exposure will humanize the students, raise them to higher level and make them alive to deeper values .The moral and spiritual components constitute the true cornerstone of education. Sadly, instead of generating a sense of national pride and self respect the educational policies lay emphasis on intellectual efficiency.
The pursuits of intellectual goals never allow students to get attached to finer aspects of life-search of true knowledge and cultivation of character and discipline. The critical scientific attitude, which should have been blended with spiritual attitude for development of better personality, has only produced only one dimensional growth.
‘We split the nucleus and now nucleus is splitting our lives’ is a view that highlights the futility of vain pursuits having nothing to do with growth of human beings and human society in proper way. We have failed to develop a vision that could enable one to witness the universe as one single entity. It’s time to reshape our education system and bring it at par with divine attributes which in turn is going to make such vision a reality. .