By Vaibhav Kathuria:
Right from the time a child is born throughout his life time he is in a constant state of learning and finding new things in order to better equip himself to face the world.Â The dictionary meaning of education is as follows: ‘Education’ (also called learning, teaching or schooling) in the general sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character, or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, and values from one generation to another.Â Â Â Such is the scope of the education that providing the right, equal, and relevant education should hence be a matter of utmost priority forÂ the policy makers in the country.
But sadly education in India is in a state of dilemma. Â Â Starting at the school level, there are large queues of parents outside the good schools of the city for seeking admissions. And then there are interviews for students to even enter kindergarten classes.Â This year there was aÂ new policy introduced which was aimed at reducing stress for students in the 10th grade , the students were given the option to either give the boards or not and there was a grade point system introduced which required internal evaluation by the school. But the policy was so unclear asÂ to how students had to be graded that even school teachers got confused as to how it is going to work, leave alone the students. As the policy stressed so much on internal evaluation by the school, there was no standardÂ common way of grading students (different schools evaluated differently) Â but the mark sheets were given by the CBSE . Thus, a bright student in one school was given less marks (in the CBSE mark sheet) in a school whereÂ theÂ evaluation was stricter than aÂ less brighter student in another school whoÂ wasÂ given more marks due to lenient internal evaluation.
Coming to the college level, a student has to face the brunt of so many exams with so many reservations to get into such less numberÂ of colleges. And even these institutions are not up to the satisfactory level in terms of providing quality education. The Times Higher education survey is used as one of the most authenticÂ parameters of judging a university by international standards.Â Sadly in this year’sÂ Â rankings , none of the Indian universities were there in the top 200 of the world’s best universities. Â CountriesÂ Â smaller in size than India such as Singapore and Hong Kong have a significant number of universities in the top 200 of the world. The Republic of South Korea, Finland and many European countries have their esteemed universities in the top 200. But sadly, none of our universities figure in those rankings.Â The University of Singapore and the Nanyang University (in Singapore) started only some years ago, but with their global programs they have made tremendous progress and now are one of the best in theÂ world. Though our treasured institutions that is, some Â of the IITs,Â IIMs , and IISc do figure in the Asia’s top 100 colleges, but then even these are not many.
Thus instead of helping the youth of the country to become better citizens , the education sector today isÂ creating citizens who are more stressed out and confused. The education syllabus which was laid years ago in some of the best institutions of the country , is still being followed today, with no upgradation to the changing technologies.
Swami Vivekananda points out that the defect of the present-day education is that it has no definite goal to pursue. A sculptor has a clear idea about what he wants to shape out of the marble block; similarly, a painter knows what he is going to paint. But a teacher, he says, has no clear idea about the goal of his teaching. Swamiji attempts to establish, through his words and deeds, that the end of all education is man-making. He prepares the scheme of this man-making education in the light of his over-all philosophy of Vedanta.Â Â In his words: ‘Thus Vedanta says that within man is all knowledge even in a boy it is so and it requires only an awakening and that much is the work of a teacher.’ To drive his point home, he refers to the growth of a plant. Just as in the case of a plant, one cannot do anything more than supplying it with water, air and manure while it grows from within its own nature, so is the case with a human child. Vivekananda’s method of education resembles the heuristic method of the modern educationists. In this system, the teacher invokes the spirit of inquiry in the pupil who is supposed to find out things for himself under the bias-free guidance of the teacher.
We need to understand that the education sector needs more colleges, better quality of education and better framed policies to education.