“साक्षर नही शिक्षित बनो”: The Need For Educational Reforms

Posted on April 22, 2013 in Education

By Abhimanyu Kulkarni:

“साक्षर नही शिक्षित बनो”
These were golden words said by Guru Gobind Singh, the true meaning of which we Indians haven’t been able to comprehend uptil now. We boast of having the best B-Schools (IIMs) and the best engineering colleges (IITs) in the world. And yet , We have just 7 Nobel Prizes to our name. Awards or Prizes in no way measure the worth of an individual , but this statistic goes on to show that our entire education system today revolves around cramming knowledge into our heads to score well. Nowhere does it teach us that we are supposed to use our own creativity and put that knowledge to practical uses.

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Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) recently announced a “open-book” section from class IX onward.  The move is a much-needed one and goes on to show that our educationists are trying their level-best to break the paradigm of rote learning. What I wonder though, is, if the students and their parents would welcome this move with the same fervor. Students would be handed out case-studies in every subject four months prior to their final exams. Now , what would stop the students from mugging up these case studies too. Even though the Board clarifies that the questions would be set in a manner as to test the conceptual understanding of the student ; it would be a tough ask as then the grading would not remain uniform. Every teacher would have to mark the answer according to his subjective parameters and not some set guidelines. This, in turn, could affect the further admissions of the students , which in our country are solely based on grades. This is a vicious cycle and breaking this rut would require a joint effort from all the cogs involved with the education system.

We need parents who would encourage their kids to follow their heart , even if that means choosing an off-beat stream/career. We need students who would reduce their reliance on Guides, Model Question Papers , Internet etc. and not be afraid to use their own mind. We need teachers who would take up teaching not as a profession , but for their passion. And most importantly , we need an education system that churns out good human beings and not just intelligent ones.

Just the way you can’t teach a cheetah to soar like a kite , and a kite to run like a cheetah ; similarly every child is special. And instead of burdening them with syllabus to mug-up, we should instead concentrate on imparting true knowledge of that subject to the child.

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