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6 Reasons Why Subject Specialization Should Be Introduced Earlier In Indian Schools

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By Neelabjo Mukherjee:

I don’t want to study Maths. It scares me like hell! Why should I even bother to study history? I am going to be a scientist!”

It’s very common to hear Indian teens complaining about their subjects and their absolute dislike for a few which just don’t seem to interest them. For some, Mathematics is nothing short of a living nightmare while for many History and Geography are major mood dampers. In fact, for a number of students nothing is more joyful than passing the 10th standard because that finally gives them the opportunity to choose and study the subjects of their choice. In these circumstances, I enlist a few reasons why specialization should be introduced earlier in Indian schools.


1)Varied talents and interests: By the time a child of today enters his teens he is more than equipped to understand his areas of interest. For some it may be music, for some it may be science and for some it maybe journalism or something else. Today’s job market provides ample opportunities for one and all, so every child should be allowed to follow his dream from an early age.

2) Less time to focus on area of interest: In an academic system where every teen has to read no less than 7 or 8 subjects it becomes increasingly difficult to concentrate solely on the subject of your interest because one has to pass in anything and everything that’s in the curriculum.

3) More number of subjects, more number of tuitions: Private tuition has become a part and parcel in the life of today’s student. Very often students, especially the first generation learners are provided tuitions in each and every subject for better grades and scores. Thus, more number of subjects implies more number of tuitions for these poor souls whose spend their evening in tuition classes rather than hitting a ball or two in the field.

4) Stress: It’s now very common to find children with dark circles under their eyes and tired, sunken faces. It’s all a result of their increasing workload and packed schedules which leave no time for any fun activity. Excessive number of subjects only adds to their burden and leave no time for any fun. In fact there has been a widespread increase in the number of students who have to visit psychologists on a regular basis for stress management.

5) Too expensive for the economically backward classes: For those coming from not-so-affluent homes it is but a luxury to spend so much money on a huge number of books and equipment like laboratory tools and coats. If a student goes on to study Commerce or Humanities it is also a waste for their parents to spend on science lab equipment, because it would never really help them in the long run.

6) No retention of knowledge: One does not really remember what one studies if there is no interest in the subject. It’s impossible for a scientist to remember Akbar’s land policy or a historian to remember each and every Mathematical theorem. Most students who don’t feel interested in a subject tend to mug up and vomit the content in their upcoming exams, a tradition that has passed on through the ages. Is it really an encouraging side of our education?

I know that in spite of these reasons a lot of my readers will continue to feel that every child needs to study all subjects ranging from History to Physics till his first board exams for a well-rounded, comprehensive education. But is the objective really fulfilled if one simply mugs up the subject of dislike, only to forget what they learnt, in the long run?

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  1. Manuj Jindal

    I’m not sure who approved this terrible piece of writing here. The argument is: since Indian children simply mug up all the subjects and forget it quickly, we should have specialized subjects. How is introduction of specialized subjects an answer to mugging up and forgetting, and stress and other problems quoted above? Is there research to support that specialization at such an early age solves the problem of mugging up and forgetting, and stress etc.? The answer lies in a more comprehensive learning process. Education should focus on new techniques in learning, examining and applying it to daily tasks in life. Secondly, education is not a means to an end, i.e., it is not meant to guarantee jobs and vocations. Education is a life long process of expanding the mind, learning many things. Even in the corporate world, the most successful leaders are jacks of all trades – they love to dabble in sort of things. Let’s not create a vacuum around education. Let’s not isolate it to a few subjects and courses. Let our youth study whatever they like until college, and specialize in the real world. That’s what will create an open-minded generation which understands multiple issues. And honestly, tell me one thing Neelabjo (since you’re in the writing world, you should know it the best), aren’t the most interesting and well-versed people the ones who have a background in multiple areas? Wouldn’t world be simply a boring, dull, vocational sort of a place if our teens studied just one subject? Come on, you’re smarter than that.

    1. Jaina Deshmukh

      I totally agree with Manuj. I must disagree with the author here, who assumes that specialization is the only way to succeed in life. That certificate, that board number you receive saying you passed is only a reflection of your hard work and/or memorization skills. In the long run, you are not going to use more than 25% of your college education. You are going to use creativity and thinking skills more than all the (mostly) useless facts that you memorized. I agree that it seems a waste- but learning is not just to pass the exam or to win the award. Learning is to enrich you and give you the skills to succeed in life. Teens have no clue about what to do until they are old enough, and quite frankly, 10th standard is too young. My American cousin tells me that in the second year of college (KG-12th grade =school, after that is college) Americans choose what to specialize in, giving them the opportunity to explore different fields. Many of use were told to go in medical fields or engineering fields by our parents, and unknowingly, we went along with it. This is not to say that our education is bad, we just have lots to improve upon.

    2. neelabjo

      Listen I do agree that a background in multiple areas will always make you are more enriched,enlightened,well versed and interesting individual.For the matter I am an engineering student and even i dabble at writing which is not even remotely related to my engineering curriculum.
      Now for you education might be a means of attaining enlightenment but for many and i repeat many education is only and only about getting a good job and a fat salary.In a country like India a huge of chunk of people have to work enormously hard to give their children a education..For them education is only an investment which has to yield a return or else it has no benefit.You or I have no right to criticise them because at the end of the day we cannot empathize with their struggle .So its essential that education does not only make you are charming individual with a huge deal of knowledge which is of no use in any job interview.The education system,in my very humble opinion,should be directed towards identifying the skills and expertise of every individual which should be sharpened and bettered with practise in order to attain a certain degree of employability.Simply speaking if you are a (mediocre)Jack of all trades and master of none then you have to simply deal with the pangs of poverty.I believe this process of finding your zone of specialization should be initiated as early as possible in order to ensure that every individual can go on to make a mark rather than get lost in the cacophony of millions.
      Lastly Mr. Manuj Jindal I must thank you so much for being patient enough to read up this “terrible” piece of writing and giving you extremely important views.Means a lot.Thank you 🙂

    3. Jaina Deshmukh

      I’m not insulting ANYBODY that has to work hard for their child’s quality education, as my parents worked tirelessly too for mine. My problem is not even when people do a major for a “good job and a fat salary,” it is when they are forced to do against their will for the very same reason. People in the workplace must be a well rounded person for any job whatsoever. I am in psychology, which is a very promising field, even if you don’t agree with what i’m saying.

  2. Vishal Anand Sharma

    A general idea about the world for you Neelabjo that we are a civilized race of animals! Aren’t we?? so why do want to make our society a place filled with trained monkeys in which some know how to juggle a ball and may be some know how dance on a chair. we are talking about education over here not training people to do menial work to earn their living. Imagine a crowd of people in which none have anything to talk about with each other. someone is into politics or may be a history student who doesn’t know how the exhaust from the cars are such a threat to our atmosphere or may be a science student who has no idea how and why the prices of commodities in India is inflating or how does the Indian economy works. An overall knowledge of each subject is not only necessary but also should be made compulsory for students if we want an educated and not a trained generation ahead of us.

    1. neelabjo

      Mr.Vishal,I would rather prefer a country with trained monkeys as you put it rather than millions of undernourished,famished individuals who are trampled by the “upper classes” on a daily basis.For your information there are newspapers,there is television and there is always the internet to gain knowledge on contemporary issues.You dont need to sit for exams and burn the midnight oil for doing that.
      It sounds very hunky dory to have children having a great deal of knowledge on every other subject but unfortunately it does not work out exactly in that way.Most of the knowledge is not retained and it simply does not add up in the long run.

  3. Gaurav Maheshwar

    I have my masters from one of the biggest college of USA and currently teaching in engg colg of India and after reading this article I strongly agree with the authors view point. Indian education is collapsing very badly becoz of Pressure cooker system. We didnt learn anything after watching 3 idiots. Our education system, starts haunting kids from school days by only focusing on how to get marks. Nobody looks into a students capability or creativity. For example, in an engg colg, nobody asks a student what u want to learn or whats ur passion. All they get is 4 yrs of fixed course structure. Indian education is just distributing degrees rather than producing creative engg. While in USA, they starts choosing their interest subject early on in school days and in engg they choose what they want to study. Neelabjo hit the right point but in little vague manner. Good work author 🙂

    1. neelabjo

      ^Why thank you!! 🙂 🙂

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