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To Be Well ‘Educated’ Or Well ‘Trained’: Here’s Why This Is An Important Question For Indian Students

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By Gaurav Sharma:

If you have taken your initial education in India then you must have written small essays in school like ‘Importance of Education’. Well, same is the case with me. When I was a child, I used to think that being a student, it is my job to get an education. But now that I have grown up and become wiser, I figured out that it’s not an important job to get an education but it’s more important to be educated so as to get a job. Don’t you agree?

Education system

The education system in India is very harsh on kids and completely ignores their feelings, interests and ambitions. In fact, India has an exam system and not education system. Kids are pushed to study from the age of three and non-performers are treated as dolts and are often criticized by parents, teachers and the society. This creates a fear of failure inside each and every child as a result of which kids end up mugging each and every topic in their books. We emphasize on memorizing everything which restricts children from thinking independently. Students are no more curious to know and they simply don’t ask questions. They just remember things in one grade and spit it out in the next grade as they have to mug up fresh concepts again in successive grades. This makes them study only two or three days before examinations/tests and usually they waste their whole year/semester doing nothing. However, this exaggerated and unnecessarily hyped stress in education system dramatically makes India a country where people first become engineers and then figure out what they want to become. Isn’t that funny? A newly born starts telling eyes, nose, fan and ABCD even before he/she recognizes his/her own father!

Indian education is a forced model of education with an attitude of ‘you got to learn this’ while western education system allows everybody to learn with freedom i.e. ‘learn what you want to learn’ kind of attitude. We tend to study while keeping in mind the future possibilities and availability of jobs in respective market regardless of our interest and ambition.

Consider this example: Mr. Geek has a remarkable degree of interest in painting. He certainly wants to pursue his higher studies in related fields only. If Mr. Geek were residing in the USA, he would have definitely furthered his education in painting/arts. But unfortunately, Mr. Geek found himself in India and keeping in mind future possibilities of getting a job, he prefers to pursue any other professional degree course but definitely not painting. As simple as that!

Now consider this too. This happens in most of the Indian families. Mr. Nerd has an ambition of becoming a civil engineer. Luckily, he got selected in IIT JEE entrance. But either he can choose to pursue computer engineering from IIT Mumbai or civil engineering from IIT Delhi. He asked his parents, friends, relatives, neighbors and neighbor’s neighbor and came to know that pursuing computer engineering from IIT Delhi would make him able to grab more job opportunities than pursuing civil engineering. Every single family member told him not to pursue civil engineering if there are lesser chances of getting a well paid job as compared to computer engineering. Now what? Being an Indian student with typical mentality, he prefers computer engineering over civil engineering. To sum it up, Mr. Nerd suppressed his dream job/ambition in order to grab something which will provide him with glory (according to his parents, friends and relatives) in future. I mean who knows what is going to happen in the next four years? Just because Uncle Sam’s brother’s son has done computer engineering and is getting a well paid salary doesn’t guarantee you the same. Right?

Analyzing the current scenario and future scope of education in India, ‘Frank University of Outspoken Introverts’ (fictional, obviously!) has designed their admission prospectus, the first page of which looks something like this. (They are literally ‘frank’)

Admissions open for various professional degree courses. Admissions on first come, first serve basis.

# We offer a variety of courses but keeping in mind the future job opportunities, we will only admit you in Masters of crisis management so that you can manage yourself in case of any crisis i.e. unemployment.

## There is no entrance test because even taking an entrance test will not guarantee you a job.

Note: Educational investments in India have now become a subject to market risks. There can be no assurance that course objectives will be achieved. A degree from ‘Frank University of Outspoken Introverts’ is not a guaranteed or assured return of your investments. Please read the prospectus carefully before getting admission.

On a serious note, this should never happen. Authorities should raise the standards of teaching methodology in private as well as govt. schools and colleges. Emphasis should be given on practical aspects and this traditional exam system should be eliminated. Though I disapprove our practices of copying west in every sector but Indian education system can be improved definitely by adopting USA model of education. So, let’s make India a better place to learn and study. Start with your sons/daughters, make them well educated and not well trained.

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  1. amritanshu

    why is it that united states is accepted as the pedestal of everything in this world , education in contemporary scenario is facing the same issues globally which have been highlighted in your article and talking about USA multitude of parents are waking up to this concept and adopting radical steps such as homeschooling .

  2. Mehul Gala (@mahigala7)

    Instead of discussing hypothetical ideal-case scenarios, it would be better to look into the pages of reality. We all have ambitions and would want to purse a career in the field of our liking if given a choice but, at the end of the day, we have to pay our bills. Students, whose family’s financial background is not too strong, will almost always be forced to choose a academic course which gives them a stable and secure job to feed their family. Students coming from a financially well settled background have more liberty to choose what they want to become. Not many have similar fortunes. And any wise man will choose survival of the fittest over his ambitions. Don’t you think the same?

    1. Hemant

      We all like minded people must interact strongly, there are ways & means.

    2. Anirudh

      This mentality has brought us to a situation where there are too many ppl with engineering degrees leaving a considerable percentage of them jobless. … It is high time we realise that our system is not viable in the long run.. In case of education we should definitely take a few leaves out of the western school of thought…

  3. Mehul Gala

    Instead of discussing hypothetical ideal-case scenarios, it would be better to look into the pages of reality. We all have ambitions and would want to purse a career in the field of our liking if given a choice but, at the end of the day, we have to pay our bills. Students, whose family’s financial background is not too strong, will almost always be forced to choose a academic course which gives them a stable and secure job to feed their family. Students coming from a financially well settled background have more liberty to choose what they want to become. Not many have similar fortunes. And any wise man will choose survival of the fittest over his ambitions. Don’t you think the same?

  4. swati munjal

    Veryy true is ur say gaurav… Our country’s education system is just so not apt… Every word of urs seemed like my own experience..

  5. Gaurav

    good article. this article does not treat the subject with the gravity that it deserves though. this article is sprinkled with humor but the education system of india is very dangerous and morbid thing that has happened to indian citizens. it is a disgusting thing that has to be changed quickly. already many generations have been destroyed because of it. the full impact of the so called education system is still not clear. i have written a lot on state of the education system. i hope now that the modi govt is in power it will do something about it

    1. Hemant

      Gaurav, action is required. All know about the pain & suffering it, too.

  6. Mehul Gala

    @Gaurav: Pointing to the problems is an easy task. We all know the current system is not good enough. What solutions do you propose to revamp it? And you said our system is an exam system. Well, what system do you propose? The one without exam? Or something else out of the box? Do reply!

    1. Hemant

      Mehul, I endorse your comments. I am working on the solution. I need more like minded people to support the endeavors. Kindly join http://www.facebook.com/groups/kaberi to know more about. Regards.

  7. Saloni

    The new system introduced by C.B.S.E is on modern lines & it lays more focus on practical work.
    So yes, the system is modifying bit by bit.
    What I feel is that along with a new education system which focuses more on practical & real world situations, we also need to have better college, less of reservation, more courses & employment opportunities.
    Getting a good college is so difficult after twelfth that the children cannot help but feel pressurized. Even if they want to, they cannot pursue their interests because of lack of time & too much course! Also the ever increasing competition.
    So I feel we need more GOOD colleges with a vast number of courses. The concept of reservation also needs to be TOTALLY abolished.
    Only then can any new system thrive in India.

  8. Shahin

    Hi, I’m Indian but I live in the US. Your educational experience as described above is what I’ve heard from many people who’ve lived in India. I grew up in the US and I think you painted the US educational system with a broad stroke of a paintbrush called ‘generalization.’ The US education professionals are crying about the policies and standardized testing procedures that are put in place by the federal government. Children are being treated unfairly, they are being held back, they are being tested unfairly and unnecessarily. I’m studying to be a teacher right now and I have to say, from my studies I’ve learnt that the US education system is making it harder and harder for students to learn. Yes, in US schools, there is a lot of encouragement for imaginative play at an early age and for creativity, but that does not mean that there is an attitude of “learning what you want to learn”–that only happens in college.

    And minority students (of diff. ethnic backgrounds) are discriminated against, but on the policy-making scale, so the average people sometimes remain unaware. There are policies subtly designed to keep non-White (and poor) people from reaching the top.
    People view US education system as one of the best in the world, but I think that can only apply to some colleges and universities. As for schools, children would be better off in England, Finland or elsewhere.
    Besides, *every* immigrant student, esp. Indians, perform better than many other people when they come here from India, because India has higher standards of learning.

    Just the facts.

  9. mahigala7

    The point that I liked the most in the above article is ‘people first become engineers and then figure out what they want to become’. This is Absolutely true and this is the biggest shame of our existing system. I’ve seen people who have solved complex algebraic equations, understood laws of physics and periodic tables of chemistry and are now selling t-shirts to masses through their online start-up. Who the f**k need all those scientific knowledge to sell graphic t-shirts? What a waste of an engineering seat which a far more deserving candidate could have occupied.

  10. Hemant

    Dear Gaurav, the issues regarding education system were well raised, during our class room interactions, a few years before while you were doing your BMC.
    I am wondering it took so many years for you to understand & reproduce the feeling.
    It is not very necessary to define the short comings of our education system but to do something constructive, possible.
    Are you in ?

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