At the launch of the second edition of the Smart India Hackathon 2018, (a Human Resource Development Ministry initiative) the Hon’ble HRD minister rightfully pointed out that students are slaves of coaching institutes and these institutes promote rote learning.
He further added, “Very few teachers like to be asked questions, and this has prevented the overall understanding of subjects and learning… This is the reason coaching centres are getting stronger.”
All though I realised that the Hon’ble minister is referring to coaching centres which advertise getting into IITs and IIMs easily, it left me with profound thoughts as to why parents and students opt and rely on coaching institutes. I am a product of a coaching institute myself, where I studied for three years from class 8 to class 10. I questioned myself, asking – why did all my fellow batch mates and I opt for coaching?
I was sent to the best school in my vicinity with all the facilities, academics and extracurricular activities which helped students in their all-round development. However, our lectures were time-bound, and there was a vast syllabus to be completed. Most of the time, the teachers would focus on completing the syllabus and ignore everything else. Hence, there was a dire need for coaching institutes which offered everything related to academics, and many students would entirely rely on coaching institutes.
So who sets the syllabus? The government? Since I studied from Maharashtra State Board, our textbooks said that it is set by the ‘Education Department of the State of Maharashtra.’
I would admit that the syllabus is an epitome of promoting rote learning and coaching classes are a reliable source to learn well and vomit in our papers because eventually, your percentage is a product of your rote learning and the passport to your college admissions. So why I do I bother to understand concepts when eventually I don’t have to think, I just have to mug up is the attitude of most of the students? Similarly, children simply do not need to bother to pay attention in school or participate in any activities because both the parents and children have the final aim for that perfect score for the perfect college.
A school or a college can provide best facilities, remarkable faculty and infrastructure. However, they certainly do not have any autonomy towards the syllabus. For me, educational reforms are a need of the hour which every government in power has always neglected. The government comes up with different programs and initiative and asks the youth to contribute. However, what they forget is that in the system they put place, children do not respond to these because they’re busy chasing the perfect score. We fail to understand that everything is interrelated and that success is interdependent.
We need to understand as a nation that education is an important component and it is crucial to impart sensible education. Every school and institutes are trying hard to give exposure to its students. However, it only ensures the all-around development of few bright students who can understand and baance studies and extracurricular activities. What about those who only focus on rote learning and miss out on all round developments and then get discouraged when they realise that they do not have enough practical and social skills?
It’s high time that the government introduces educational reforms and appoints educators and retired academicians to design and evaluate the curriculum every academic year. Because of the volatile world which is constantly changing, it is imperative to appoint academicians to ensure that the reforms are implemented and updated.
It is essential that the government partner’s with universities and provide opportunities to implement what they learn in a classroom, so there is a valuable education wherein every student becomes an ambassador for promoting Right to Education. This way, every student feels responsible and understands the magnitude of being educated and not just literate. We are known as a sensible nation but are easily offended. However, it’s time that we impart sensible education and be sensible, conscious citizens.
Education without values is certainly a complete waste. It’s not just the government, the school authorities and the teachers. We all need to contribute to this as parents and students by enjoying what we learn. I hope that the government introduces reforms in which moral values and character development are given priority.
Lastly, Let us remember the words of Margaret Mead, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”