India is currently the only country with a population above 1.4 billion. The majority of that population consists of students and young adults. The percentage of young adults receiving education is steadily increasing. However, the education system is still running on antiquated cogs.
Education in India has always strived to turn out ideal students. Students who rely on rote learning and retain textbook knowledge do not defy parental expectations. Unfortunately, such students experience several shortcomings when dealing with real-world problems.
Schools often teach us how to calculate, spell, and obey but rarely allow us to question, theorize, or create. Students follow a strict curriculum, and any deviation from the curriculum labels them as ‘bad’ students.
Indian education has several flaws, the biggest being a rat race to the top. Students strive to be the best while forgoing basic developmental skills. Parents often put their children into coaching classes and extracurriculars without asking for their consent. Thus, students are left to deal with a heavy burden without help.
While we can state that parents are not at fault for following educational guidelines, they are responsible for checking in with their children. Often, Indian students experience severe stress and other mental health conditions detrimental to their physical health. At times, students also resort to extreme measures to escape the confines of this educational prison.
The worst aspect is the race to gain top marks in every examination. The moment a high-achieving student falls a few marks short of their 'potential', teachers and parents alike hound them. They do not question why their marks dropped but blame them and their normal teenage behaviour for their low grades.
The Indian education system also brings about other issues among students. Class toppers seemingly bully and rag the underachievers and slow performers. Ragging is an initiation ritual most commonly practised in higher education institutions. Senior batchmates humiliate new students with words or physical acts. They at times make the new students engage in degrading acts that chip away at their self-confidence. Thus, it leads to self-esteem issues among the students. It also leads to a divide in the classroom and fosters an ‘elitist’ mindset.
The Indian education system also prioritizes certain classes of students over others. Students with the means to use certain facilities receive more opportunities than those who cannot. It also applies to extracurricular activities where high-achieving students take priority over underachievers. There is a bias among the faculty that high-achieving students are more capable and creative than their underachieving counterparts.
Another downfall of the education system is the need to excel in all spheres of life. It includes educational, creative, physical, emotional, etc. Although schools give students the opportunities to harness necessary skills, they are rarely applied daily, resulting, at times, in students who have recently graduated appearing to be socially inept in the open college environment.
Schools in metropolitan regions such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore are also notorious for spoonfeeding their students; children from these cities are used to the special care schools provide. Schools believe that such care will cultivate ideal students. Unfortunately, these children are often unprepared for life outside the city and struggle with the daily skills necessary for day-to-day survival.
Speaking of survival, several schools have done away with home sciences and other daily necessary skills. In Mumbai, Maharashtra, home sciences and other vocational courses are electives for students diagnosed with learning disabilities. Such prejudice showcases that students with learning disabilities are only capable of learning skills unrelated to education. However, such subjects benefit all students. Thus, the curriculum should include them.
The Indian education system also blinds students with outdated history and geopolitical education. Until recently, secondary education textbooks focused on the Mughal empire and other ancient history texts. Students rarely have the chance to catch up on contemporary history. It makes them seem aloof and distant from current events. Events regarding India and other countries are also taught in a guarded manner so that they do not offend any party. It inherently instills a bias in the students against certain races and cultures.
Thus, it is necessary to bring about a change in the current Indian education system. The higher-ups will stonewall the changemakers and make it difficult. However, we are responsible for providing a wholesome education to our students. We also hold the responsibility to raise citizens who can change the world.
We can start by introducing contemporary issues into the curriculum, as India has established itself as a global power. It will enable students to view the relations between India and other nations without bias.
We can also take the focus off of extracurricular activities and allow students to have designated leisure time. It will ensure that they can decompress while still staying on schedule. While these measures may seem small, they will eventually bring about radical changes in the future educational system of India.
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