Our country has successfully created one of the largest education systems in existence today. However, despite these extraordinary developments in the last few decades, further reforms are exceedingly necessary. The Indian government is now recognizing the real importance of education in the 21st century and has made a firm commitment to creating a knowledge-based society through legislation.
Globalization has brought about numerous opportunities for our country. More than half of our population is of working age and according to forecasts, by the year 2020 one quarter of the world’s labor force will be made up by Indians. Job creation is of central importance to the government as for its success this has to be the engine of economic development at later stages. In the Age of Information society, however, there is only demand for a well-educated, professional workforce. Therefore education is no doubt of paramount importance. The education system of the subcontinent’s largest country is still attempting to adjust to the challenges, but there is no doubt about the need for reform. In the past years, our governments have consciously striven to correct the errors of the old system, to adopt new developments, and to build a knowledge-based society that ushers not just creativity but also innovation.
The term ‘education’ is a common and popular word that is used by many of us but understood by a very few in its right perspective. Going back to its roots, it might appear to be as old as the human race, though during the course of time, its meaning and objectives have inevitably undergone a lot of changes. It is essential for one to understand the current needs, and requirements of education, its conceptual features and different perspectives that have shaped its meaning from time to time.
One might have often heard this statement that the Indian education system is preparing kids for a ‘rat race.’ There is a very pressing point which needs to be highlighted about “the race” that is not just the Indian education system or the society that has been successful in accomplishing its target of rote learning, memorization, and cramming. But, this wouldn’t have been possible without a green go from our end.
The very nature of this pressing problem is that today, in our society one’s ‘success’ is guaranteed but only at the cost of someone else’s failure. Today, failure is considered to be a crime. In case someone fails to reach the expected level of the society, people tend to alienate him/her without even understanding or knowing whether the expectation of the society is even worthy to be reached or NOT! The Indian education system now should focus on Failure as an attempt to learn from one’s mistakes. The famous quote “Failure is the stepping stone of success.” holds absolutely no meaning today as per the Indian society. Societal pressure to get into the “right position” may it be the “right schools” or “right college” is NOT solely for the individual’s educational growth but just to ensure a good job or marriage prospects. Our pseudo-competitive education system need not stresses this generation so much unnecessarily at early stages of life putting the learners in a situation where they simply have to fight for ‘success’ without actually knowing what exactly means to be a successful human being. Here is where the reform is required. “Success is not a destination; it’s a journey.”
And today, when one reads this line, he realizes its importance and how true it is as per the current scenario. Sayings like “don’t worry….marks don’t matter” is simply a lie. But, on the other hand, believing that marks are everything and it would solely decide your career, and your life is another delusion. The truth actually lies somewhere in the middle, and this is what we need to teach our kids. This is where the education industry’s role comes into the picture.
Our country’s higher education system, following the United States as well as China, is the third largest in the world because of the reforms and increasing investments, it is continuously growing. In between the years, 2001 and 2011 about 20,000 colleges were established, the number of students (i.e. those pursuing higher education) increased by 8,000 people (As a principle, the generation aged 18-24 is considered to be students of higher education.) Today, there are around 750 universities and 34,000 colleges in the country.
According to the current research, India might become one of the world’s largest higher education centers, as it is counting ever more on the participation of international students in the system, primarily owing to distance education.
The world’s largest educational Institution is the Indira Gandhi Open University with around 3.5 million students. The University Fellowship Committee (i.e., the most crucial coordinating body in higher education)– in subordination to the MHRD – which has the right of accreditation and thereby exercises de facto oversight over autonomous institutions.
Our education policy privileges modern scientific as well as engineering pieces of training. Therefore, over the years the primary universities and colleges specializing in these subjects have gained greater prestige. Jawaharlal Nehru University and Mumbai University have gained global recognition for their world-class programs. Nevertheless, amongst the 2018 global rankings two other Indian universities can be found among the top 200: Indian Institute Of Technology-Bombay surpasses the ‘QS India University Rankings’, with Indian Institute Of Technology Madras bagging the 3rd position, followed by Delhi at number 4, Kharagpur 5, Kanpur 6, Roorkee 9 and Guwahati 10 seizing seven of the top 10 positions. The rankings included Private Universities, Public Universities as well as various other HE Institutions or Deemed Universities. Single level institutions are also known as Single faculty specialist institutions (e.g. teaching principally at post-graduate level) were not included.
We need to simply understand that a learner is not a vessel that needs to be continually filled, but it’s a lamp to be lit to be spreading awareness about the upcoming demands and trends.
An educated individual as defined in the ‘good books’ of our society is one who has the ability to differentiate between what’s right and wrong, good and evil. There are two types of education- one that simply makes a life and on the other hand, the other that teaches one the art of living. Individuals cannot be categorized as good or evil simply by judging them, but it can be easily done by knowing about their choices and why they make them.
In order to combat the current issue, the MHRD has come up with multiple innovative interventions like:
- Improving Institutional Infrastructure,
- Periodical monitoring of results/output,
- Improving Institutional Quality/Output/Delivery,
- Promoting Networking Institutions,
- Focusing on Faculty Development Initiatives,
- Revamping the curriculum and Courseware etc.
Education simply cannot be categorized as a matter of handing medical books and a stethoscope to a child and then expecting him/her to be a proficient doctor. Education is also not just a degree as a degree tells us that a person and one has a lot of information in one area. But having a degree also doesn’t necessarily mean that a person has all the abilities as well as capabilities to live righteously. A person necessarily needs information to get educated, but on the other hand, having information doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is educated. There is a vast difference between the two.
There has been a paradigm shift as it has been observed that our education system has started identifying and rewarding learners who deserve the highest academic accolades. Our testing and marking systems have become effective and efficient enough to recognize original contributions, in form of creativity, problem-solving, valuable original research and innovation. Seeing a reformation here, the Indian education system would surely be able to achieve its set target. Memorizing is simply no form of learning; and here is where the education system is pitching in by incentivizing originality above memorizing.