Education is the backbone of every nation and therefore it is extremely important for any and every government to do its best not only in designing a great curriculum but also to ensure that the young population of the country get educated. India has more than 300 million school going students in the country with over 1.5 million schools and nearly 12,85,576 schools imparting elementary education as per a survey in 2010. India has 74.4% of literacy rate and around 50 lakh graduates pass out every year.
Indian Education system needs a change and it is needed now! The education system is very old and has not had significant changes since the British left it behind. It is important to question the existing system bit by bit and tear it down to understand what it lacks and build a robust system thereafter. Children are the future of a nation and providing them with a quality education is the need of the hour.
Approximately 1.5 million engineering students graduate every year and a whopping 81% of these graduates remain jobless. It is a shocking number and definitely calls for some serious thinking on the part of parents, students, and educational institutions. Most of the students that join the engineering courses have no clue on what they studied during their engineering and a chunk of them even seem to assume that they will start a job at the completion of their degree. Pressure from parents, lack of realistic goals by the students, payment quota/reservation seat system are some of the sore points that plague this issue.
It can be safely agreed that the basis of education needs to ensure that an educated person needs to know how to read, write, do the basics of arithmetic to handle the day to day operations if he/she has had the education of up to fifth grade. The curriculum from the grades 8 could use some modifications since it consists of a set of languages, mathematics, science, and social studies. At this stage, the curriculum cannot be designed to fit all and each student has his or her own interests by then.
Most often students of grade 8 and above have strong likes and dislikes and forcing mathematics and science sort of subjects upon them and setting them up for failure and depression in their budding age seems to be a total waste of life itself. An array of subjects could be set as electives so that the students choose the subjects as per their choice and can excel in it instead of failing in something that they study and do not even find it interesting.
Practicality is another key point that is missing in today’s education system. It is important to understand that there needs to be a practical purpose to the learning of any subject and a subject needs to be learned practically rather than theoretically. It is important to change the traditional and boring learning techniques and replace them with more fun and practical ways of learning. Curriculum for most of the subjects even at degree level enables the students to pass the subject. However, most of the students might fail if they attended a re-exam of the same subjects in six months. While the current education system needs a lot of work, it also doesn’t include many life skills in the curriculum.
Financial planning is a subject that has been ignored for far too long by the education board. Financial literacy is a very important skill and definitely plays a vital role in everyone’s life and should, therefore be added to the curriculum. If looked at closely a lot of today’s youth earns a huge income but does not seem to understand the savings part well. Learning to manage personal finance, save a part of their earnings, plan for the future are all very important aspects of personal finance but is not a part of the curriculum.
Personal finance taught to children in their formative years helps them to be better equipped to handle the challenges of adulthood. While personal finance has to be taught to children, it is also important to train the teachers in this subject. In primary schools every 9 out of 10 teachers are women. Training a female teacher certainly ensures a larger population learns how to handle personal finance. The earlier years it is taught from the better it is since it helps them plan early and be ready to face the challenges of adulthood.
Apart from the generic languages, mathematics, science, and social studies, there are many more important subjects that need to be added to the school curriculum. The current educational curriculum concentrates on a set of subjects that are no good for a practical life except the learning of it and passing exams. Swimming, dancing, cooking, carpentry, pottery, personal financing, gardening, painting, and various other subjects should be provided as elective subjects so that students can choose as per their likings and excel in it instead of learning some boring subjects and letting the future of the country to feel like failures.
Some of the other factors that are affecting the Indian education system and the measures that can be taken to correct them would be:
Focus on the teachers: While the quality of the educational curriculum needs to improve, it needs to start from the curriculum of the teacher training and other teacher education courses. There is a serious need to improve the hiring quality of teachers and train them extensively.
Counseling: All students start with a highly positive mindset. However, some of them in their formative years tend to run a risk of being misled and dropping out even before they complete schooling. Poor financial background, excessive mobile access/gaming, social media distractions are a few reasons for the students to lose focus. It is important to identify the students at the beginning of their moving off the track and providing them the necessary help. A counselor/counseling cell may be extremely helpful in bringing back the students to their goal and helping them in handling their personal fears and other challenges.
College savings for students with poor background: Most of the students who discontinue studies at schooling or graduate level do so due to their poor financial background. Encouraging a college savings plan or similar ideas from the government for the economically backward students would be of great help.
Educational loan: While a lot of students complete schooling, only a part of them reach and the number further trickles down at the master degree level and an exemplary educational loan programme might just be the answer for this issue.
A second chance at education: Students discontinue their education at different levels for a variety of reasons and a skilled/unskilled training in diversified fields that enables them to find a job at the completion of it would be a great solution.
It is time to accept the drawbacks of the existing educational system and make changes in line with the current digital world. Introducing various technology-based subjects, imparting training to the teachers, enabling the economically backward students to completion of education, introducing more practical methods of teaching, providing more options in terms of subjects from grade 8 and above, redesigning the curriculums at all levels are some of the measures that can be taken to change the Indian educational system today.