Monday, July 11, 2016

What is wrong with the Indian education system?

I have been teaching students some of the toughest courses since 1993. My analysis of the mainstream education’s failure to deliver is summarised in 5 points below.
  1. Wrong ownership - Colleges and schools are largely owned by people who have no stake in actual process of education inside the classroom. Typical owners - large landlords, business tycoons, real-estate moguls, politicians, civil servants (by proxy), liquor manufacturers, etc. Principals are powerless, teachers fixated by routines and Boards unwilling to radically alter their approach. So all pillars are ossified. Who’ll bring the change? Definitely not the ones not holding the chalk.
  2. Wrong models - Today, and here on, learning has to be truly border-less. While one needs a certain syllabus and boundaries to make it concrete, the free enquiry model of learning is nowhere present. Teachers themselves don’t know how to leverage the internet and technology to teach. Installing a so-called “smart” class is considered the ultimate leap into 22nd century. What a grotesque application of money to solve a deeply intellectual problem. Results are obvious. 
  3. Wrong grading process - Over the years, grades and marks have turned into a joke. Everyone with a decent effort scores so high, lacs emerge with perfect ten pointers. What’s the point? Boards compete with each other in ways not entirely productive to overall raising of standards. While this is all debatable, the grade inflation is killing a genuine separation of chaff from the grain. And in parallel, everyone is preparing for some competitive exam using entirely different yardsticks. This schizophrenia is perhaps unique to us! As a school-owner jokingly told me - “We know all parents know ki asli padhai to ghar par tuition laga kar hi karni padegi!” (real education will be only through personal tuitions at home)
    building blocks, schools, colleges, universities, learning, PT education, PT's IAS Academy, Sandeep Manudhane
    Re-imagining the building blocks
  4. Sham in the name of government schools - The most well-funded part of the education system - government schools - are largely broken. Until by law we make it mandatory for government servants’ kids to be educated only there, nothing will change. Just do that, and see the miracle in 5 years.
  5. Distorted social ideals - Society needs degrees for marriage, for jobs, for parties, for marriage receptions, for matrimonial advts, for prestige and for dowry. Skills are no one’s concern. And most companies only want genuine skills. No doubt, carpenters are earning thrice what normal engineering graduates are. And doctorates? You have to meet some of these newly minted “doctors” and have a 10 min rigorous discussion with them to realise why India has turned into a consumer nation, not a creator nation.
Indian mainstream education needs not just a rethink, it needs total redesign. Society and its drivers have changed dramatically in the past 10 years. More drastic changes are afoot. In that light, are we really prepared? With each year’s delay, we are consciously turning our demographic dividend into … you know what.

This article from Times of India dated 11-July 2016 by R Jagannathan summarise the jobs scene neatly. Yes, our education system is not responsible for this change that has happened, but it is responsible for responding appropriately. Students in schools and colleges have to be prepared for this world, not the one that existed 20 years ago. (you can zoom in to read)

Thanks for reading, and have a good day!

A comprehensive, topic-wise and useful collection of my various posts and answers can be found here. Enjoy.


Sahil said...

Points 3 and 5 are the strongest reasons. Today, with dilution of education standards,students getting 90% marks in board exams means nothing, few years back it used to be a feat few could achieve.
And even students from IITs and IIMs are not prepared for skills actually required for corporates. I have personally seen some extremely hardworking finance students from lower rung level colleges having more industry relevant skills than many students from these elite institutes who are kind of too much haughty due to their institute brands but do not care to actually learn valuable skills that are sought after by industry and yet want hefty packages.

Varun Sharma said...

"Until by law we make it mandatory for government servants’ kids to be educated only there, nothing will change. Just do that, and see the miracle in 5 years." No doubt the miracle will happen, but is there a legal way by which such a law can be put into force? I can't think of a way to enforce this under our Constitution.

Kashish said...

I would like to add some intel on the growing monopoly of the private schools due the lack of unaccountability on behalf of the Govt Schools.
The government spends more money per child than what a parent pays for a child in a private school, yet when results come it is invariably the children who study in private schools who get more marks.
This shameful situation can only be attributed to the total administrative failure of the department and the officials concerned. Government schoolteachers are, as a rule, better paid and more qualified than their counterparts in the private sector. It is true that the government schools do not get the best students. But then, it is the job of the teachers to put in extra effort to bring them up to the standard. That is what the parents expect from the teachers. Far from that, absenteeism has become the norm in government schools. Job security has, in this case, led to a feeling of complacency where some teachers even hire surrogates while they take private tuitions. Disparity is such that some schools don’t have any teachers, many have too few, while some are overstaffed.
The need of the hour is for the government to "link" performance and pay, shake itself out of its indifference and lethargy, streamline the administration and fill up vacancies in order to ensure a better future for schoolchildren.

Jigna said...

Also for some reason there is a generation of adults who are complacent and think of themselves as higher beings. For some reason they have this idea that they are extremely special and things will be served to them on a silver platter. I think schools are the places where they can get a reality check instead schools end up inflating these egos with useless awards and take home marks.

Unknown said...

1.Our education and work in our job is nowhere related: One of the good example for this is IT sector. There are about 25 – 30 branches are there in engineering but ultimately 90% students of all the branches jumps to
IT sector because of more job opportunities, wages and fast growth. According to Kondratieve waves for every 50 yrs system face high and low growth in one of the sector, considering this If really growth and openings are more in one of the sector education opportunity and encouragement should also be more in the relevant courses.
2. If any country is good in service sector automatically the country will develop. Currently in India we are providing service to business of other nations but in small scale, our current education system is certainly not working towards improvising the skill which we essentially need it for our work in our jobs. In most of the scenarios, in academics whatever we learn is not related to the work in our job. This is one of the main imbalance in our education system.
This also leads to lack in innovations.
3.less vision or no platform on R & D and innovations: Recently our government started the scheme of ‘startup India standup India’ to encourage the innovations there by industrialisation . basic requirement for success of the scheme is innovative ideas and caliber , soft skills , ownership capability . but our current education system is only restricted to text books rather than exploration .
4.Problem with teaching staff : Our government recruits talented teachers only but once they get job they stop learning new things and stick to monotonous work of teaching the same things which leads to down fall in education quality.

Unknown said...

absolutely right sir.

Anonymous said...

The ultimate aim of any kind of institution is that human well being.with the recorded history we have observed that what kind of well being is created by us
for our generation or the coming generation. Those people who have enough capability and understand the problem of our education system have to step forward as education system is the back bone of any society .Sir in my opinion you are not only a teacher but also a god being but please don't run toward always with your personal ambition.Sir if u understand it then let us take a forward step to address the problem we are always with you as student as a child as a defender.

Chennai Public School said...

It is a complete truth that the Indian education system needs reforms, the fact that education being turned into business is responsible for the sorry plight of the system today.

DIVYA said...

I just liked line "why India has turned into a consumer nation, not a creator nation"..... this line itself gives a brief about what scenario we are facing today.