What ails the education system?

Publicado: 5 agosto 2022 a las 2:00 pm

Categorías: Artículos

India/ 05 August, 2022/ Source/ https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

By Vk Muthu @Ezhil

The genuine purpose of education is to see that people get educated.  ‘Getting educated’ connotes a wider horizon and not mere acquisition of degrees and diplomas.  Since literacy opens the door to a wider world, it is expected to improve the wisdom of the population, which is essential for a progressive society everywhere.

As the population increased, the demand for education also increased and as a result many disciplines also evolved.  This increased demand necessitated the advent of examination system, which became necessary to test whether a candidate had acquired the requisite level of proficiency in a particular subject or field.  The intention of the examination is to see that the society is not subjected to difficulties because of the services of bogus and substandard individuals.

What is the status of present day education?

There is a common feeling that the present day education is misdirected.  Personal gain has become the central motive in education.  Instead of equipping the learners with knowledge and skills educational institutions are busy in churning out degree and diploma holders. The student community is tutored to study only from the examination point of view.  Majority of students never get conditioned to the field in which they undergo training (attitudinal change).    Normally the process of education should instill knowledge and skills, which will condition the candidate for a specific job.  But now as aspirants go for different courses with only employment and money in mind, instead of getting tuned to the disciplines, they get conditioned only to earning money.   In the process scholars become cutthroat competitors who take recourse to unhealthy and uneducational practices to score high marks with a view to survive.

The environment in the educational institutions is not conducive to foster friendship and camaraderie among youth.  Mere paper degrees, which do not bring about attitudinal change, become dangerous tools in the wrong hands.  The adverse effect caused by the large number of degree holders (not educated persons) is already being felt in many fields.  Everybody wants to go for higher studies (irrespective of one’s aptitude) mainly to escape from physical labour  which fetches only meagre wages as it is considered menial by the misguided society.  So we find that lack of dignity of labour has played this mischief of high demand for education.  Making use of this high demand, unscrupulous elements have entered into the educational arena in large numbers and have made the entire educational process a commercial venture.  The mushrooming growth of coaching centers, tutorial colleges and aids in the form of ‘Notes’ even for primary classes well indicate the commercial situation that prevails in the educational field.  Don’t we see now that most of the bureaucrats (IAS holders), doctors, engineers and also many others are misfits in their respective fields?  Most of those categories owe their present positions to the wrong path pursued in our education system.   It is the rote learning that has catapulted them to their present high positions.  If aptitudes were the criteria for selection to various disciplines, many of the present day specialists would not have found their way into the positions they now hold.

It is distressing to note that the present educational system helps only the greedy and the cunning to acquire high tech degrees and pose as meritorious persons.  Application of knowledge, acquired though education, for common good is conspicuous by its absence in these so called bright students.  Another disheartening thing is the way merit is decided in the examination and employment oriented education system.  The fact that the intelligent will not have interest in scoring high marks but will only be keen to  learn the subject and it is mostly the mediocre who work long hours to score high marks is not understood at all.  It is very easy to infer that the real motive of these hard working lots is to capture coveted positions of power and money and not service of society.    Large-scale scams involving IAS bureaucrats brought to light in recent times amply illustrate this fact.

The present examination system, quite often, tests only the memorizing capacity of our scholars instead of examining their proficiency in the subject.  Memory may be important but it is not the only virtue of intelligence.  Intelligence of scholars should be tested by finding out how they apply the learnt facts and not by testing their ability to reproduce from memory. This serious distortion of examination system has crept in because of society’s changed value system which has enslaved even the educationists.

Educationists have proposed common entrance examination to select the meritorious after scrapping the interview system.  Personal interviews, when conducted properly, will certainly bring to light the personality of the candidates and help in assessing their suitability or otherwise.  But because of the large-scale corruption, favouritism and nepotism seen in the interview system of screening due to political, social and personal pressures, it was dispensed with.  So, we find that the aptitude of scholars is not tested for selection to various fields of study and educationists rely entirely on the performance of scholars in the qualifying and entrance examinations, for merit.  This arrangement also, as can be expected, has given access to many pseudo-intelligent people who by their sheer capacity to reproduce in the examination from memory, to get into various fields.  The question bank system is another invention, which has contributed, in no small measure, to the ills in the educational system.  It can be easily inferred that   it will take away the need to use one’s ingenuity in answering questions and therefore will facilitate only rote learning.

Educational Institutions are the most important places next only to the homes in shaping the character of younger generations.  If learners, instead of learning the subject and acquiring a good character, learn only to get a degree and employment it is a dangerous trend.  We find that the society now pretends to know pretty little about this danger as it has become materialistic totally.  Everything is rated based on money.   Degrees in medicine, engineering etc are much sought after because of the potential they have to make a lot of wealth.  Passion for material comforts as highlighted in different media has blinded people’s common sense and conscience. In such a social scenario, people misuse their ill-gotten wealth to purchase even education.   Yes, education has become a purchasable commodity.  Don’t we see that self-financing colleges sell their seats?  This has been made legal by no less an institution than the Supreme Court of India!  Merit changing colours depending upon the money paid is something beyond comprehension but it is being accepted as normal and correct by the misguided and materialistic society! In a nutshell it can be said that the present day education creates only misfits.

What is the remedy?

The remedy lies only in changing the attitude of our society.  Materialistic and caste-ridden society should be retrieved from the clutches of these evils.  Only mass movements can do this.  India needs mass movements to release the population from the stranglehold of materialistic aspirations much more than a large number of high-tech paper degree holders.  If our degree holders are to be really useful, these mass movements are absolutely essential.    The public in general and the student community, in particular, should be enlightened on the causes of ills in the education system and their grave impact on the welfare of society at large.  The student community blinded by commercial culture should be made to understand that they get their education and status because of the opportunities provided by society and without society’s help they can become nothing.  Most of them now are under the wrong impression that they are educated to become doctors, engineers, etc. by their parents.  They simply do not understand that it is impossible for parents individually to create institutions and opportunities to educate their children.  The fact that parents only transmit their genes to their offspring but it is only the society that provides opportunities and avenues for the expression of the genetic potential of individuals should be driven home strongly in the minds of the student community.

The society should be enlightened on the fact that imparting an education that will not help to foster friendship and love among the youth along with specific skills and knowledge is like giving alcohol only as a staple food for the people.   Alcohol, devoid of other essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins and minerals, can supply only empty calories and so in the long run spoil the physiological systems of the human body. Similarly acquiring mere skills and knowledge without human qualities of love and friendship may help to get immediate employment but in course of time will seriously affect the very functioning of the social system.  It is pertinent to note here what Alfred North White has said about the role of universities in education –“The tragedy of the world is that those who are imaginative have but slight experience and those who are experienced have feeble imagination.  Fools act on imagination without knowledge.  Pedants act on knowledge without imagination.  Youth is imaginative and the task of a University is to weld together imagination and knowledge” (Education Today August, 93).

It is high time that we put our heads to this great crisis that has enveloped the education system and try seriously to direct it to proceed on the right path.  Let us remind ourselves of the historic fact that only mass movements ushered in great civilizations and reformation of society is a prerequisite to reformation in education.



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