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Editorial

Indian education reforms: Are we on the right course?
February 2014
The Indian education system is going through a phase of big time renovation and a much needed one that too. However, one closer look beyond superficial hoo-hah of all the mega changes and one realises that beneath we still remain grossly misguided, like ever before.

Thanks to the UN for making universal education one of its millennium development goals that the country has woken up from its slumber to act and pick up all those loose ends finally. Let’s look around and scrape off the surface to see what’s changing and what needs to be changed actually.

While we might be taking a huge leap to move from our formal education system to a much more popular education system, we forget that such drastic changes will leave the students all the more confused. The change in doing away with the rote system of learning in favour of a more practical oriented knowledge set-up will come not by just changing the evaluation system alone. You can learn at this site how to get a big profit.

The arenas demanding change are more deep rooted than just the way evaluation of exam sheets is done. The syllabi, the curriculum, the conduct of classes, the process of imparting knowledge, all need a shove towards change.

In fact, we might ape the developed nations in bringing about the grading system, but then we might be overlooking the fact that the grading system is built around syllabus and teaching methodologies which bring about an overall development of the child and not make him or her, a parrot mugging up formulas far from reality. Until we form a framework where children can relate to the subjects they are studying, we are terribly misguided in our efforts here.

Education might have become compulsory and free for children up to 14 years of age, but the implementation needs funds the government is terribly short of. Mid-day meals are promised in rural schools and then there is a poor framework to support their distribution. Unhygienic conditions, food poisoning episodes, lack of supervisory staff, all these factors are associated with this initiative.

Vocational training centres in the country too have their problems. While some face fund crunch, others are short of raw material. Yet others are those which were come up in rural areas but have not been inaugurated as yet since the so called ‘Promised Land’ turned out to be disputed.

And this is precisely what happens to most of the projects we visualise. Somewhere down the line, from the conceptualisation to the actual implementation and execution of the idea, we seem to loose our focus, interest and will.

Not that these issues can not be fixed, they can and that’s what makes the situation all the more frustrating. What is it that makes almost all such steps fizzle out into a waste in this nation? Do we lack the will or the persistence required to see an effort through or is the foresight? One really wonders.

We know that the education system needs a big time change, but how to go about the change; be it the means to change or the acceptability of a change is a one in a million question.

We have good colleges with excellent infrastructure and research facilities for higher education, but their number is limited. It certainly does not support the large population of undergraduates our schools churn out and intend to churn out in the future, since the numbers are only going to increase.

Imagine the plight of the students who in the first place can not relate to the course material being taught and later as they struggle through the school education to step into some good college, can not find one good enough to sail them through to a nice job. Imagine what the Indian education system might mean to them when despite working hard and securing the best grades they do not land up in the best of colleges and may even have to struggle for a decent job.

The situation is frustrating even in today’s times of educational reforms, in fact more so now. With all the reforms coming our way we find none really solving the infrastructural scarcity of our higher education institutes, or the land related matters of varsities and neither are reforming the course materials.

With so much money being pumped into education as fees, so much land lying vacant with the government and so many arenas of education demanding change we sure have some basics which need correction before we move on, else we will remain misguided and our efforts will never be sufficient enough, for we’ll be fighting the wrong battle.

Pause Before You Get On To Preparing Your Exams

It is that time of the year when students start taking stock of their studies. As examinations approach, every student gets into a routine where studies suddenly become a focal point of all their activities. Eating, playing, praying, exercises etc. all this routine is carried out with ritualistic discipline keeping the exams in mind.

Those who turn to studies only at the time of exams find themselves in hot soup. They are those who squandered their time all year long in the fond hope that they will be able to find a way out at the time of exams. Unfortunately, our education system does not provide for any shortcut to success. But yes, it gives a second chance to rectify oneself and be in the reckoning in future.

Now that the exams are over their heads, they realize that they have done a blunder by wasting their valuable time in leisure and merry making. A look at the task on their hand, in the form of the syllabus that they have to cover in order to get through the exam, is enough to take their breath off. What is all the more embarrassing is that it is of the student’s own making and hence he can’t duck the blame by simply finding scapegoats.

A medieval saint’s famous couplet aptly describes the situation such students find themselves in.

Dukh Mein Simran Sab Kare, Sukh Mein Kare Na Koye

Jo Sukh Mein Simran Kare, Tau Dukh Kahe Ko Hoye

(In anguish everyone prays to Him, In joy does none!

To one who prays in happiness, how can sorrow come!)

Under such circumstances, students feel as though they are fighting a losing battle with their backs to the wall. That makes matters worse for them. The situation seems to be very precarious on the outset. For a student facing such a situation, there seem to be no way out of the mess he has created for himself. Yet there is no need to panic. It is not the end of the road. There is still hope, and always will be if you remain optimistic.

The best thing about human beings is they can emerge from any situation unscathed, thanks to the power of resilience that God has endowed in us in abundance. Be bold and take the challenge head on. You might have heard a saying: ‘When the going gets tough, the tough gets going’.

Utilize the time that you are left to the optimum. Organize your studies in such a way that you will be able to make up for the loss. This may require you to put in some extra effort. What matters at the time of examination is how much you understood of the subjects taught, and not how many hours you have spent studying them. There are students who keep themselves busy studying the entire year, yet fail to get to the essence which a casual reader can comprehend.

Try your best to salvage the situation by scoring as much as you can. It is possible only if you have single-minded concentration. Don’t let your anxiety take the better of your judgment. If you still fail to deliver at the time of reckoning, don’t get nervous. One failure makes you stronger for another battle with a killer instinct to retrieve the lost ground.

At the end of the day, academic excellence alone will not determine success in career. So, don’t count on the battles you lose, you might be the ultimate winner of the war life if you plan your future strategy meticulously.