Our Education System Is Only Focused On Exams. Knowledge Is Not A Priority!
The general education system is focused only on examinations rather than training students for the future and really testing their knowledge. Because of this, students are forced to take tests that show only their retention powers, not their actual capacity or knowledge. The major problem is India has a GER of 19 percent. GER or gross enrollment rate represents the number of students that are opting to enroll to a higher education after completing high school. This means that in 100 students who finish high school education, only 19 will enroll for higher education.
Only seven Indian universities are ranked in the top 400 universities by the QS World University Rankings for 2019. And six of these seven are Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The only non-IIT Indian institution in the top 400 is the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru.
What exactly is wrong with Indian education system? I’ve tried to explain through what I have observed.
1. Lack of Relevant Industry
India, today is known for the service industry. Gone are the days when students wanted to be doctors, engineers, architects and the like. Most of the students of today often end up in the service industry after completing higher education. With the rise of IT industries and BPO companies, Indian graduates usually end up as call center agents because of the high salary. If not in the IT industry, most Indian graduates of higher education often end up in an industry that has nothing to do about what they studied for more than 4 years in the university.
In order to encourage students to further their studies and enter higher education, the government should create more industries. If a student knows that there is an opportunity to have a better standard of living by finishing a certain course or degree, the country’s GER will definitely increase as planned.
2. Low Quality Institutions
Because of the very short supply of institutions that offer higher education, there seems to be a great increase of low quality institutions popping up like mushrooms over the country. Businessmen and politicians often start colleges that offer higher education because there is a huge demand for education.
For example, in some cities there are houses that look like 3-storey apartments, and they have various small colleges offering degree level courses. You can yourself imagine, what might be the kind of education these storeyed colleges must be providing. There are a number of colleges in every nook and space in some cities of India that you didn’t even think was a college.
If the government wants to get a higher education GER, they should focus on regulating the incorporation of educational institutions. They should ensure that the higher education institutions in the country are there for the right purpose and not just to make a good profit
3. Rat Race
The country’s higher education system promotes a mindless rat race. Students as well as parents focus on the grading system. Students are taught to read and grasp thousands of books without actually understanding them. The goal of students is to top a specific examination. Once the examination is done, the information that was hurriedly stuffed in by the students easily goes away without retention.
Most examinations are also very simple in context, ranging from multiple choice questions to true or false. Therefore, students lack the analytical skills that they need when they leave the higher education institution and join the workforce.
Higher education should make a way to improve students’ analytical skills by providing other means of gauging a student’s intellectual capacity. One good way to achieve this, is by considering the examinations conducted by private companies in screening their potential employees.
Some companies actually let their applicants go through scenarios in order to gauge their decision making and analytical skills. Adopting this in the higher education system can be very beneficial for new graduates, in landing their first jobs.
4. Over-Commercialization of Education
Any nation that educates its young generation for the sole purpose of making them eligible to contribute to national and social progress can be sure that simultaneously they can take care of themselves too. The real profit comes only when the students learn and start contributing, not when they start earning. The real return on investment will be the taxes paid by the educated, when he or she earns profit in the business and occupation and the knowledge of information is used to help society.
5. Lack of Choice and Knowledge
Besides several elite schools in India, the subjects taught in high school usually range from Languages, Math, Core Sciences, Economics, Accounting, and Commerce. In essence, we are not given much freedom of choice or freedom to explore. Largely, our decision to pick our eventual stream in high school is governed by parental advice and social trend. In my case, for example, in the 11th grade, I had a choice between Commerce, Science, and Humanities, which is not very many options.
The things that governed my decision to choose Science were:
a. I had no idea what Commerce was.
b. I had little to no idea what Humanities was.
c. Science was what traditionally ‘smart’ students took and of course.
d. All I had studied so far was science and I liked it.
By and large, the same thought process is true for everyone else. The students that choose Commerce either did not qualify for Science or were from business backgrounds, and obviously told by their parents they needed to study Commerce to uphold the family business. Besides one or two people, the Humanities section of thirty were full of students who did not qualify for the other two.
Herein lies where the problem is: a lack of choice, lack of opportunities to explore, and lack of awareness of the future for each subject. Subjects like Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, Ecology, to name a few, are completely absent from the Indian curriculum and students are often clueless of the different career choices they have.
6. No Focus in Building a Personality
Again, the country’s higher education system does not focus on the student but the grade. Most institutions think that academic qualification and certification from a higher education institution is far more important than a building a personality.
Most companies, however, would rather have an employee that is flexible and can work through adversities than have an employee that has good grades but no personality to show for. You can ask any HR department personnel and they will all agree to this. Even though their higher education grades are a good indication of a person’s ability, these do not paint the whole picture.
If the country wants to improve the educational system, they should provide more programs and workshops that can help build a well-balanced individual.
7. Uninspired Educators
Educators must inspire their students to want to do more in their lives. They should be able to help their students realize the importance of education.
There are teachers who actually go by the thinking that they will get paid whether or not their students learn from their classes. Unfortunately, this is a common thinking for most educators in India. It’s just that they don’t have the necessary incentive to strive to be better at the profession they chose to do.
Government should find a way to call an “open day” wherein parents can actually go to the classrooms to see what their kids are learning in school. This kind of event can help inspire teachers to do more in order to build their reputation.
8. Social Disparity
In today’s world, only rich people often have access to higher education because of the costs involved. Education was once viewed as something that could end disparity. But as it seems, education has now become a tool to create that very disparity.
The government should find a way to give even the most basic education to all residents whether they came from a rich family or not. The government should find ways to create opportunities for even the poorest families to send their kids to school. A good example of opportunities includes school grants, scholarships and other education programs.