Education and Careers

State of Education in India: an elephant in the room

Bihar's education system is again in news for expected wrong reasons. Though many students have flunked in class 12 exams this year, a few managed to scrape through and even figure on the merit list. Like last year's topper in Humanities, who pronounced Political Science as 'prodigal science' and thought that it was related to cooking, this year's 'topper' in Humanities failed to answer very basic questions regarding his subject despite acquiring 65 out of 70 in Music practicals. He didn't know that Sharda Sinha was the 'Maithili Kokila' and gave the credit to the nightingale Lata Mangeshkar! He didn't even know the difference between 'sur' and 'taal'. In short, Music was not music to his ears!

One might ask, what ails Bihar's education system. But if one dispassionately analyses the whole scenario, doesn't this diabolical and utterly flawed education system prevail in entire India? Well, there could be a difference in degrees as regards malpractices and faulty evaluation of answer scripts, but this deplorable state of education is prevalent in all states and in all Boards. We all know this but refrain from discussing it because it's a veritable elephant in the room syndrome.

Education has become a business and one cursory look at the results of Board Exams, whether ICSE/CBSE or state levels, will make one wonder that there's something seriously wrong at the fundamental level. Scores of students getting 99 percent doesn't mean that they've suddenly become super-brilliant. It questions the identical evaluation pattern that enables students to get incredible grades. Otherwise, how can one explain students getting 100 out of hundred in English and language papers? Even William Shakespeare, if he were to take the English paper for class 12, wouldn't have had 100/100! When these students are asked to write something in English, they falter and fumble. Then how did they get 100 out of 100 in English? Moreover, it's impossible to get full marks in a subjective paper like English, History, Political Science etc. But students are getting and 'recognised' Boards are awarding them full marks in the papers of Humanities.

Today, education in India is in the hands of people who're least bothered about gaining and imparting knowledge. Tycoons and traders are running academic institutes. Education has been relegated to the level of dirty business. Classroom study has been replaced, nay hijacked, by coaching classes that are mushrooming from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The exam-oriented education system, propounded by Lord Macaulay way back in 1832, is still the only way to assess a student's calibre in India at all levels, whether school, college or varsity. That almost all advanced countries have done away with the antediluvian exam system of India that encourages mugging and memorising is still unknown to us.

Our education system only considers a student's ability to memorise his/her subjects. Analysis, reasoning and logical study have no place on the curriculum. Marks are still considered to be the sole criterion to get admission to a reputed college or institute. So all sorts of malpractices are used to get high grades and meet ridiculous cut-offs. The rest of India laughs at Bihar's dismal education system but we're all same. It's easier to criticise others, ignoring our own shortcomings. We need to get rid of this Ostrich syndrome.