In order to savour the taste of the outer world and prepare for the coveted institution called ‘school’, my little daughter was lately inducted into a ‘play school’, as they name it these days. Play schools were not heard of, a decade or two back and now they have mushroomed all over the place. You might find one in your friendly neighborhood. With dreamy eyes and expectations no less than a Harvard student, you set out to get your child to embrace the new world.
Hallucination meets reality once the child frequents the ‘school’ for a couple of days, and makes you ponder if it was a desirable decision. The school, where majority of the times children are left alone to play with little or no attention. If at all you get to hear some music in the school, it’s the latest Bollywood number, and the teacher with their wannabe students dancing away to it’s tune. Talk about Nursery rhymes, any.
Fewer schools have play grounds and fewer still extra curricular activities and sports. You may squabble and contend, “Why not knock the door of the next big school, offering quality education and development of a child”. Differ, I claim, as my right, for the mass doesn’t have the might to chose the right, instead a change in these foothills of education is the need.
I introspect my days in school, where not analytical and reasoning but test of memory was the Caesar. Memory enrichment skills was the prime, be it the pristine Kindergarten or the High school. Pupil with higher memory staked claim to all the accolades and were the chart busters of sorts. Stronger does my belief gets when I recall my yesteryear classmates, now orthopaedic surgeon in Gangaram hospital and another a barrister in Delhi’s High Court, who never saw a mention in the toppers list through out.
Cut to recent and the trend is not worthy of a praise, if not lambaste. Ever growing need for specialized coaching to conquer the epitome of Indian education, vis-a-vis the IIMs, RECs & IITs, are adequate attestation of the education, the young students are being doled out. Ranking system and not the much needed grading system still in use. It’s disheartening to know India’s expenditure on education, is a meagre 4.1% of GDP, 82nd of 132 nations. India produces 2.5 million graduates each year -of which 350,000 are engineers, twice the number produced by the US. Contrast this with the success rate of these graduates. Depressing are the number of these graduates who pursue higher education and PhDs, contributing to only 2% of the world’s research.
Our education system is dated, and need for an immediate overhaul would be to say the insignificant. The impending revolution in education can be brought about, when corporates and individuals join hands with the government and establish Universities which can rise to meet the talent, ambition and intelligence of Indians. Until then the brain drain may continue and the west will bear our fruits of labour.
With the progression of time,as my daughter inches closer to mainstream education, my soul prepares and warns me to the imminent risk of type casting her in the age old mould of our education system and produce, may be, just another housewife or money minting machine!
Image Credit: Alon Laudon