Thursday, December 24, 2009

Indian Education System needs a rethink - BIG TIME!

The root cause of almost all problems in India is the absence of a dependable education system. The presence of State boards is a damper to a dream of imparting quality education. The whole idea of State boards is to decentralize the mighty task of providing good education. But, the purpose is totally defeated when the quality of education is deplorable. Another impossible task is finding a way to align all these different standards into a common framework so that a comparative analysis can be done which is used in centralized examinations, etc.
Like most Indian firms, the focus of all the Governments in India (be it state or the centre) has been to highlight the achievements. The targets have to be met and in the process of meeting the targets the whole idea behind that target is forgotten. Take for instance the Prime Minister Rozgar Yojna (PMRY), under the PMRY scheme all educated unemployed youth are eligible for a loan amount of upto 1 lakh rupees. This is to help them become self employed and join the economy bandwagon. Like almost all policies the PMRY's focus is to be able to have numbers in the end of the year (rather 5 years) to show. The result of this number game is that the taxpayer's money is spent like water, there is no proper recovery mechanism followed in almost all states and no risk analysis is done whatsoever on the money given. Half the money given goes back to the babu's pockets and the rest in buying booze, paying debts incurred while gambling, marring off a sister or (in very rare cases) starting a business which has guaranteed no returns! Instead of just giving a loan the government needs to set up counselling board which can guide an individual on starting a small business which is honest, humble, manageable by the individual, realistic and at the same time adds value to the surroundings of the person applying for a loan (an example would be starting up as a guide if you are in a place like Nagaland - a state which has beautiful places to visit and one of the least recovery rates for PMRY loans!)

Currently, the focus of the government is to increase the number of 'educated' people across the country and trying to create jobs for them (one classic way of doing it has been sighted by CSR - create a new state by disrupting the Universities, promise government jobs to these 'educated' men and women!). The right thing to do perhaps would be to create a sense of purpose in the minds and hearts of these young people and give them pride in what they really want to do and are blessed to do! Even simple things like being a Librarian or something out of the box like a Stunt director, a Radio Jockey, etc. should be projected as viable career options and the education in the case of the student should then be focussed in this direction.
And above all the way the country works, how the various departments operate/function, how the state and the centre collaborate and yet have a separate identity should be 'taught' to each individual of the county. I would like to see this kind of an education being imparted in schools being run in slums, etc. instead of trying to feed the young minds some gibberish in a language their tongues can't pronounce and their eyes are not comfortable reading (mind you, I'm not against teaching English or any other language in particular - there are places in India where Hindi is taught (though completely unnecessary!) when the kids are more comfortable with English as a script!)

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