By Ranjit K. Sahu
No other single factor has been affecting the future of the Indian Generation next as a sheet of paper with scores by which individuals are evaluated and stratified based on their performance in one or more exam (based on results which may have been as erroneous an indicator of the individual as the system following it). The recent expose in the Bihar Education System proved that the certificate and validation would no way reflect an individual’s knowledge (however bookish) or capacity. Rather certificates can be the outcome of dubious techniques and corrupted systems that often sees the parents hand in glove with unscrupulous elements in the education system. While this exposure may surely bring to the books undeserving candidates and prevent them from using their scores for any future purposes, it does cast a shadow on the prospects of genuine students who would have obtained their marks through sincere efforts.
The second but most persisting problem across India is generic where a student’s inherent abilities and capabilities are not nurtured and promoted by the education system to let him grow into a normal civilian with a sense of responsibility and social identity but rather he is branded as fit or unfit. The trend of mushrooming engineering colleges, medical colleges , biotechnology and management institutes in the name of progressing education system is a big eye wash. Most such institutes be it private government or semi government , end up as just stamping institutes that label a person as trained or qualified. And most often the students join such institutes more out of their family pressure, social pressure or peer pressure, whether they have an aptitude for the trade or not.
The mind set that a student not gaining an entry into a medical or engineering college has no future at all ( include management and a few newer trades like software in the list) irrespective of what happens at the end of the study period in terms of employment opportunities, or future performance has led to mass production of youth who stare into a bleak future. While parents cannot be blamed solely for thrusting their desires or opinions on their children, they need to be given discredit for not being supportive of what their wards want to do. Most logistic s still run that if a parent has taken a decision for a child it must be in his/her best interest. What the parents forget in their anxiety and enthusiasm to garner some social relevance and status is that the child as an individual may have his or her dreams!
It is also important to note that the child would face a future where his core competency would matter more than any induced abilities or qualification. Hence the parents instead of securing a future would have thrust him into a zone of total discomfort for the rest of his life. A society that does not cherish and support dreams of individuals cannot progress. In absence of a variety in the professional and personal abilities of people, a society would be akin to a mono culture of trees that would grow rapidly but collapse rapidly as well! It is essential that the society and families accept people of all professions with equal gratitude and confer dignity on individuals irrespective of their jobs. A society that confers dignity on only doctors and engineers based on their degree and overlooks the contribution of bus drivers can not consider itself evolved or matured irrespective of the type of government system. A teacher, a driver, a poet and a farm worker are as important as an engineer or doctor. (In fact rural India has been surviving for decades in the absence of doctors or engineers). The education system and the civil services are remnants of the British era designed primarily to supply the British with manpower and the present education has just evolved to supply the same to a different set of clients like MNCs. In the early days these professionals earned more and thus afforded a lavish lifestyle. It is but natural that everyone wanted to jump into that bandwagon. The previous generation that was just coming out of colonial atrocities identified these professions as a means of dignified and secured life in a country coming to terms with the realities of a disastrous economy and unintended partition.
These roots of the problem of the Indian education system and the marks have become a menace for students, families and finally the society. This single perception that marks and degrees give a social and financial security and dignity in the eyes of everyone and the inherent ability of Indians to find a shortcut to success has led to the corruption of the entire education system.
While we tend to ape the west in every aspect from dress to gadgets and food habits, we shun away the very basic foundation of the west which is treating all people with dignity and giving due credit to all people for their roles in the society. For example, teachers are given high accolades in the western society (the problems of the education systems overlooked), while in India teachers are grossly undervalued both financially and socially. This in a country that had teachers like Dr. Radhakrishnan as its president. Not to forget individuals like Bill Gates with low scores as student but achieving great success in his life.
Perhaps more important than a political change is a change in the perception of people where boys have become investments and girls liabilities. Without acceptance of individuals with their abilities and inabilities and assuring them of dignity in the society no amount of government or educational reforms would translate to a real change in the social make up. It is time for Indians and the education systems to change their mind set about marks and degrees and focus on nurturing the ability of individuals to create responsible citizens and a sustainable society.
About The Author: Ranjit Sahu, was born in India and is a doctorate in biotechnology. He has published two books in poetry ( 2005: A Year of Love and Drunk ) and his poems have appeared in the website of Poetry.com. Presently, he is working on several volumes of poems with different themes.