As an Indian student I know how pressurized students are in India. I am one of them.
Indian education devotes a lot of attention on rote learning, it stresses on quantity rather than quality. The syllabus is vast, so many subjects, under which there are so many topics. But how much information in the syllabus actually gets into the brain of a student and remains there is a mystery.
Primary education system
A cousin of mine who is in the third standard in a private school has to study four languages along with math, science, and social studies. For an 8 year-old kid the workload is burdensome. He can barely recall what is taught to him at school. It is not fair to bludgeon information into the brains of kids who are not mature enough to grasp certain concepts. Nothing is achieved by forcing children. The syllabus should be planned in a way that the children will be capable of absorbing the idea.
School is like a second home. An average Indian student spends 7 hours each day in school for 14 years. Naturally the teacher will have an influence on the students.
But sadly the quality of teachers is poor. The only work a teacher does is read out aloud from the text, dictate notes, and correct assignments and answer papers.Their knowledge of the subject is not updated, they don’t use new methods to impart knowledge They stick to the bland blackboard and chalk method exclusively. The teachers should motivate their students and encourage them to come up with new ideas and interpretations.
Importance should be given to creative thinking, behavioural, and application skills.
Higher secondary education system
After 10th standard, students have books piled over books for school exams and entrance exams. So many things come under the syllabi but none of the topics are taught in-depth.This compels parents to send their children for tuition classes. Students who are unwilling, are forced to join just because the neighbour’s son or daughter is attending a class!!
All students are expected to join tuition classes for maths, physics, chemistry, biology or computer. After 10th standard, the next two years turns out to be utter pandemonium. For me it was like this:
From Monday to Friday, I had tuition at 5:00 AM to 7:30 AM , then school, and then I went straight to my maths tuition class. The class started at 5:00PM and went on till 8:00PM. By the time I reach home it would be nine, and I would be completely famished. I couldn’t study at home as I was completely tired, I would just have my dinner and sleep.
For going to tuition at five, I had to wake up at four and I was locked up in a classroom till eight at night. This continued for 2 years , yes 365 days X 2, gruelling!! One of my friends called it “tuition torture.”On the weekends it was a different story, tuition in the morning, then in the afternoon, and at times in the evening.Attending many classes won’t make a difference, if I don’t get the time to study.
People usually argue with me by saying that this is necessary, that everyone does it, so why can’t you ?
Now comes the funny part. The tuition centers teach the exact portions taught in school!!
At the end of two years , they teach some out-of-syllabus portions for the entrance exams. I used to ask my mother ”Why go to school then? What is the use studying the same thing hurriedly in two different places?”
If the schools were able to provide sound education, tuition classes would not have sprung up. If the teachers were able to teach and explain every single concept thoroughly without rushing through the portions, it would have been easy on so many of us. If schools themselves coached the students to crack entrance exams, then tuition centres would have never come up in the first place.
The other side to the problem: Parents
Parents have to encourage their children to ask questions, explore concepts. They have to let their child decide what he/she wants to do after school. There are two options thrown at any student after twelfth standard- to become a doctor or an engineer. If you don’t come under the category of doctors or engineers, you are met with raised eyebrows and scorns. The engineering and medical colleges in India are overflowing with students. Parents should realize that there are so many other choices : Literature, Music, Art, History,etc. They should consider what their son or daughter wants to do, and not what they want them to do.
The main reason behind the faulty education system originates from the old-age concept in India: Study well, get a good job ,and earn lots of money. This should change. Learning should not be about trying to turn into a millionaire. It should be about understanding, enjoying and accepting knowledge. The victims of the faulty education system are the future generation. Any wrong move, a slight fall in providing the best quality education will affect an entire generation, and thereby millions of families.
Higher education system
I am pursuing a degree in English Literature, the questions I get for my exams include descriptions and short notes, even when I am asked to interpret a poem, they don’t expect personal interpretation, but a general one formulated by the teacher. Instead of “What is your interpretation of the poem?, they should change the question to “How does your teacher interpret the poem?”
Even in Literature, teachers insist on rote-learning. Creativity and authenticity of ideas are given no importance.
All this attention on education, just too much?
Peer pressure, pressure from family,fear of failure, fear of being a disappointment, and turning out to be a burden to parents push a certain number of students to put a full stop to their lives. Academic pressure has been identified as the reason for the increasing number of suicide victims.The number of students taking this fatal step has increased over the years. In IITs, other colleges, and even in schools this has become a trend.
Everyday it gets worse.
Is there a solution?
A labyrinth will always have a way out. The solution is simple: Employ good, interested teachers; decrease the syllabi but give assignments and projects to students so that they become thorough with the basic concepts, and wipe out rote-learning.
A new education system implies more input from the teachers. They have to gather more information about their subject, utilize different teaching techniques. This means a teacher should work on assignments and projects with the students.
I have mentioned before that the quality of teachers is poor. Well qualified, interested teachers should be selected. For this, the government has to increase the pay of teachers, which would mean another change on a national scale. But this is a cost the government has to pay, it is for the betterment of its future generation. Sooner the change, the better.