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Education in India– A flaw Unnoticed

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The old saying is Food, Shelter and Clothing are the basic requirements of human beings. But in the present day scenario Education acquires the topmost and the first spot. It is believed that where Education is there the other aspects follow automatically!!

Now we have to analyze what we mean by education. Is it just to read, write only or is it only the acquisition of degrees or is it acquiring knowledge and if so what is knowledge and how to acquire etc. Then what is the need for this? Why one should have education or one should acquire knowledge? Like this many questions and doubts arise in our minds.

What is education? Is it knowledge in basic skills, academics, technical, discipline, citizenship or is it something else? Our society says only academic basics are important and that is based on collecting knowledge without understanding its value. How about the processing of knowledge, using inspiration, visionary ambitions, creativity, risk, ability to bounce back from failure, motivation? Most education institutions don’t consider these skills. These skills are associated with understanding the value of knowledge. There is a huge disconnected gap.

Test does not measure intelligence or ability; it does not measure how the mind processes information, how motivating experiences develop persistence, or how the mind sorts out instincts, opinions, evaluations, possibilities, alternatives. Now our education system is becoming a system that memorizes the dictionary. When students have memorized selected knowledge, then they will be given a one-day test, based on dictionary knowledge, which will influence employment opportunity for the rest of their life. Is this enough for progress in life in all directions? Does this provide the values in life, the fulfillment of aspirations, desires, and to attain the goals that one sets for oneself?

Achievers in life use inspiration and motivation to overcome barriers. Teaching to the test does not inspire or motivate anyone, memorizing does not inspire a love to learn, it turns off the desire to learn. Education’s goal should be to develop a love to learn that stays with students throughout a lifetime. Learning is a continuous process. Education should be a lifetime experience, not limited to the childhood or youth years.
What can be considered a quality education? A quality education should address the unique abilities of each student and has a positive emotional experience. It should evaluate the natural talents of the student. The educational pattern should be able to evaluate what works and does not work, then focus on what works. With this method, students develop a love to learn and learning becomes a lifelong process.
Yes it is easy said than done or implemented in the present day scenario where there is so much of competition and exposure. But is worth giving a thought and try!!
Recently the Government of India has passed a bill namely the right for education. A very good start towards progress. Like me many people appreciated and acclaimed it. But I would like to go little deep into this.
Can we assume that there are parents who do not want their children to go to school, study and progress in life? I feel that all parents want their children to lead a better life than what they are enjoying. If this is true then why there are so many children who are not attending schools and there are so many drop outs in our country? A problem to be probed and found out.
Recently I happened to visit a temple in a remote village near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, India. As we entered the locality where the temple is situated, about 10 to 12 children in the age group of 4 to 7 surrounded us to sell some sea shells which are given as offerings to the presiding deity. It was a pathetic sight as the children were barely dressed, all malnourished and very unclean. Many in our group started telling that we should not encourage this and to do this we should avoid buying from them. They even started blaming the parents for sending them to do this job.
I agreed with them but felt that we should look into the other side to it. May be there is no one else to earn their bread, may be the elders are invalid or sick and therefore not able to go for work, or may be someone is taking advantage of these children to earn their living, or threatening them to do this etc. There may be many more reasons for this. If we make education compulsory these children may starve. I feel that we should address the root cause before taking up this problem. Giving money to the parents or caretakers or food in the schools may not serve and solve the problem because that will only encourage idleness and laziness. It may even encourage producing more and more children, which is more dangerous!! Nothing should be given free. Then the value of the thing is lost. One should earn it. One should work for it to realize the importance and value of it. Secondly the funds thus provided may not reach the really needed and may land in the hands of the intermediaries!!
First we should do a survey to assess the actual condition or situation. Then try to solve the problems before attempting to legitimize the laws or rules. We can take help of the NGOs for this. We should try to provide income generating training and jobs for them and arrange markets also for their products.
Education need not be in the schools alone. If we really want to educate the people, we can do it at their place during their free time. We can take help of again NGOs, retired teachers, and volunteers to go to their places in the evenings to teach them.
Here again just teaching them to read and write may not be sufficient. There is much more to teach and bring awareness in them regarding many things and areas. There are areas like health, hygiene, nutrition, values, personal cleanliness, medical facilities available, prevention and cure of various diseases, awareness of diseases like Cancer, AIDS, diabetes, various vaccinations available for children, the bad effect of smoking, chewing tobacco, immoral sex etc., moral values, rights and responsibilities of both men and women, how to live in a society with co-operation and friendliness, various threats (external and internal), epidemics, the myths and the blind beliefs that are prevalent among many in our society,etc.
Many states boast that they have achieved 100% literacy in their state. What do they mean by this? Just teaching each and everyone to write their names in their language or may be in English. Is this literacy? Are we aware that so much of illiteracy prevails regarding many things other than reading and writing? How many of us are trying to do in this line without thinking about personal gains? When some are ready to do such service, are we giving the right platform to do? Even if one is ready and willing to do some service, they are unaware of how to start and when and where to start? Is it not the duty of the people in power to make use of such people and do the needful? What is preventing? Is it lack of awareness or lack of willingness or shortage of personal gains or anything else?
I am unaware and want an answer.

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