An educational institute is the gateway not just to a learning opportunity, but to our place in the community, our sense of self, our productivity and our overall mental and intellectual growth.
What after all is real, meaningful education? The moot questions we need to ask have to be: What are we studying? Why are we studying? What is the use of this? Students should have a fair idea of what they are studying and why; how it is applicable to their career and to life. Education is not just about blindly following rules or a system. The aim should always be to try to improve the teaching system and impart knowledge and good values to the students.
The present education system focuses more on theory rather than practical knowledge. Actual knowledge is given less importance than marks and grades. Today talent is judged by grades which are irrelevant.
In today’s education system too much is learned by memorizing without actually gaining deep knowledge and understanding. Students do not wish to drown in formulas, only relevant stuff must be taught giving room for innovation, creativity and invention so that the interest and excitement in learning is sparked up.
There is an urgent need to reform this system or we shall be just churning out brain dead people with no creativity and imagination of their own. Students should be taught in a way that fosters innovation, thinking, and the courage to take risks.
Education is at present not the subject of learning but only competition, and that too as unhealthy a competition as it can get. The student must be advised that actual competition should be with ones own self, to do better and better in the areas of ones choice.
A degree should not just be a meaningless paper in your hand but a set of skills that have been inculcated into your mind and thinking and actions and made you a productive person capable of providing a service to society.
The real meaning of education is also being aware of duties, character, how to behave, respecting others while protecting your self-esteem. In America and Europe, it’s still the foundation meaning of education. Education must inculcate basic civic sense and some ethics.
Education must be individual based, depending upon the students aptitude, likes, talents, interests. There should definitely be skill based and vocational education. Creativity, innovation, original thinking and research should be rewarded and not discouraged like it is at present.
The biggest drawback in our education system is quality of teachers right from primary education to university level. Teachers in government as well as private schools are not motivated nor do they take interest in either updating themselves or teaching properly. Their degrees haven often been acquired without requisite training and practical knowledge on how to teach. It is the moral responsibility of a teacher to do justice to her work by learning how to teach. Individual attention should be paid to each student and his or her positive and strong points brought out.
We need to uplift the status of teachers and bring in a new breed of super dedicated teachers. Teachers need to be trained better, their knowledge improved in par with changing norms. Teachers must be paid well so that more bright minds are attracted to the profession. Teachers need to have more incentives to actually teach better and be more dedicated to their job in the school. A good teacher should be a good communicator and inspire students to achieve the best they can.
Increasing digitalization could help reach a far greater number of students without actual classrooms. Students in remote or rural areas can thus access high end study material. (Read : Why Government must focus on promoting digital education)
Board exams should be abolished as there are competitive exams enough for judging the ability of students in India. School boards are unnecessary burden on children.
Limited resources, and the will to use the resources that are available add to the weakness of the education system. It must be understood that any investment for educational resources like libraries, labs, equipment are actually investments in the future of our country.
Education is not only about learning and gaining knowledge. It is also about moral values and ethics that every individual should follow to live in harmony with others. The importance of values, sex education and all round development of the person should be the aim of education. Sport activities and other cultural activities like music, dance and drama should be given equal importance as subject studies for overall personality and character development.
Various methods must be employed to impart knowledge to bring variety and interest to the student. Education should be aural, by listening, lectures etc, visual with slides, videos, pictures and hands on experience to be truly meaningful. Communication and other relevant skills should also be taught.
Emphasis should be more on quality than quantity of learning and then it should be limited and specific in each case. It could also be vocation based training. In countries like Japan, vocational training is provided from sixth grade onwards. Skill based education and job oriented training is a better option to mindlessly acquiring a degree and certainly more practical.
Naturally the great majority of Indians understand and express ideas better in their mother tongues. This applies not only to Indians but peoples worldwide. International studies have been conducted that prove that people in general learn better in their mother tongues. UNESCO has conducted studies to prove that people learn far better and easily when they are tutored in their mother tongue. According to the Indian Constitution, it is every Indian citizen’s right to be educated in their mother tongue.
English is no doubt important and very relevant today as a global language. For people who are more comfortable studying in their regional language, English can also be taught as a second or third language. However, it might be more practical to teach Communicative English rather than English literature, poems or grammar.
Students should have a more active role in their own education. They should be encouraged to speak up, to ask questions and discuss ideas in lessons. There should be no pressure on students but rather a conducive and encouraging atmosphere which makes a student search out knowledge on his own energy and motivation. External force only stifles the desire and aptitude for learning.
After all we do not want to foster unthinking human beings. We need them to exercise their minds and come up with ideas, rather than numb their brains with too much technical jargon and tons of information which just clutters their brains. We want people who are capable of tackling problems by coming up with solutions on their own resources, in the arena called life.
Education must not be treated as a business but more as a service to society. Many investors are excited about the prospect of starting a college not because of a passion to impart knowledge but more as a capital venture. Education is a hot business venture these days and a money making tool. Anything that starts off with a wrong motivation is bound to steer in the wrong direction. No ethical principles or high mindedness guides these institutions.
Ideally, education should become as attractive as a Fantasy or Disney World where students go to fire up their passions and become excited about life. It should be open, playful, joyous just as acquiring knowledge is meant to be: a happiness inducing activity but for most students it is at present just an onerous burden tied to their backs, to compulsorily trudge along with. No wonder then that it is shirked, avoided, tolerated, rather than mindfully and joyously engaged with.
The aim of education has to be the development of learning abilities, shaping of character and most important, enhancing the thinking capacity of children. Imparting the value of sincerity, discipline, and hard work, applying their minds and brains to problem solving are what actually need to be developed, not the other way round. It’s time we put the horse back in front of the cart. It’s the person who is being educated who has to be at the front of things rather than so called education leading him on blindly.