Respected Education Minister,
Hope you are having a great time being the authority to decide what and how the youth of the country will study. Well, I am not having one. I seriously wish you will consider my problem and try to understand it as deeply as I feel it. Till now, you have been seeing the situation being an education minister, from right at the top of the pyramid. I guess it’s difficult to be able to see what is going on in the bottom level, being on top. So, today let me take this liberty to make you see the scenario from a student’s eye, studying under the same system that you thought was the best for him.
I did my schooling under the Central Board of Secondary Education. After completion of school, I tried my luck in some of the finest colleges of India but I was rejected. And the reason for my rejection? Me not being from a backward community. Unfortunately, I come under a category which is most prone to ending up without getting a shot at a reputed college, i.e. open category and a boy. It’s not that I didn’t try the so called ‘other’ ways to get in. I was told to do them a favour of a ‘small’ amount to get a seat reserved for myself, but their ‘small’ amount was too ‘big’ for my dad to afford.
I remember one of my 8th grade lessons from civics. It said that discrimination in any form, be it physical, racial, emotional or verbal is an offence in India. Then why do have fixed quotas for backward classes when it comes to taking an admission in a college? Who do you think deserves more to be able to get a seat, a candidate with 45% belonging to a low cast or a candidate with 60% from open category? In fact, why do we even have the system of reserved seats anyway? Why can’t we judge the students purely on the basis of their merits? Discrimination would not stop until we have reserved quotas at government jobs. It will continue to exist till the day government provides economic help to an OBC poor and not to an open poor. The only solution I see to this problem is to omit the term ‘discrimination’ out of the books. Until we keep teaching it to the students, it won’t ever fade. Instead, why not choose to never let them know that something called as ‘discrimination’ even existed.
All this mess of finding a good college led me to ask myself a basic fundamental question-why do I want to get into a good college, in the first place? And when i got the answer, it just sent a freezing shock down my spine. The answer was, to get a good job. Is that the purpose of education in this country? Is that why you host all those education meetings? So that every student earns enough to feed his stomach twice a day? No, our mind-sets can’t be this narrow, but a sad fact is that they are. Every child in this country goes to school so that he gets a good college, goes to a good college so that he gets a good job. Is that all? If that is the prime purpose of providing education then why don’t we just start living like we used to in the stone-age? Hunting and gathering all around the forests, because even that ensures food two times a day.
And how do we test a child’s development in our system? By taking endless written exams till the child gets sick of mugging those books as thick as his thighs. Don’t you think there should be a new way of testing where we can even test a child’s ability to react in a situation where he is out of his comfort zone, where the test makes it possible to keep an eye on a child’s overall development, rather than testing his capacity of filling the stuff in his mind till the rim and throwing it all out in the exam. Why do our systems have no room for innovation and creativity? Because innovation, by definition means challenging the existing norms and that ironically is something which good Indian students aren’t supposed to do. Students are left with no choice but to digest whatever is being shoved down their necks.
Most importantly, I don’t get this method where my grade-sheet decides my future, based on a stupid letter printed on it. The closer your numerator is, to your denominator in your answer sheet, more respect you get in the society. Even the mind-sets of parents have begun to change. You aren’t obedient if you don’t score well. How can my marks decide the love and respect I have for my mom and dad? Over the years I have learnt that you need either of the two to get into a good college in India-good marks or a rich dad.
My intention was never to criticize the India Education system, but I just wanted to convey that there is room for further developments which can lead to a more advanced India. India is right now on the path of development at a reasonably rapid pace and it feels great, but don’t we want India to be greater and strive for more than what we already are. Don’t you want the next Mark Zukerburg or Bill Gates to be from India? Don’t you think India is capable of producing many more A.P.J. Abdul Kalams? And it surely will. We just need to make some of our wrongs right to make it possible.
I think it’s high time for us to reform the system, where the student has the liberty to study the subjects he is passionate for and where the exams test the overall dimensions of a child. We also need to build many more reputed institutes so that the number of students passing out of class 12th becomes equal to number of good college seats available and accessible for them, irrespective of their backgrounds. For instance, let us say, why can’t IIT-Gandhinagar replicate itself in Baroda? Universities, ones built, don’t even need funds because they keep fueling themselves every year with a new batch entering. Don’t we want to stop producing a batch of depressed nerds every year out of which, some would just manage fine, others would find salvation in suicide and rare ones would write up to the education minister?
Poor Indian Student
Post by: Falan Vachhrajani