The Indian education system has failed
What our education system strives to produce are creative and intelligent youth who will take our country forward into the golden age. Instead, what it mostly produces are robots who possess an amazing capacity for storing facts and churning them out at the press of the right button. Qualities like independent thinking, problem-solving ability, initiative, leadership skills and social competence fall by the wayside as getting high grades becomes their only goal. Sadly these are the very qualities that our youth need to succeed in life.
The ‘programming’ starts early in life, in school itself. The ideal student is one who has the ability to sit quietly for hours, his eyes transfixed on the blackboard, never contradicting the teachers. He is one who works neatly, quietly and for long hours. This favorite of the teachers realises soon enough that this is all that he needs to excel in school. He has to become obedient and organised, and give up large chunks of his ‘idle’ time. This precious time is time which every child deserves to have, time which every child uses to gradually develop his creative and social skills.
When a child loiters around playing marbles, ‘hanging out’, cycling, or just doing ‘nothing’ he is actually developing leadership and social skills. And when a child spends time learning extra-curricular skills like swimming, playing the sitar or simply football, he is developing
So if a child aims to please his teachers, gives up what he has to, and concentrates on getting high grades, he will go on to be a ‘topper’. Intelligence may or may not be one of his qualities but he will nevertheless get the best start in life. He will procure admission in a professional college of his choice, and perhaps get a high-paying job in a multinational firm. A few years later, he may well be surprised to see that someone whom he considers ‘mediocre’ has overtaken him in the rat race.
The reality is that academic brilliance does not guarantee future success. It is often the so-called ‘average’ student who goes on to achieve great things.
The pressure that parents exert on children to do well at school seems somewhat pointless if academic success does not always bestow a life-time of success on children. But sadly, it is very difficult to convince parents and many Indian educators as well. They are stuck with an educational formula that the west discarded ages ago.
As a result, children who could blossom into artists or sportsmen are still destined to have their talents squeezed out of them by academically ambitious parents. Is it any surprise then that we have the second largest population in the world, but we produce few sportsman and rarely invent anything of creative genius?
(An abridged version of my article which appeared in the Times of India, Bangalore)
Read about Why children score well in school
the poor state of India’s schools
The myth of IQ testing
how to choose the right school
whether success in later life is dependent upon marks
fear that parents have for teachers.