Problems with Educational System in India
Education is very important. No one would argue about the validity of this statement. But good education in various countries is very limited. Most of the time, the scarce resource of a good school education is only available to the few elites of the society. This seems to be especially true in India.
According to Kartikeya Sharma of Aaj Samaaj, India has a GER of 19 percent. GER or gross enrollment rate represents the number of students that are opting to enroll to a higher education after graduating from high school. This means that in 100 students who finish high school education, only 19 will enroll for higher education.
India’s GER is around 6% below the current world average and over 50% below first world countries like the USA and Australia. The government aims to increase this percentage by at least 30 percent before the end of 2020.
Before the government can do so, a great deal of critical analysis needs to be done about the importance of education accompanied by the implementation of new rules and regulations that could make the quality of education in India better.
To start this great revolution, here is an in-depth analysis of what are the fundamental problems with India’s educational system and how they should be changed.
1. Lack of Hands-on Experience
Every year, a list of the world’s top 200 universities is published. For year 2014-2015, no Indian university made it to this list. This does not mean, however, that the country doesn’t have a good standing. At least 4 universities actually made it to the top 400. The Indian Institute of Science and Punjab University even made it to the top 300. This fact alone is sufficient to ring the alarm bells that India’s higher education system needs desperate changes, to provide students with the competitive edge, that other countries’ education system is providing.
The number one thing to note about this is the fact that most universities that offer higher education focus on textbooks and they completely lack in giving students a hands-on experience. It’s common knowledge that a child who does not have much exposure with other children often have difficulties in reaching basic milestones like talking, walking, and many more. But a child that is exposed with adults and other children often have a faster time developing their skills.
If a student is given thousands of books to read but not given enough time to apply what he has learned, he will not be able to develop his skills. On average, an engineering student has to study over 40 subjects; this is probably equal to around 6000 hours of attending classes and more than 300,000 pages of engineering information. Of the 6000 hours devoted to studying, only around 500 hours is actually spent on hands-on lab work.
If the government wants to reach its goal of a 30% GER by 2020, the education in India should be more project-based or hands-on.
2. Lack of Relevant Industry
India, today is known for the service industry. Gone are the days when students wanted to be doctors, engineers, architects and the like. Most of the students of today often end up in the service industry after completing higher education. With the rise of IT industries and BPO companies, Indian graduates usually end up as call center agents because of the high salary. If not in the IT industry, most Indian graduates of higher education often end up in an industry that has nothing to do about what they studied for more than 4 years in the university.
In order to encourage students to further their studies and enter higher education, the government should create more industries. If a student knows that there is an opportunity to have a better standard of living by finishing a certain course or degree, the country’s GER will definitely increase as planned.
3. Short Supply of Educators
To date, there are over 100 million teenagers in India between the ages of 17 to 19. Given the GER of the country, this means that around 19 million students enroll to institutes for a higher education every year. This amount is just 19% GER. This means that there are more than 80 million students who just don’t have access to the opportunity of a higher education even if they wanted to.
With the 19 million enrollees, there should be at least 1.9 million the number of teachers. This is if the ideal student-teacher ratio of 10:1 should be followed in the system of education in India. However; the number is very very less. On an average the higher education classes has student-teacher ratio of 100:1. In some cases, it’s even more than that. Acute lack of teachers, doesn’t provide the attention the students’ should be getting and it hampers the education perspective on the whole. Moreover, out of these enrollees, very very few opt for education based degrees.
With the amount of higher education enrollees every year, roughly only around 3.5 million students actually graduate and enter the workforce annually. Most of the 3.5 million even end up in the IT and BPO industry. So, this means that there is a very short supply of future educators in the country.
If the government wants to reach its 2020 goal for education in India, they should address this problem and create more opportunities and benefits for teachers in order to entice students to enter the academe.
4. Low Quality Institutions
Because of the very short supply of institutions that offer higher education, there seems to be a great increase of low quality institutions popping up like mushrooms over the country. Businessmen and politicians often start colleges that offer higher education because there is a huge demand for education.
For example, in some cities there are houses that look like 3-storey apartments, and they have various small colleges offering degree level courses. You can yourself imagine, what might be the kind of education these storeyed colleges must be providing. There are a number of colleges in every nook and space in some cities of India that you didn’t even think was a college.
In various states in India, the number of colleges in the relatively small town is overwhelming. This casts doubts about the motives of the people who put up these institutions. It is questionable whether they are in the higher education industry because of their passion to teach or if they are simply grabbing the opportunity to gain from getting admissions as well as donations.
If the government wants to get a higher education GER, they should focus on regulating the incorporation of educational institutions. They should ensure that the higher education institutions in the country are there for the right purpose and not just to make a good profit.
5. Rat Race
The country’s higher education system promotes a mindless rat race. Students as well as parents focus on the grading system. Students are taught to read and grasp thousands of books without actually understanding them. The goal of students is to top a specific examination. Once the examination is done, the information that was hurriedly stuffed in by the students easily goes away without retention.
Most examinations are also very simple in context, ranging from multiple choice questions to true or false. Therefore, students lack the analytical skills that they need when they leave the higher education institution and join the workforce.
Higher education should make a way to improve students’ analytical skills by providing other means of gauging a student’s intellectual capacity. One good way to achieve this, is by considering the examinations conducted by private companies in screening their potential employees.
Some companies actually let their applicants go through scenarios in order to gauge their decision making and analytical skills. Adopting this in the higher education system can be very beneficial for new graduates, in landing their first jobs.
6. No Focus in Building a Personality
Again, the country’s higher education system does not focus on the student but the grade. Most institutions think that academic qualification and certification from a higher education institution is far more important than a building a personality.
Most companies, however, would rather have an employee that is flexible and can work through adversities than have an employee that has good grades but no personality to show for. You can ask any HR department personnel and they will all agree to this. Even though their higher education grades are a good indication of a person’s ability, these do not paint the whole picture.
If the country wants to improve the educational system, they should provide more programs and workshops that can help build a well-balanced individual.
7. Discourages Deviance
The current higher education system in India does not reward original thinking. Deviance is greatly discouraged in this country. In fact, most students are afraid to take risks because of the fear of being mocked. Memorization is still the most common way of learning, in the system of education in India. This is due to the fact that most examinations can only be answered by one specific answer. Memorization is not exactly learning.
In order to get the most out of higher education courses, students must learn to think for themselves. A test question should not just be either black or white. The government should make sure that the systems of higher education in India provide a way to encourage critical thinking.
They should provide programs that would create opportunities to analyze and solve problems with innovation. There can be other means to get a good education in India. One does not have to be confined to a brick and mortar type of school to be given an educational distinction. There are various distance education courses and online classes that could provide a great way to learn innovatively. The government should also take distance education as a valid option to earn a degree.
8. Uninspired Educators
Educators must inspire their students to want to do more in their lives. They should be able to help their students realize the importance of education. Educators must also be inspired in order to just that. Not all educators have the inspiration to pass on to their students.
There are teachers who actually go by the thinking that they will get paid whether or not their students learn from their classes. Unfortunately, this is a common thinking for most educators in India. Not that they don’t know what they are doing. It’s just that they don’t have the necessary incentive to strive to be better at the profession they chose to do.
The government should find a way to give educators a reason to be excited to teach every day. One good example would be opening up the classroom to the world to see. Some universities in other countries have what they call an “open day” wherein parents can actually go to the classrooms to see what their kids are learning in school. This kind of event can help inspire teachers to do more in order to build their reputation.
Aside from that, educators should also be exposed to global education methods and standards. The government should make a way to introduce new ways of learning by bringing in higher education professionals from other countries.
9. Educators not Salaried Enough
The government should also focus on providing great benefits to educators. In fact, most educators are not efficiently trained because the government doesn’t have enough resources to pay trained educators. Moreover; their pay grades are way too less than those of developed countries. This reason makes most of the students, move away from taking education related jobs or academe. Till the time the perks associated with teaching are not high, the people associated with the teaching profession will be of mediocre class.
In order to improve education in India, the government should put emphasis on training educators and providing them with great benefits.
10. Wrong Medium of Language
Most higher education institutions use English as a medium of teaching. But not all Indians use this language. In fact, most students don’t even understand this language. The system of education in India should first focus on teaching using the mother tongue and move on to English upon higher education.
There are countries like the Philippines that are now putting emphasis on teaching in the mother tongue. They only introduce the English language upon entering higher grade levels because they want to first focus on the child’s core skills. This should also be implemented in India in order to empower our youth.
11. Lack of Skill Sets
Students are not taught any specific skills that will benefit them in finding jobs. There are a lot of industries after graduation, but the companies don’t hire employees without necessary experience. If only universities provide training and skill sets that could help them land jobs, more students will be willing to enroll for higher education.
The educational institutions in the country should focus more on providing technical skills development. Instead of concentrating on higher education textbooks, schools should concentrate on providing trainings. Some skill sets that employers look for include computer know-how, decision-making, systems analysis, sales and marketing.
If the education system in India focuses on these skill sets, more students would be able to realize the importance of education.
12. Lack of Proper Infrastructure
Even though there are thousands of small colleges in the country, none of them seem to have the proper infrastructure needed to actually provide positive results. Most of these colleges look like apartment buildings.
The government should invest in implementing a good infrastructure for education. This does not mean that the government should build hundreds of schools before 2020. There are various ways to get this job done. For example, the country could actually focus on using today’s technology to provide a higher education. They could make use of the internet to broaden the reach of educational facilities rather than spending more on physical infrastructure.
Everyone in India must have some form of smartphone, tablet or computer. So, the education system in India with the help of the government should make sure to provide a high speed internet access that could serve as a new delivery mechanism for educational information. Some institutions have actually started exploring the possibility of offering distance education courses.
13. Lack of Personalization
Not all students learn with just one method of teaching. Students learn through various mediums. Some students learn better through their auditory senses while others learn better through their vision. With this information, school education should be personalized depending on a student’s learning style. Most kids that don’t fall into the current educational system end up feeling like they are dumb. But this is not really the case; they probably just have a different learning style compared to the norm.
The government should encourage more innovative measures of learning. One measure of learning will not fit all students. If learning is personalized, no student will ever be demoralized to learn.
14. Social Disparity
In today’s world, only rich people often have access to higher education because of the costs involved. Education was once viewed as something that could end disparity. But as it seems, education has now become a tool to create that very disparity.
The government should find a way to give even the most basic education to all residents whether they came from a rich family or not. The government should find ways to create opportunities for even the poorest families to send their kids to school. A good example of opportunities includes school grants, scholarships and other education programs.
15. Lack of Ambition
The Indian educational system does not inspire students to create better lives for themselves. Students lack the ambition to be better. They are satisfied to get high paying jobs without the ambition to actually be a good citizen. This is also the main reason why most graduates just end up taking high paying IT jobs. The salaries they get from BPO companies are relatively bigger compared to other industries.
The government should design a school education system that will motivate them to create their own businesses and help out their fellow citizens in the future.
Education should be a person’s key to success in the future. With India’s current educational system, there is no wonder why the country is still on top of the list when it comes to high rates in poverty. In order to move out from poverty, the government should reconsider its allocation of its resources. They should focus on providing better quality education in India. The government should provide more long-term projects that could sustain the quality of school education in the country. Once the education problem is addressed, all other problems stemming from it will also be addressed.