Abstract suicide incidents commercialisation of educational institutions.Abstract suicide incidents commercialisation of educational institutions.

                                                 Abstract

Education is not just about reading or
garnering knowledge.Books are a means to education and education is a means to
knowledge, neither implying an end in itself.It is the pragmatic application
of  knowledge for the betterment of
people,society and self1.Vladimir Nabokov,U.S critic, poet and novelist
says “Discussion in class,which means letting twenty young blockheads and two
cocky neurotics discuss something that neither their teacher nor they know.”2 The
colonial masters introduced education system in India to create clerks and
civil servants, we have not deviated much from that pattern till today.From India being a land of
 customary educators like
Chanakya with colossal knowledge and who imparted  education because it was their dharma, to
becoming The India employing teachers with sub standard teaching and curriculum
, rote learning producing less than copious intellect leading to further evils
of unemployment and brain-drain. It seems far-fetched to reconcile the on-paper
definition and hard-hitting statistics of education with rising student suicide
incidents&unstalled commercialisation of educational institutions. We have established IITs, IIMs, law schools and other
institutions of excellence and we have letter pad colleges selling fake
degrees.Situation has further sunk with saffronisation, inertia, corruption and
lack of ambition.

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                                                    Introduction

 Abhimanyu,16-year
old student in 11th grade committed suicide in the midst of his exams and left
a suicide note in his chemistry exam sheet,stating”The CBSE system is
based on mugging.Education should be about understanding and applying your knowledge.
My death should be a lesson and a reason for the system to change.”3
While 5,857 student suicides reported in
2006, it rose to 7,379 in 2010.According to data released by the National Crime
Records Bureau.20 students killed themselves every day in 2010.4The depleting mental health
has manufactured a monstrous image of exams.Achieving good marks makes the
monster happy. If they fail even by a single mark they punish themselves as the
monster hounds them. The situation is of guinea pig of an experiment lab, where
it doesn’t live by or for itself , can’t be taking a moment when unwell but
continuously has to run. The Monster emmbezzles the childhood  faster than their speed.

                                                  
In the Beginning

 India had the Gurukula system ,anyone who
wished to study went to a teacher’s (Guru) house and requested to be taught.If
accepted as a student by the guru,he would then stay at the guru’s place and
helped in all activitties.It created a strong tie between the teacher and the
student.The guru taught everything,he stayed as long as she wished or until the
guru felt that he had taught everything he could teach.All learning was closely
linked to nature and to life,not confined to memorizing.The Gurus with colossal
information knew how to instruct the most burdensome of the things.This
Parampara used to take as much time as is needed and because of this,the
students used to turn out in a meticulous form.They used to acquire a
particular style and inculcated high levels of efficiency.Much of the teaching
was practical.The environment given to the student ensured he would turn into
an artisan or an accomplished person in his field of interest.5The acharya was responsible in moulding the character
and personality of the pupils.The student’s prayer included his longing
for the realization of a full life.Thus the main aim of the Vedic
educational system was to produce a rational individual, free from
passions, full of universal affection, continuously self educating and striving
to reach the highest goal.6The
children were taught to live with meagre material things and no fancy or
pretentious object.The modern school system brought to India,including the
English language,originally by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay was confined
to”modern” subjects such as science and mathematics and subjects like
metaphysics,  philosophy were considered
unnecessary.The link with nature was broken,as also the close relationship
between the teacher and the student7.

                                        What is the situation now?

The ‘EFA
Global Monitoring Report 2010′(UNESCO),ranks India 105 among 128 countries,it
continues to figure alongside a cluster of in the group of countries with a low
educational development index (EDI).Almost half of country’s
population is below 25 years.Almost 10 per cent of
them or 12 crore are between the ages of 18 and 23.If they are
equipped with both knowledge and skills,they could drive India’s
entrepreneurial and competitive spirit and make it into global power8.Over
a decade ago Peter Drucker declared:”The Knowledge Society will become far
more competitive than any society we have yet known,there will be no poor
countries, there will only be ignorant countries,thus the competitive position
of every country, industry, institution and individual will depend on the
ability to harness and capitalize on knowledge.”Ironically  a study by the National Assessment and
Accreditation Council showed that 90 percent of the colleges
and 70 percent of the universities that the
council graded were of middling or poor quality9,the government
currently spends only 3% of its GDP on education which is inadequate and
insufficient.10

Curriculum issues:On
an average most Indian universities revise their curriculum only once
in five to 10 years but
even then they get defeated in both letter and spirit11Preschool for Child Rights states
that almost 99% of pre-schools do not have any curriculum at all.12Accreditation:In 2010,the Government
of India withdrew Deemed university status
from as many as 44 institutions,as academic considerations were not being kept
in mind by the management of these institutions and that “they were being
run as family fiefdoms”.13The
University Grant Commission found 39 fake institutions operating in India.14Teacher’s Careers:In the Indian
education system,a teacher’s success is loosely defined.It is either based on a
student’s success or based on the years of teaching experience which do not
necessarily correlate to a teacher’s skill set,ultimately promoting teachers
based on the grade level they teach or their seniority15Since
teachers do not see any incentive to grow,they often do not put efforts to
improve their craft.Corruption in
education:Capitation fee in
Indian
education system has been eroding the quality of education commercialising the
most essential tool of development 16Grade inflation:In CBSE,a 95 per cent aggregate is 21
times as prevalent today as it was in 2004.In the ISC Board,a 95 per
cent is almost twice as prevalent today as it was in 2012.CBSE in a meeting of
all 40 school boards early in 2017 urged to discontinue”artifical spiking of
marks”.But although the 2017 result were a correction,practice not discarded
completely.6.5 percent of mathematics examinees in 2017 scored 95 or more,10
times higher than in  2004,6 per cent of
physics examinees scored 95 or more,35 times more than in 200417
                      

                           Is The Education System Solely To
Be Blamed?             

Learning theory & not rot learning is a
necessary basis before embarking on any practical application.Without
remembering the theorems by which one arrived at a formula one can scarcely
understand why the formula when applied in a problem will yield results.The
reason American Education learning centres are chockfull of Indians,Chinese and
Japanese is because they have got too focused on the practical education and lost
sight of theory altogether.Hence the ideal solution would of course be to have
a combination,learning theory and understanding application.However when
competing in a congested rat race of education for a few jobs, students hardly
have the leisure to think their subject through and approach it roundly.Most
end up taking the shortest route of bunging in learning by the shovelful to get
ahead in the race and clinch a college,a course,a job.This problem is clearly
uniquely Indian,and as such is it because the Indian education system is at
fault or the Indian socio-economic system.Competition  can’t be done away with as long as there are
fewer resources than there are people.Also certain professions are preferred
over others and the rat race to enter these courses ultimately culminates in a
struggle to hog learning rather than enjoying the course.Engineers are preferred
over applicants from other courses and stars of yesteryear end up driving buses.18That
means even if our curriculum is given a practical approach and teachers
motivate the students to follow their passion,the result will not be as
expected due to feasibility.

                                      Saffronisation of education

The National Steering Committee on Textbook Evaluation
appointed by the NCERT itself, concluded that’the main purpose which
these books would serve is to gradually transform the young children into
bigoted morons in the garb of instilling in them patriotism’19.Dinanath
Batra,suggested the book The Hindus and to withdraw Penguin’s
American scholar Wendy Doniger’s work.20.In
the suggested one minorities were portrayed as main problems of the nation and
Muslims,Christians and Parsis referred to as foreigners,where struggle for
freedom was portrayed as war against the Muslims;all done in the name of
instilling nationalism and national pride21.
In the just-released text book of Class 10 RBSE, Hindutva ideologue Veer
Savarkar described as a great revolutionary and patriot.Savarkar was charged for
the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but exonerated because no corroborative
evidence of his involvement was furnished.It helped create the myth of Savarkar
‘the brave’,as book lauds’lifelong sacrifices’calls it’beyond words’.While the
book finds mention of non-cooperation, civil disobedience and the Quit India
movements,it finds little space for Mahatma Gandhi,the man behind them all22.Similarly,in
political science text book for Class 11,Congress has been described as a ‘nurtured
baby of the British empire. It says: “the party was established by the
capitalists and representatives of the upper middle class.”23

 

While foreign authors
were axed at the cost of including Gita in the course of Commerce department,History
department too included a book in its bibliography’Maharana Pratap aur
Haldighati Ka Yudh,’which claims that Maharana Pratap defeated Akbar.24The
iconic’Tryst with Destiny’speech of Jawaharlal Nehru was removed from the
revised social science textbook for Class 8 while Vasudev Devnani held office.To
rub salt into the wound, a chapter on Indira Gandhi’s Emergency period during
1975-77 was incorporated into the school syllabus vilify Congress.25

 Iconography another attmpt at saffronisation.New
text books teach that lotus is a symbol of victory.The saffron touch becomes
literal with the orange colour of cycles distributed to school students and the
newly introduced coffee colour of school uniform26.The
libraries have been asked to buy complete volumes of Pandit Deen Dayal
Upadhyay’s biography and works27.Call it
saffronisation,communalisation or politicisation of education,the basic fact
remains that young minds are increasingly becoming laboratories for
fundamentalists and extremists propagating their views and ideologies,the
innocent minds get fashioned in the beliefs which are inculcated in them and
the result is creation of a generation which is fed half baked truths,misrepresented
facts and distorted history.

                              Education as an opportunity in
India

Currently,higher education
constitutes 59.7 percent of the market,according to a study compiled by the
India Brand Equity Foundation.The de-globalisation wave impacting Europe with
Brexit,shows we have to be self-sufficient and capable in catering to our own
economic needs.We should re-define the purpose of the education
,our colonial education system is still geared towards generating babus and
pen-pushers under the newly acquired skin of modernity.We may have the most
number of engineering graduates in the world,but that certainly has not
translated into much technological innovation here. Rather,we are busy running
the call centres of the rest of the world,that is where our engineering skills
end.The goal of our new education system should be to create entrepreneurs,
innovators,artists,scientists,thinkers and writers who can establish the
foundation of knowledge based economy rather than the low-quality service
provider nation that we are turning into28.

Clearly,no better way than in
investing for the future in Indian millennials using the present employable
workforce by exploiting their intellect,ideas& technical know-how  to help the progeny become a formidable
workforce therefore globalising”The Indian Education System”.Take the
case of Suresh from an upper middle class family.Suresh completed his
engineering.His father now aspires to give him an Ivy League education and can
afford to pay  fee.But he finds himself
in a quandary as the overall costs are prohibitive,when it comes to sending his
son abroad,taking care of his expenses and other related costs.Add to this
having to stay away from their child during his education is another scary
dimension.Millennials strongly believe that the Indian education system should
transcend boundaries29.

A global educational
platform catering to the mass and class needs can be constructed by employing
our biggest asset,talented and educated youth within the country itself. Firstly
inculcating what’s new and innovative abroad. Like by using virtual reality
technology.To bridge the urban and
rural divide and to offer the urban educational facilities to the rural
students many efforts have been taken by the Annamalai University. One such
effort is to build an Internet-based learning resource centre at the University
as part of the community-university extension activities. The high school girl
students in the rural regions surrounding the University will be the targeted
beneficiaries through this pilot programme. Secondly, the project aims to
uphold the ideals of the President of India in bringing the urban learning
facilities to the rural students and to be a partner in the “Mission 2007”
agenda of the nation30.  By giving them a global platform solving
another major problem of our country “unemployment leading to
brain-drain”and most importantly not propagating any idealogy.It is
empowering in every aspect.

                          True
Role of Education: An Introspection 

The
primary objective of education is to enable us to know things we did not know
earlier,so as to improve the quality of life, this principle is not appreciated
enough by our educational policy makers for decades.The fact
that the government has failed to provide free education to children is also one
of the contributing factors to why 
saffronised institutions and organisations are filled with students all
year round.The poor,homeless illiterate parents have no option but to send
their children to these schools backing a particular ideology.Knowledge
flared with propagating an idealogy or just a means to secure tangible reward
of marks with solely monetary incentive driven teachers and system shall not
assist the tiny buds to identify the higher sense of purpose as a constructive
resource in nation building.The result was that our educational institutions and universities,instead
of being citadels of learning and enlightenment, became dens of unrest and
frustration impeding country’s growth.Unless any form of
knowledge is applied,it cannot be improved or suitably channelled.Any of what
is taught should be objective not inclined towards a line of thought. Every
pupil has a particular range of skills.A continued thrust on a rigid academic structure
would not be desirable.Through continued efforts of government who shall be
helped by young minds who are swaying away to foreign lands crossing high seas,
the bait can be transferred back in our country.