I’ll start by stating some facts. In the year 2015, two colleges of the Delhi University had a cutoff of 100%. Maharashtra SSC Class X results have had students exceeding 100% marks, with 193 in 2017, and 128 in 2018.
Doesn’t this indicate that our education system has reached such a platform, where marks literally have no limits whatsoever. You add moderation and the numerous quotas we have, and you get numerous students scoring 102, 104%. It’s a real irony, that marks, a quantified unit, has ended up having no limit, whereas a human mind, which travels the length of the entire universe in a second, has forcefully been limited to textbooks and notes only.
The question I have today is, where is the practical application of our theory? All of us do get the theory from the textbooks, but just a select few actually realize how to apply it in our day to day lives.
It’s the way we’ve been taught. Education does not ONLY mean learning the rules by rote memory, it should mean using those rules to develop oratory skills, to develop the confidence and talent of pupils. However, students are barely taught how to use their skills. Our society today does not need to be de-schooled, it needs be to RE-schooled. Theory is extremely essential, agreed, but what about applying it in the world? A chef could memorize all his recipes perfectly well, but unless he learns how to actually apply it in his kitchen to perfection, there’s a very major probability that his attempted cake shall end up becoming a grainy porridge. An actor could learn all the theory of expressions and emotions, but unless he is put up before the camera, he’ll never get that flair a great actor needs. Our minds have not been taught how to use our rote memory in real life. This race for marks ends up halting an enthusiastic thought process in the mind.
Differential learning is a method of designing and delivering instruction to best reach each student as per his or her interests and learning ability. It’s something practiced in a very few schools, limited to urban areas, and only up to the primary level. Once secondary school begins, students are ushered into the rat race of board specifications yet again. Just as every person has a unique fingerprint, every child has a specific learning capacity, and a specific interest. By having such a generalized pattern of education strictly confined to the textbook, not every child can tap into his fullest potential.
A student today gets labeled in society if he decides to pursue only what he enjoys, but fails to get the required marks that everyone expects. In every child lies an eagle, waiting to spread open its wings, waiting to soar high and explore the world. But today our education system expects all us eagles to fly in a straight line, without exploring the huge sky.
In countries like Finland, Sweden, Canada, Russia, and Japan, students are given projects that need to be analyzed and researched upon, instead of merely copying and pasting from Wikipedia, and getting the required marks. The things taught, vary from student to student, in order to help them learn better. Standardized testing does exist there too, but the difference in the way things are taught is huge. Textbook rote learning is not encouraged. There are a wide variety of activities that allow you to discover yourself. In most schools in India, you pursue your talents with little to no help from the system, and even the most reputed schools make you forfeit them as you get close to the board exams. The race for marks halts any and all creative, practical thinking, which is why India mass produces students that can perhaps code well, or understand economics, but fail at gaining the confidence you need to excel in today’s world.
There’s also this one question that many people love asking. Why isn’t there a Microsoft, or an Apple or a Google in India? Haven’t we got those brilliant marks? Shouldn’t that be enough to create a global tech giant? I’ll tell you why we’re not able to have something so creative in India today in one line.
“Education must be used for CREATING employment, unlike the present times, where it is used for merely GETTING employment.”
Being trained to get a good placement by just abiding by the textbook without thinking out of the box, we have created a narrow mindset lacking creativity and adventure. India today has the largest youth population, a storehouse for potential, but it also has an astoundingly high number of unemployed people, more than 40 million people today are unemployed in India and more than 50% of graduates are unemployed.
To achieve our basic needs, we solely depend on existing jobs. If only exposure was given to students in their formative years, if only, practical application was taught, India wouldn’t be in such dire straits. We could create job opportunities that would aid ourselves and society.
Another thing our education system has made us believe is that stereotyped jobs like those of an engineer, or a doctor, or an IAS for instance, are the only ways to succeed. Because of this orthodox thinking, because of such a unilateral way of learning, our minds constrict so severely, we are unable to bring anything new to the society. Why necessarily a Facebook, why necessarily a Google? Lijjat Papad, an independent organization that makes something so simple and ordinary, has an annual turnover of 6.5 billion rupees and it employs 43000 people. As long as we’re going to let our marks decide our careers, our minds won’t be able to look beyond the ordinary. From something as simple as a bakery in a village, or opening a school for the underprivileged in a third-tier town, to a multinational company that represents India on the global level, if only we were taught from a young age how to use our concepts out in the world, India could have it all. All we need is a sense of freedom, freedom to break away from the textbook, which must prevalently be given to students right from their schooling.