Post Mortem

Sorry state of affairs in our system of education

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/27/2019 11:10:33 AM IST

 Future of any country/society is solely dependent on the system of education. Educated country/ society shall progress/develop, and move on in all facets successfully. I’m not talking about the literacy rate, but the system of education. Hardly many can candidly distinguish between literate and educated. If I were to ask: Are you literate? Without any hesitation, the response shall perhaps be ‘YES”. While on the other, for this question: Are you ‘educated’? The answer would not be that overwhelming and many tend to hesitate. Why is it so? Our system of education believes in imparting three Rs—reading-(w) riting-(a) rithmatic. 

Philosopher-pedagogue Paulo Freire calls any education based on 3Rs is like ‘banking system (parrot type)—taught to repeat whatever ‘all knowing teacher’ who thinks that his/her pupils do not know anything and so dump the things whatever he/she knows in such ways that the curricula/syllabi asks for. Hence, our system of education is geared towards examination/grade oriented and thus determines pupils on the basis of the grades secured. There are thousands and millions of post-graduate, PhD holders, engineers and doctors who are unemployed and working in some fields that are unrelated for paltry salaries. We have the highest rate of unemployed young people at present than ever before. Another glaring example is: ‘Make in India’ did not take-off because our system of education is not ‘innovation-propelled’, rather ‘exam-oriented’ and ‘grade-triggered’. 

One common thread that weaves some of the prominent educationists such as Paulo Freire, John Dewey, Ivan Illich, Jiddu Krishnamurthy and Ken Gnanakkan is that “Education should be for life and ought to unfold about the learners and the things around them—meaning”—integrated wherein parts by all means should belong to whole. Do not compartmentalize, but integrate. Instead, our system of education continues to compartmentalize and fragment. Our educational system has never been premised on ‘problem posing’—rather straightaway look for answers without knowing how to solve the problem and therefore, ‘Why” and ‘How’ are absent in the thought process of the students. So, it fails to push the learners to get engaged in the action-reflection-action systematization and dynamic process. It believes in providing ready-made answers by offering ‘guides’.

Entering or embarking on ‘critical inquiry’ and ‘critical application’ has never been the tools of our educational system, rather ‘spoon-feeding’ and ‘knowledge-dumping’ happens to be the hallmark of our system of education. Therefore, there is dearth of super-skills and innovation know-how in our country. This is why India has more semi-skilled and unskilled people having many degrees added next to their names. Therefore, approaching education as a commodity shall certainly make those who run the institutions richer and richer, because education is thus considered as a commodity and not as a tool arousing critical consciousness. 

India is young, comprising of young generation that constitutes more than 52 per cent of our population. Nonetheless, can this young India take the country to further heights? Narratives and slogans are good to garner votes, but in reality, where are we now and what type of India we want or do we need? We live in a world of skills and super-skills, because only those countries and societies that are engaged in innovations can survive in the competition-based economies. What do we need with knowledge? Does our knowledge help in creating something useful in terms of a product or something that takes further? We may be proud of the fact that some parts or regions of the country are fully literate and in that too we have failed. So, this is the time that we ponder over and give serious thought to our system of education. 

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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