– Swami Vivekanand.
Friends, taking up a topic close to every parents heart, may be everyone’s heart – Education. A topic very common in our talks nowadays. And the central part of the discussion is that we all try to find problems in it or with it. Before dwelling upon them, let us understand the meaning of Education, first.
Etymologically, the word “education” is derived from the Latin word ēducātiõ (“A breeding, a bringing up, a rearing”) from ēducõ (“I educate, I train”) which is related to the homonym ēdūcõ (“I lead forth, I take out; I raise up, I erect”) from ē- (“from, out of”) and dūcõ (“I lead, I conduct”). (SOURCE – WIKIPEDIA).
In short we define, Education is “to draw out“…
To draw out the qualities already inherent in Human. This has been the basis of all the education systems from the advent of civilisation. Experimentation has kept the education systems evolving. The systems also have changed in accordance with times, from verbal to visual.
Today, we will dwell upon the problems (or so called) with the Education system in India, today. The biggest problem with the Education system is the fear of failure in students. Peer pressure and also the pressure to excel in one’s respective field is leading to a situation where a child is expected to perform well, especially in the primary and secondary education. We came up with a solution that the students will not be failed till Grade 8th. But again it has led to problems of
1. rotte culture,
2. poor quality education
3. lack of creativity on the part of Teachers,
4. lethargic teachers with no inclination towards teaching
5. no practical approach towards learning at any level in School.
The list can go on, but let’s stop here. We will discuss the above 5 points one by one. Try to elaborate the problem and find a solution to it as well, in our own little way.
1. ROTTE CULTURE :
1. Some students of 9th and 10th Class are very good at learning and mugging up the answers. They mug up and then go write their exams. So after a few days or weeks of their exams, if we are to ask them, what they have learnt, they either go blank or they are not able to explain. They are the ones who excel at primary and secondary level of school, considered as “scholars” by their co-students, but fail or are found out as mediocre in their higher studies. The best joke I have encountered during these years is that some mug up the mathematics problems too.
2. The problem is also with the Boards we are studying in, as the questions asked in papers have become so predictable, that teachers too don’t take efforts to teach and make the students just mug up the repeating questions or methods.
1. The students need to be made to understand the concepts through different uses of media. Practicals for science and Problem solving should be encouraged. For example many experiments of science are on YouTube. Children can be encouraged to refer to them while studying. There are many worksheets available which can be put to use without overbuderning the child.
2. Mathematics should be explained in its pure form first and then the short cuts should be taught. Students should be made to solve a few sums on their own, after the method is explained.
3. Rotte is not bad, as we all know our tables by heart. I still remember me being taught the tables of 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1.25 and 1.50 with the regular ones from 1 to 30. They have helped me a lot in calculating. The squares and the cubes need to be learnt too. So rejecting Rotte method outright is also not the solution, but we need to decide and limit its use.
We still want our kids to learn the Sanskrit Shloks at home. This leads to two things, learning more words and grasping and retention. Gurukul’s used to do this. My spiritual teacher, H.H. Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale always reminds during his discourses that a child should know atleast 10000 (ten thousand) shloks in his childhood itself.
2. Quality of Education.
1. The education system as a whole lacks quality. It is also impractical. The lessons taught remain in books and are never put to use. Rather kids are not taught how to put them to use. My Students always ask me about the use of Differentiation and Integration in our day to day life. We need to sit back and relax and try to find answers to these questions and find out their practical needs.
2. The system is so old. Given to us by the British. They wanted clerks so they designed the system to fulfill their needs. We need leaders so we need to design the system our way.
1. Let us make education fun. Let the students learn on their own. Let us give them a thought and let them explore. Let them ask questions. Let us be prepared to answer. This is the best way.
Instead of teaching a kid about farming from the books, can we not take him to a field and let him observe and learn.
I always recall the idea of an open university like that of Rishi Vishwamitra. He took Ram and Laxman to the forests to protect his “Yadnya”. On their way from the kingdom to the hermitage, he used to talk to the boys about the trees, shrubs and the medicinal plants as and when they encountered them on their way. One place, they saw a heap of bones lying. On being asked, Vishwamitra told the boys about history. It was all so informal, that it interested the boys too. Rather it help their inquisitiveness to grow.
2. We need to ignite the passion for education. Introduce many fields available and leave it upto the child to decide his/her course. Instead of just spending time with the books, they need to be let out into the open.
3. Homework should be discontinued. It is an evil which eats up the students time at home. Instead understanding and clarifying the concepts at home should be impressed upon kids.
At this note, I stop my flow to be continued in my next blog. In the meanwhile would urge upon my readers to think upon and put forth your points and arguments whether in favour or against. We all are a part of this system and in no way I want to criticise it, but build up a healthy debate towards improving it.
Till then, Adieu…