The lyrics “We don’t need no education” by Pink Floyd still resonates in our minds today. We might think of it as a funny song but it was intentionally written as a protest song against rigid schooling in general and boarding schools in the U.K. in the latter half of the 20th Century. In India, there is a very similar situation today. Students committing suicide has almost become a common occurrence and is regularly reported in the newspapers. Although there have been certain changes in the education system, there is no end to the lives thrown away by the students due to the increasing pressure. Kids today don’t even know about the state they live in, but they do know how to do a PowerPoint presentation full of misinformation—-that’s deaducation for you!
It is easy to enjoy school life in India till the 8th grade. However, the scenario changes dramatically from the 9th grade onwards. Not only is there a tremendous increase in the syllabus but also there is extreme parental as well as peer pressure to excel in every field. Students are encouraged to pursue the various fields available in the ‘Science’ stream. The most common career path chosen by a student is that of an Engineer. It has become so common that you already know the answer before a student tells you about his future plans. On the other hand, there are students who want to pursue Medical Science and they are no better. The one thing that all these students have in common is their reply to question “Why do you want to be an Engineer/Doctor?” They reply in unison, “My father/mother wants me to be one.” The students are so narrow-minded and dependent on their parents that they do not have the freedom to do what they want. It’s as if their whole life is planned and written in a prophecy created by their parents. Become an Engineer by 25, get married at 26, have a couple of kids by the age of 30, work tirelessly till you retire and finally spend the rest of your days with your grandkids till you die.
There are many places where the education system is flawed in India. One of the flaws is its inability to make parents understand the stressful lives their children lead. Yes, there are many parents who are sympathetic and forgiving. But compared to the vast population of India, the number of such parents is almost negligible. Another flaw is the competitive nature of the system. Students go out of their way to beat their peers in every examination, even if it only by 1%. As a result of this, students set unrealistic goals for themselves and ultimately, fall into depression when they fail to achieve the said goal. The third flaw and the most frustrating one is the increasing number of competitive exams a student has to clear in order to continue with his education. The most common ones are the CET (Common Entrance Test), AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Examination), AIPMT (All India Pre Medical Test), etc. These exams come almost immediately after a student’s 12th grade Board Examination which is equally important. How is a child going to cope up with this horrendous schedule and still manage to do well? It is next to impossible. Add to that the emotional stress the child goes through. The child might look normal physically but his mental condition is constantly deteriorating. The pressure accumulates throughout the year and takes its toll. The possibility of the child having a nervous breakdown or becoming blank increases drastically.
There have been many surveys showing the staggering condition of students due to the amount he studies. A student can spend as much 18 hours every day to do well in the coming examinations. But after getting a degree and becoming a graduate, you find it gruelling to find a decent job. It probably doesn’t come as a shock when you see bright and intelligent students leaving India and going to another country for education, work, experience, etc. It is understandable and completely justifiable. What is the point of working so hard and in the end achieve absolutely nothing? India has a lot of potential in many fields but the country doesn’t give its population any assurances. Consequently, the educated mass of India reduces and the nation remains stagnant and hence, does not progress.
Manu Joseph, editor of the Indian newsweekly, OPEN, in his novel “The Illicit Happiness of Other People”, has written how teenagers find it difficult to live through the shame of failing an exam. The whole novel is a satire indirectly criticizing the education system in India.
Corruption is also another social evil prevailing in India. Schools and Colleges ask for bribes in the form of donations and parents pay the necessary amount to ensure their child’s admission. Also, there are a few school teachers who take extra classes and tuition for the weaker students and these students end up getting ‘special treatment’ in school.
The present education system teaches students how to be intelligent. It teaches them what they require in order to be successful in life. This kind of education is frankly, worthless. True education system teaches students how to learn. Learning is the most important tool. Children must be taught how to think, not what to think. Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. A person cannot be successful and happy in life if he has no thirst for knowledge. If education is all about mugging up lines and clearing examinations, then education is not needed in our lives. Such education will make the person bitter, weak and unhappy. You will grow only if you are able to see past the technical aspects of books and appreciate the beauty of logic, reasoning and knowledge.
“Education can uplift a backward nation
Education can set you free from confusion
Education can drive out every doubt
Education can make you happy and proud.
Education can eliminate superstition
Education helps us in communication
Education is only a part of your success story
Education is the first step to fame and glory.”