What’s Wrong With Our Education System And How Can We Change It!

It’s exam time in India. A time of deep tension for students and parents. All that you’ve learnt in a year will have to reproduced in a two hour written exam and the student will be assessed by what she has written in those two hours. If you fail to answer a few questions you’ll be at a loss and may even fail the exam. Result time is even more distressing. Students who didn’t score will be devastated. Some even commit suicide.

It’s quite apparent that there is something very wrong with our educational system. The whole school year, students are cramped with ‘knowledge’ and this knowledge is tested in the two hour exam. It’s only the ability of students to memorize certain thing is tested. Human beings are not only memory beings. There is a whole lot of potential in human beings. From arts, literature, music, innovation, entrepreneurship to finding path breaking discoveries that’s needed to save our planet from its myriad crises. Are we equipping our students for this mammoth task that’s their destiny?

Our education system is outdated. Look at our schools. Don’t they look like barracks or factories? Yes they are. They are the legacy of our industrial revolution. When the industrial revolution wanted to mass produce workers who  have minimal understanding of the world around them, our modern school system began. We are still stuck in the early 19th century. Our schools, classrooms, syllabuses, examination system haven’t changed much from that of the 19th century system.

Our education system is totally out of sync with the current political, social, cultural, scientific, environmental scenario our children are living. Our syllabuses do not touch upon the gravest issues that are threatening our planet. Our youngsters are the custodians of our future. They should be equipped to tackle our future, which, frankly speaking doesn’t look so bright.

How do we change that? First we have to modernize our syllabuses according to current world scenario. Schools should not be a place to cramp knowledge, but should be a place where they should have enough knowledge to deal with life situations. We should do away with the archaic examination system. The syllabus should be modeled in such a way that students should be able to apply their knowledge in the classroom itself. Situations should be simulated in the classroom that they shall test their knowledge in the class room. We also should do away with the archaic examination system. Students should be assessed by the skill set they develop to create, construct, model, cooperate and finding solutions. The assessment can be on a continuous basis. FINAL EXAMINATION  which hangs on the students like the Damocles Sword should be done away with.  Instead, let them write poetry, short stories, essays, novels, paint, do craft, do modeling, take photographs, make films, do drama, do scientific experiments!

My 11 year old son has joined a ‘robotics project’ in his school.  In this project they learn some programming.  The students brain storm about what to create.  Every day they create something new. There is no pressure of an examination. He says in the final project they will create something BIG! Whether they create something big or not, he surely has fun and learns something new every day. That should be the basis of modern education. Have fun and learn something new.

Finland has done away with examination system, at least up to 16 years. That’s a good beginning. However, we’ve a long way to go in modernizing our educational system.

Disclaimer: I’m just a parent of an 11 year old. I’m not an educational expert. Things I’ve put together here are the result of my experience. I look forward to hearing from the experts on how we can go on with this project. Let this be the beginning of a debate.

Binu Mathew is the editor of Countercurrents.org. He can be reached at [email protected]



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