Schools and college help one acquire knowledge and insight about the future. But our education system is beset with flaws that hamper innovation and promote equality. Insipid teaching methods and admissions based on social quotas give rise to youth who are ill-equipped to meet the harsh realities of life and unequal society.
The education system has genuine handicaps that curb innovation. It does not privilege innovation, but values a lot of regurgitation. Our students are still going through the older syllabus that explain the same downfall of Mughals and the Third Law of Motion. Here is a system that values a graduate degree and encourage students to mug up so that they score A+ in every subjects. Stress should be on acquiring practical wisdom rather than cramming bookish knowledge.
The current framework requires students to essentially shut up and listen to the teacher rather than question the teacher about the basic assumptions and doubts. True, such practices may pose severe issues when 45-50 students are packed in classrooms. But it is time we train people to ask why not rather than why?
India also needs teachers for the taught as well so that they can be effective and up-to-date in every respect. Are teachers capable of understanding the emotions and wave-length of students? Why can't they go beyond the ritualistic routine like school assemblies, disciplinary practices and value education classes? Teachers should be reflexive enough to commune with the students to overcome the silence imposed on them and articulate their anxieties and confusion.
We also need teachers who don't expect students to be squawking what the teacher has told. Today, teachers are not encouraging children to be larks when they can soar in the skies.
Class attendance should never create a barrier to individual freedom. No one should sit inside the class for the sake of attendance. Our shallow curricula and rules demotivate students and alienate them from teachers.
There is a wonderful line that Einstein wrote in a letter to a school in Brazil which was unearthed a couple of years ago by accident in an old box and the letter said, "In encouraging creativity in the classroom, Why would you want to be a chicken, when you can become a lark."
For what the ranking is for?
The craze for ranking is another disease that has inflicted the academic culture. Striving for accreditation from a reputed body is a norm in the age of competitiveness. There is a lack of critical evaluation and the curricula give prominence to preparation and production of a project and showcasing it as an audit report.
Universities and school should not go after ranking. They should be known on the basis of their legacy and the alumni. They should benefit the marginalised sections of the society and provide them higher education. The university and school should be accessible to the local community also.
And finally, when the universities start to free themselves from political motives and cultural baggages only then the darkness will lift. Ideal education is possible then, helping students to become the torchbearers of future India.