In the education system followed by most of us (teachers and students alike) in India, the only purpose of the student is to score marks in exams; at the best they will try to succeed in competitive exams such as the AIEEE, AIPMT, IIT-JEE, CLAT, CAT and others. The education system that India is still following was established by the English Colonials whose aim was to create clerks and civil servants; the patterns has no deviated much since then. Maybe the present generation of the youths have added the grand ambition of becoming an engineer, doctor or lawyer to that, but the basic idea is the same.
Millions of students are subject to mindless rat race every year, which is pointless and mindless. The mind numbing competitive preparations crushes the creativity of originality of who knows how many talented individuals; it even drives brilliant minds to self-harm and suicide. Since education is sees as a means to climb the social and economic ladder, extreme stress is given to examination evaluations, which follow a standardized pattern; the criteria for performance at some elite colleges in the country borders on the absurd. One college demanded 105% as criteria for admission!
Our education system is primed for teaching and testing knowledge at every level, which is as opposed to teaching the students necessary skills of life and employment. This results in mechanical mugging; the knowledge – if gained at all – is quickly forgotten as soon as the semester exams are over. There is the next goal of achieving maximum grades for the next semester. If students are taught skills, then that stay for them for their lifetime. Instead, the individual who can cram the most is rewarded the most. There is no acquiring of knowledge, only mugging up of information, which is the basis of the performance evaluation of a student. There is no scope of any deviance from the system and risk taking is in fact mocked by the teachers. Memorizing is not learning, but the teachers take the easy way out and simply match the answer papers with the texts at hand, thereby negating any creativity that the student might have shown. The result is that the mediocre gets the highest evaluation and the creative gets a low score. This kills the scope of research and innovation, which is most necessary for taking the country forward. We forget that retention power is not actual knowledge and when the youths are tested for knowledge in real life, they fail, resulting in mediocre performance.
Assembly line education with only produce assembly line youth brigade, when the economic requirement of the country is innovation, research and unique ways of problem solving. Yet, the systems demands that what is good for one is good for all; instead of offering customized methods and tools of learning, the education system insists on a standardized method of teaching and evaluation. But one size may not fit all. If the government would not exert iron control over the syllabi and what should be taught and how, and relax the evaluation process so that the students could be assessed on their personal strengths and not weaknesses, then we would be able to garner a stronger youth force ready to serve the country well.