I wasn't that prompt in blogging since a couple of months. Yet, now I am not that happy in making a post since the content here is not that graceful. Fortunately or unfortunately, I had an opportunity to have my schooling under various syllabuses -say both CBSE as well as the Kerala State! If I am not wrong, approximately 9 to 10 years had passed since we had written our 10th standard board exams under CBSE. There was a time when CBSE was viewed as a prideful system of education. Even the kids of my generation (say born in late '80s or '90s) could relate themselves to the royal reign of CBSE. There was a time when the people in the neighborhood kept asking us like " Oye you belong to CBSE?" and if we say "Yes" then from the very next moment, they would start passing a look as if we belong to 'that class of the society' called "the modern upper middle class or the pretended society". There were talks like the CBSE v/s State v/s the ICSE among the local educated families and kids would debate over the royal standards of their own varied syllabuses and bargain over it and that was a common scene in the evening tuition classes.
Whatever, CBSE had always been a pillar to the Indian Education system since1960s. It had revised the textbooks and syllabuses many a number of times since its inception. I guess students still follow the same set of textbooks that we had followed back a decade ago. In the mean time, it had introduced various changes in the examination pattern and marking as well.
However, as per the recent turn ups such as the leakage of the question papers, I guess CBSE has to become more vigilant so as to keep up its credibility. It is their huge responsibility to bring back the trust which the students had in them. It is so devastating to know that the question paper leakages has now become a trending issue for each and every exams such as the SSC, Railways and various other recruitment exams. Yet, the filthy attack of the cheaters on one of the largest education boards of the nation is quite alarming.Where is the fault? What leads to such practices? It is heard that various coaching institutes too have their involvements in these question paper leakages. Primarily, we can see that the issue is nothing, but the unhealthy spirit of competition. Earlier, the competition prevailed among the studious kids and class toppers, but right now, the dirty spirit of unhealthy competition had spread its wings over the educators and parents as well. Coaching institutes take pride over their results and flaunt it on the the newspaper advertisements.
On the other hand, teaching or educating and learning has become a mechanized process over the past decade to a large and vulnerable extend. According to the current scenario, students are viewed as clients while the educational institutions are seen as business organizations. This has turned into a corporate magma at national and international levels.
Where are we going? The fee structure of IIM-A has increased from 4 lakhs to 21+ lakhs over the past 9 years. Same the case with the engineering and medicine as well. These days, everyone out there is either an engineer or a doctor. For Christ's sake, me too a software engineer, yet a literature bug by passion and profession. How many engineers work in their core area? How many MBBS grads manage to do an MD in their area of interest? The Indian system of education makes everyone a graduate, say merely with almost zero productivity. The question paper leakage has to be viewed in par with the overall faulty system of the Indian Education System itself. I remember someone said: "The Indian Education System lacks two things- Education and System! If someone manages to cross these odds, he or she will try to escape from India and this is the trend here". One cannot blame the students for following such trends.
Personally, I have done my engineering just to realize what other things I could really do. I see many of my 'Engineered' friends working as a 'Software Engineer' irrespective of their trades! I have got friends who work in the banking sector after their engineering graduation. I know an MBBS graduate who is aspiring to become an actor. I know an economist doing social work in Bangalore and I know a literature graduate who had turned into a painter as well. I wondered once when a microbiologist friend of mine said that he wanted to do sound engineering after his degree. I even know a guy from Jodhpur who took up farming after dropping his degree Thus goes the scene and there is no mistake in any of these cases. The problem lies with the system of education where a single day could decide one's entire life. The entire future of a person depends upon a one day's performance and that too is mainly based on his/her ability to mug up raw and theoretical facts. Generally, irrespective of the syllabuses and courses, most of the examinations in India are more like a memory test and this has led to the abstraction of many a number of genuine talents in various fields.
The Indian system of education is still not free from the Mc Caulay's system, which was once introduced by the British, so as to produce enough number of clergymen for their service. This has led to the deterioration of the natural learning skills of a person, which was prominent in India during the Gupta era. This doesn't mean that we have to go back to the ancient system of 'gurukula', but this implies that specialized learning should be implemented on a larger scale. The system has to be changed. Unless we bring such changes which includes pragmatic learning and skill development in the grass root level, projects like 'Start up India, Stand up India' would remain just within taglines and campaigns. Also, our system is not bothered enough about character development and social behavioral skills of the students. Sex education, awareness about cleanliness and life skill learning are of much poor quality in a practical sense and it is so demeaning to know that a country with such a large population getting unaware of basic life and social skills. Most of the academicians in the private sector turn their blind eye towards these issues since it won't provide them 'returns' on an investment basis. On the other hand, here, in such a competitive world, where you apply for a job or course, you have at least 10 lakh people waiting for the same in the queue with you and when all of you are being evaluated on a single day's performance, which is immensely based upon reproducing acquired knowledge and facts from memories, there would be a natural tendency to stamp the person next to you. This tendency, on a wider and much intense situation, can turn into cheating and other sort of malpractices where the demand is much larger than the supply. Today, 10th standard and 12th standard means nothing other than scoring high marks and getting a good entrance rank and we don't really know where we are 'ENTERING' into!
When coaching institutions and corporate organizations in this field gets the taste of the business boom in this area, it can have certain negative impacts as well where a parallel underworld could be formed. The coaching institutes, private schools and other organizations are also the part of the same level playing field. There will always be a person around the vehicle driving test ground whom you could secretly bribe and manage to get the license without taking the test. Similarly, there would be a person wandering somewhere around most of the red-tape affected government offices who would help you to get your work done with a simple bribe. Undoubtedly, the education system is also corrupted in the same manner. A lot of private schools manage to get affiliation with much less facilities by bribing the boards for a recognition. Teachers are of less qualified and qualified teachers are underpaid as well. The worst case scenario is found magnified in the private sector.
We cannot blame the entire private sector at all. But, the voided system has to be blamed instead. When a question paper gets leaked, lakhs of students are affected. Lakhs of students could lose their faith in the system. How worse the situation could be, where the one being evaluated loses his/her trust in the system of evaluation! The CBSE is currently going through such a phase since such an incident is always inexcusable on any grounds. This is a social issue and need to be approached apolitically. Only an apolitical and diligent approach with a welcoming call for change in the entire education system could bring an effective and positive change. Otherwise, betting and mark-fixing days are not that far in the education field also!
It is to be noted that when there are lakhs of children who cannot have access to schooling due to poverty and various physical impairments, here comes another extreme where the entire educational system itself is hanging on false fixtures! In either ways, all of us are equally responsible since all of us remain as a part of the system. Let us think different, act different and move different. As Tagore had said, let the nation awake at the point - "Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free."
- Rahul Sharma
Pic courtesy: Internet