Thanks to technological revolutions and tools
Every country has its own education traditions and cultures
Dominant cultures dominate!
Yes, India has made a lot of progress in education. The New Year must give us some new ideas and new beliefs.
Education is now expanding and everyone is also talking about education. So, education is a vast subject and a vast ocean.
This magazine is being read by a wide variety of people, big and small and the government is also talking a great deal.
The Prime Minister says higher education is getting revolutionised. One imagines he means that under his government he is just doing that!
But then there are issues after issues in education. It depends who you are and what positions you hold in government or outside and what your own inner belief systems are.
Given our own backgrounds, Santiniketan and Oxford, no less, the Sri Ramakrishna Mission, we believe that India has a peculiar duality in our educational beliefs.
While India has its own great civilisations tradition, there is a strong current of otherworldliness, a great tradition of learning languages and religions and cultures of scholarship, scholars are rated high in our scheme of things, so there is this great literary tradition.
So, we have to have some leg in our own traditions. So, Indian education has to impart a great system of values, stress on ethics and morality and a sense of spirituality and what have you.
Then, there is our history. A history of occupations, coming of the Mughals and the British and the history of modern education in India and our mastery of English.
So, today thanks to our English education we have become a country great human’s resources capability and this we have to build upon.
India, in short, is a software superpower. So, India is taken seriously in the scheme of things, India is now counted along with China, at least in the eyes of the world, in the USA’s own scheme of things as a serious player on the international scene.
This is where we are now.
Then there are our own priorities and also the priorities of the outside world.
India has to become more competitive, a competitive nation in order to move forward and make India a wealth creating country.
Indian GDP is of course modest compared with that of China and yet, India at present, at least in the next two to five years is ahead of China in deploying the English edge, so to say.
In the BPO space, India is almost neck to neck with Philippines and all these checklists are needed to know how our education system needs to be reorganised or reformed and we have to take forward.
At present, at the moment, we see education in India is highly commercialised and there is a great deal of investments by all and sundry to open schools and impart education.
This we cant avoid or need not bewail.
This is how reality is.
The US economy till it becomes a new engine of growth would continue to attract Indian youth and there will be a great deal of migration of students to the outside world. To the USA, UK and Australia, in spite of the rise in racial attacks for which we have to be prepared.
At home, inside India, we see the new trends.
Prof.Amartya Sen has taken up the cause of reforming the primary education. Given his reputation and proximity to the Prime Minister the government might listen to his ideas.
But then, what he can do as a single individual?
There is a great deal of burden on the children today. Today just as we open the newspapers are the news about children committing suicides! Alas! It is owing to failures in exams!
There is heavy burden. School bags are a drag.
Even the best of schools, in cities like Bangalore carry forward this burden.
Obviously, parents, school educators and others are really worried about this burden. But there doesn’t seem to be easy ways for reform.
One suggestion is make schools only half day activity. It is said this is done in Germany. But this is a very sensible decision for various reasons.
School traffic, urban traffic, urban congestion in front of schools in almost all busy localities justifies making schooling a half day activity.
The half day schooling would reduce school work burden, reduce tensions all around and clear the urban traffic congestion.
Education for all can be the slogan for the New Year too.
There are not enough teachers; there are now empty schools, thanks to spread of schooling as well. These are all good signs.
Reduce schooling’s burden:
Introduce music and dances and some crafts as part of the schooling curriculum.
An appreciation of the cultures and languages and etiquette and manners will mould the personality of the children.
Family values, nationalism and internationalism and inter-cultural, inter-religious faith education.
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