In India no one talks of education!
Why? Our leaders engaged in other activities?
See what is the state of India as a country and people?
Of course, in China and elsewhere there is too much talk of education
What we talk in India, about education, is more about our bread and butter issues!
We talk of the money involved in education!
Every other politician and crook in education is the money-making ventures, all called universities, even!
Education in India is now a highly commercial and highly even degrading activity.
So, good institutions suffer, the bad and the wicked ones get all publicity!
There are confusions and contradictions abounding too much in India, in the education sector.
The ministry of education, the HRD, seems to be in a limbo, for sure!
The minister additionally burdened with the controversial telecom portfolio. So, he seems to have no time. Nor, is her very serious about education reform? In some definite, ideological sense?
The public sector commitment to promoting education at all stages? Or, is he for private sector taking the genuine burdens on the state?
We think it is time and it is someone else’s moral burden to ask such questions. The questions may be uncomfortable to some and may be too pleasing or too consoling for others.
We are not sure. But the critical question is that any great nation can’t be silent, as we are unfortunately seemed to be and this is what we like to discuss and debate here.
Just now, in the Wall Street Journal(Dec 8,2010) there is an opinion piece titled “A Sputnik Moment for US Education” China delivers another wakeup call to those who think American schools are globally competitive”.
Sixty three years after Sputnik caused an earthquake in American education by giving us reason, the piece writes itself into some sort of new wisdom.
The Soviet Union by launching the Sputnik one day, all of a sudden, remained the US, the then and even now the most powerful nation, in terms of military power, technological and innovative energy and strength, Soviet Union then surpassed in such dramatic way.
Now, the newspaper says, China has delivered another shock.
On math, reading and science tests given to 15 year olds in 65 countries last year Shanghai’s teenagers topped every other jurisdiction in all three subjects. Honh Kong also ranked in the top four on all three assessments.
Hong Kong earlier in 2009 took part in OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, this is the first time mainland China came along and Shanghai, the country’s flagship city on which Beijing had lavished much investment and attention and thus today we can see the shining city, enjoying relative freedoms, perhaps, has scored a point and proved the dictum where freedom thrives there real achievement is also possible in terms of academic and artistic creativity and capabilities in other related areas as well.
China, Shanghai in particular has produced top PISA scorers, Shanghais population is 20 million, larger than those of many countries and if it can do in one city then, it is noted the other, say even 10 more cities can do so.
The OECD experts reason that Shanghais did this, as a leader of reforms, whatever that may mean in China today.
Much more surprising for educators everywhere, and more so for Indians, that on the top PISA scores, there are five other countries. It is no surprise here that countries that have similarly scored are: Singapore, Taipei, Finland, South Korea and Japan. In reading, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands also did well.
The USA that is the rub here (!) was once again sadly in the middle of the pack in reading and science and a bit below in international average in math.
So, concludes the piece, not getting worse. But this is a poor consolation.
US gains were very modest, mostly flat and US modest gains were trumped by many other, smaller countries with modest endowments.
US imagined, says the writer of the piece, that yes, many countries were doing well in education but not China.
But this latest news came as a shock. What is not mentioned in the article here is the fact that the USA, that is the general public or bureaucrats are not aware or very much agitated about what is taking place in India.
But we are sure; Barack Obama who is so obsessed with the thought of Bangalore outpacing the Silicon Valley is deeply worried! The Obama couple while in India made it a point to meet Indian children, college students and the couple, as serious educators, is seriously engaged in the upbringing of their two daughters.
In fact, surprisingly, the US couple left behind their two daughters to stay back and attend school rather than accompany their parents in their trip to India.
In India, we would have done it!
But not the US couple!
That shows how serious the Obamas take the education of their children.
Obamas engaged tuition for their children and so too such high profile entrepreneur like Bill Gates. He has engaged an online tutor, an American India at that!
Anyway, in India we seem to be lethargic when it comes to action.
In education we need a little bit more than what we see today happening!
Image source : synthtopia.com