We have to compete with China!
We have to keep ahead of China in mastering the English language skills!
We have to advance in our IT skills!
Is education all about money?
Or, is education about something else?
Serious consequences for India’s present and the future!
What Indian education now look for?
What is the top priority of Indian education?
Yes, there are some current issues in education that go unasked. And also, the government is also not doing much in education.
This has some serious consequences for India’s present and the future.
There is so much happening in Indian education, that is, the education sector.
How to see the education sector? As a market? As a business for profit?
Or, is education all about what the government alone does?
There is now a sort of frenzy in the education sector.
Education is now more and more seen by the public, at least by the parents, as a highly competitive market for advance. There is a highly commercial angle to education. From preschools to secondary schools to college and later to university. The more ambitious entrants, the entrepreneurs and others like big corporate houses like Tatas and HCL and also others, some venture capital funds are looking at education as a new business opportunity.
See some of the statistics they flaunt. There are, as they see, some 1.3 million schools there. That is their assessment of the market potential!
So, some new teaching shops, some new fangled It based coaching ventures like Educomp, Mother’s Pride, Zee Learn, Tutor Vista, Everon, Edurite, Tech Next and other time tested tutorials like the Koata based mushroom names are all dotting the Indian landscape.
At the other end, there are now certain geographies in TN (we know this region well and hence only this mention) like Namakkal in TN where there is a long tradition of teachers coming from and now this region is booming with new secondary schools that heavily advertise and promise parents their wards would get first or near top ranks in the school finals.
Every year this time, you see the newspapers full of full-page ads and the parents rush to this very backward town for admissions paying heavy tuition fees, running to a few lakhs even! Then of course, there is the rush of engineering colleges in which TN tops again, thanks to endemic corruption to which the state politics is prone to.
So, with the private universities coming up in many parts and also the government run universities also falling behind times, thanks to the sort of politics that downgrades all norms of university education (see the next edit),there is simply no room for any fresh ideas or fresh thinking.
So, the challenge for genuine educators is: to ask some hard questions. Now, the world is changing so fast. Education in India is as good or as bad as elsewhere. USA for instance is no more a heaven as imagined some years ago. Yes, in the Sixties or Seventies, dreaming of going to America, was an American Dream!
Now, there are restrictions on visas and there are some new challenges, the married couple don’t have it easy. The husband may be a student doing MS or PhD in maths, science or engineering, but his wife can’t work there, their children, may be born as US citizens but then the children have to come of age to claim visas for their parents!
Now, the average wait period for a Green Card is 6 years.
So, the dream of going abroad and settling down there is now not just Indians dream. It is the dream for every developing country citizens. In Europe it there is economic crisis. So, we see every EU country is restricting the entry of immigrants. Swiss debar free entry for migrants, so too other countries.
Every unemployment hit EU country faces the exodus of citizens for jobs to other countries. So, what is the choice for Indian students?
In our view, education is first not about money at all! Let us be clear about this! Education is all about other things. It is about a country’s education skills, our economic strength, political strength, our competitive strength vs. say China.
Yes, India must emerge as a strong country, a powerful technology-driven economy. India has some advantages now. Our demographic advantages. Our youngsters must master the English language as Chinese youngsters are weak in English but they would soon catch up with India. So, we have to run ahead of China. This is education’s priority number one!
China is competing with USA in computers, technologies even in saying, stealing a sabotaging the intellectual property, patents an other highly priority areas like defence, comunications and other high-tech areas. India too much keeps up with these challenges.
Unless India competes with USA and China, why even with Japan, with our policies to establish educational institutions for innovation, inventions and for creating new patents, we won’t be taken seriously. Our education is all about our own citizens’s skills and capacity to innovate new products and services.
India has to keep creating new Silicon Valley-type environment in educational innovations.