ENHANCING EDUCATION QUALITY: THE INDIAN SCENARIO
I was invited yesterday to participate in a panel discussion with a retired IAS man running an NGO after his years of active service. The issue posed to me was my take on HOW to take the quality of average citizenship to a better more acceptable level thru bringing about the needed modifications within the education system.
Along with me were seated a bunch of educationists and planning board members. These persons struck me as a strange lot since they didn’t bother to get introduced to one another in any manner, and perhaps took each other for granted. So I took the initiative in doing so.
”Maybe they are exhausted by reading much” I thought to myself!
Reading too much can also be, along with tobacco consumption, harmful to your health you see!
“What kind of Indian Citizen do YOU have in your mind please?” I queried, before adding
”The citizen is a product emerging from a long –possibly 15 year long- process of schooling at preprimary, primary, secondary and tertiary levels. If ,in your eye, our layman has oddities that can’t be easily stomached, and if his civic manners are beneath your contempt, well there have been unforgivable errors and deviations in the process in which he has been brought up both at home and at school and in the familiar community ambiance.
“Let me repeat—the key factors here are parents, teachers and the community at large, not necessarily the Indian society. The errors committed already may include sins of omission and sins of commission.
“Both parents have unwittingly passed on to the growing kid stupid illustrations and demonstrations of what an adult ought to be!
“The teachers might have frustrated the kid by remaining insincere and superficial–and also by stonewalling his unending queries.
“The home community also may have brainwashed him into thinking along an extremely narrow band, ghettoized him internally and pumped misinformation and disinformation of the worst kind into his cranium.
So if you tell me what kind of Indian citizen you have in your mind, I can tell you what tools are helpful in turning out such a person!”
Everyone listened. One florid-faced participant given to too much terseness in communication, dragged the topic to BR Ambedkar, and declared that this challenge was too much for all Indians.
Another gentleman, a retired engineering professor, slumbered on, probably carried away by some day dream!
Yours truly listened with a faint smile.
The Planning Board guy said that financial resources couldn’t be found for overhauling the school syllabus.
I hinted that only minor modifications would be needed in the primary school syllabus but that these ought to be implemented on a war footing by sincere public officials and school teachers since in the present case the projected end point product-the good Indian citizen- would be emerging only after a decade or longer!
Cups of green tea and biscuits and fried snacks came and most of us relaxed visibly on seeing the same. I got the feeling that the IAS man must have felt intensely lonely sitting in his cubicle and so he had called all of us to be able to meet human beings once in a blue moon!
To cut a long story short, the meandering discussion roamed from issue to issue, challenge to challenge, hints and references to numerous committees and commissions set up earlier —all the 36 of them in Free India–but never arrived at any definitive resolution at all!!
What are your thoughts after reading me please?