Indian Education at Cross-Roads
Dr. Harnek S. Kaile
education is at cross-roads," stated the University Education
Commission fifty-two years ago and the statement is equally applicable
to the Indian education today. If we consider education in the
narrow sense (knowledge of 3 R's), then, as we often hear people
saying that in old days, a primary pass could become a good patwari, but
now even a matriculate cannot write a good letter. If we consider education
in the wider sense that it should modify the behaviour of the child or
improve social efficiency and produce good citizens, then we are
not giving education worth the name.
Certain countries of the world are at the height of glory because of
their sound educational system. Our educational system is as rotten as
it was during the British regime: teachers teach with the same old
methods; stories of dead kings and queens are learnt by heart and
education is not related to the needs and aspirations of the people.In
arithmetic, pupils are asked to solve problems like: if we mix ten
litres of water with thirty litres of milk and sell it at the same
rate, what will be the percentage of gain? Thus, an impression of
corrupt practices is created in the minds of small children.
system is also old and defective. The authorities have done nothing
substantial to improve it; the students, of course, are making
improvements in the techniques of cheating.
If we consider the different levels of education, we find that there
are drawbacks and drawbacks everywhere.
Kothari Commission suggested that every child should be given
pre-primary education for one to three years. But in our country,
pre-primary schools exist mainly in cities where education is so
costly that it is beyond the reach of a common man. In fact,
pre-primary education is imparted only to those children who don't
need it and the needful are deprived of it.
someone were to prepare a literacy map of the world and colour the
of the earth black, India will, to our shame, look like a dark
continent", K. G. Saiyidain.
In no way we
can ignore the importance of primary education. According to our
Constitution, by 1965, education should have been made free and
compulsory for children in the 6 to 14 age group. Keeping this
objective in view, Primary Education Acts were passed in several
states (one such Act was passed in Punjab in 1960).But it is a pity that,
by now, not to speak of the 6 to 14 age group, education is not free and
compulsory even for children in the 6 to 11 age group. The Govt. of India
admitted in 'Challenge of Education' (1985) that 93.4 percent of eligible
children attend primary schools. This percentage is only 62.9 in Assam
and there are districts where the enrolment of girls is as low as 17 percent
(Jallore in Rajasthan). Thus, a large number of children of school-going
age don't attend schools and most of them clean dirty utensils at tea
shops and do various other odd jobs.
It is also
worthy of note that where schools exist, 40 percent have no pucca
buildings, 39.72 percent have no black-boards and 59.50 percent have
no drinking water and there are schools where children don't
have even mats to sit on. As a result, primary education doesn't help
in modifying the perdonality of the child.
Secondary education is still the weakest link in our educational
machinery. For a large majority of students, secondary stage is the
terminal stage and after this, they have to do some work to earn their
living. But secondary education, being purely bookish, gives no guidance
to the students in this direction.
College education has not been given a vocational bias and, as such,
it produces misfits for the society. The college student knows that
even an M. A. degree would not help him secure a job. That is why
there is indiscipline in the colleges.
K. G. Saiyidain once wrote, "If someone were to prepare a literacy map
of the world and colour the illiterate areas of the earth black, India
will, to our shame, look like a dark continent." Though there has been
a substantial increase in the number of literates after independence,
yet the number of illiterates has also increased because of abnormal
increase in population. Adult education programme has done practically
nothing to remove illiteracy from the country.
In short, the Indian educational system is suffering from a large
number of drawbacks. That is why, the Kothari Commission stated
emphatically, "Indian education needs a drastic change, almost a
revolution." ( To be continued)
KAILE, Ph.D.(Education), M.Phil(Education), M.Ed., M.A.(English),
has 28 years' experience as a lecturer in a college of education, and
is presently Principal, G.H.G.Kh. College of Education, Gurusar Sudhar,
Distt Ludhiana(Pb.) India. He has published many research papers,
including Bharti Sikhya Churahe Te (in Punjabi) which has been
translated into English and is being serialised here.
Dr Kaile can be
reached by e-mail at