If you ask a school student in India his purpose in life, he will invariably answer along the following lines, ‘study well, get a good degree, get a job’. This preposterous philosophy, as ironic as it sounds, is engraved into the minds of almost all Indian children from the time these kids can crawl. For Indian parents, a child is destined to grow up be either an engineer or a doctor. In some rare cases the kid may refuse and express his desire to be an astronaut or a scientist, and we all know the odds of that happening. In a nutshell, education for us Indians is tool to get us a job and feed families. But I’m quite sure it wasn’t meant for that. What we see today, as many pundits have been reiterating, is the Industrialised version of Education.
Today schools operate similarly to assembly lines. The school assembly line is segmented into years. Students enter the schools and are sorted by age. Each day during the year students receive instruction on particular subjects and skill sets. Every subject is taught during a fixed time period in the day. Students are then tested on each subject to see if they meet the standards, so they can move along the line. Finally they receive their stamp of approval (diploma) at the end of the line.
On a more sarcastic note, the Indian education system, ensures that millions of kids do not realize their potential. It also, very efficiently, suppresses curiosity and censors creativity. Generation after generation, kids are put through this ordeal and come out with a piece of embossed paper that closely resembles a nutritional value chart that one can find on a pack of biscuits. This ‘mark sheet’ claims to reflect a teenager’s mental ability to follow instruction, memorize random excerpts and reproduce them on an answer sheet. Brilliant, isn’t it?