The below Article / Essay is about the defects in our present system of Education. Read it mindfully for learning why “a radical change is the need of the day”
There was a time, when India was noted all over the world as a glorious centre of education and culture, where students from all parts of the globe used to pour in. The educational and cultural centers of Nalanda, Taxila and Prayag attracted students from places, as far as Egypt, Greece, China, Ceylon and Indonesia.
It was an ideal system of education, which apart from disseminating sweetness and light, infused into the mind of the pupils and spiritual urge for coming in contact with the kingdom of the Absolute. But now when we look at the present state of affairs in our country, the change shocks us deeply. It is asserted with great regret by persons of almost every shade of opinion that our educational system has not undergone any change with the changes brought about by political independence.
The crowning defect of our existing educational system that requires the immediate and earnest consideration is its excessive passive and mechanical character. The student plays no active role in the attainment of knowledge. His entire education is passive and mechanical. Things are loaded on his min which he cannot digest; he only crams and therefore they never become his own. Our educational system in the words of Dr. Annie Basant, is just “Filling boys head with a lot of disjointed facts poured into the heads as into a basket; to be emptied out again in the examination room, and empty basket carried out again into the world.” This is the reason why a student who succeeds so well in his college examination fails miserable in the examination of life.
The existing system of our education is predominantly academic and theoretical. It is theoretical as a rule and piratical by chance. The student is taught lessons by books, but not lessons from life. In other words, he is provided with knowledge, but not with wisdom. He is obliged to know the history of Greece of 200 years ago, but he knows nothing of what is happening in our own country today. He knows more about the English country Council that about the municipality of his own town.
Now we come to the questions of moral and cultural development of our students. What do our universities do for their character-building? We have to admit sadly that today there functions finishes with imparting the students bits of information. They don’t include in them a love of virtue and righteousness, a sense of self-respect and personal dignity.
In the past a student was taught to be God-fearing, to love and practice the rules of religion, to obey his parents and respect his teachers. But today the false glamour of western civilization has lead out students astray and they have forgotten the noble ideals and traditions of past cultures. Our schools and colleges still run on these lines that were laid down by Macaulay. Their course of study and text books does not breathe the air of freedom and national independence. They have no love for learning for its own sake and hence no sense of respect for teacher. The bond between the teachers and the taught is unnatural, purely economic and official. The teacher is nothings more than a paid servant of the college or the university. The problem of growing indiscipline among the student is something which reflects seriously on our education al institutions.
Our students are poor not only intellectually, but physically too. The unsound minds live in unsound bodies. Groups of pale, thin youths meet the eye at the portals of colleges and universities.
This is so because there is hardly any provision in our college and universities for systematical physical training, games and sports and other extracurricular activates. The want of physical training leads the students to loss in other way also. They don’t learn the dignity of labor. They begin to shun, labor of every kind, physical or intellectual. They become ideal, ease-loving and extravagant. Gandhi mourned this neglect of physical work in our system of education.
Considering the general standard of living in the country, it is definite that out system of education is highly expensive. Even for the upper-middle class people higher education in our country has become a white elephant.
In a way, our education has become a sort of pastime luxury, a form of amusement, like many other modern things of entertainment. Students go to schools and colleges more for the sake of amusement that instruction. Our class-room have an appearance of almost of a cinema hall, well-furnished with chairs and electric fans and the blackboard which can be compared to a screen on the background of which the teacher stands more or less like an actor trying to please his audience by his saucy remarks, pleasant stories and copious display of antics. He is on the stage and has to play his allotted part very wisely. Such ac actors appear before the huge audience of the students one after another and if any actor fails even a little in his dramatic performance, the audience gets out of control and raises strange catcalls of all kinds, just as happens in theatre-house.
The commonest criticism against our educational system is that it does not help us in earning our bread. Our colleges and universities are like factories that produce graduates in quick succession just as a machine issue forth pins and needles one after these literacy factories, who wander into the wide world in there vein efforts to find employment. In life there is no demand for these university products. The result is that the more our education expands, the more the ranks of the educated unemployed swell. In the last few years, there is no doubt; our education has improved greatly but only quantitatively, not qualitatively. But, as an eminent educationist observed, “What the nation requires is not merely more education, also better education, and what will ultimately count in the progress of the race is not the quantity alone but the quality of our education as well .”
In view of the foregoing defects and shortcomings, our system of education calls for a radical change. One of the first and the greatest task that faces us today is to overhaul and reconstruct our education machinery, for it is on the regeneration of our education machinery that the regeneration of the nation depends. We have to devise as-early-as possible as comprehensive national scheme of education which seeks to brings about a complete and harmonious development of all factors of human personality.