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The Indian Education system September 9, 2005

Posted by gantech in Personal Ramblings.
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It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction
have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiousity of inquiry; for
what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides
stimulation, is freedom.
— Einstein

Well that may not have been said by Einstein, but it doesn't matter.

I have always had a problem with these articles on the current education system. One guy in his article would point out the problems and faults that it has. The other guy would say how his daughter went through the stress before and after her X th board exams. What's the point in saying "Ya, there's a problem" all the time. Of late the articles turned to giving suggestions. But even them, they weren't concrete. Initially I liked reading such articles. Then I got bored. It is just like Politics you know. Saying the same thing in a million different ways. What does Bush do today. Keeps saying terrorism everywhere he goes.

I formed the impression that nothing is going to change, atleast in the near future. My idea is that, the current system of education is basically to enhance literacy. No more. This system is not structured in such a way that an artist or a designer or a historian or a journalist would stand out in a crowd. And ya may be mathematicians would stand out, but even that is a rarity. Seriously I don't see any other reason why I am in IIT. That I got really interested in Aerospace is another matter, but with a good system of education who knows what I would be doing now. So it isn't worth much more than helping you develop rote memory. Though education boards are trying to change it, there seems to be a lot of inertia. The problem will obviously not be with the students, but with the teachers.

I recently learnt that Kerala has introduced a radically new system of education at the primary level. The following articles are pretty good. Though the one by the CPI(M) may have political aims, it's pretty good otherwise.

http://www.flonnet.com/fl1615/16150880.htm
http://www.indiatogether.org/2004/may/edu-grading.htm

http://www.pr.com/press-release/1128

I never thought it would come so soon. Though detecting artists, designers, historians, journalists may still be difficult, this is a welcome change.

"Is this going to work? You are supposed to teach 20 to 25 children and there is double that number in my class. I am over 40, and they expect me to play 'aana' (elephant) and the 'frog in the puddle' before a group of second standard children!"

– Teacher to headmistress at a government primary school, in the presence of this correspondent.

But such statements fighten me. I just hope the teachers don't ensure that poor results are the outcome to change back to the old system. And that the system goes through the initial inertia it might face.

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