A wise person once said, “The secret in education lies in respecting the student.” I scored 98.75 per cent in Class 12 boards this year, and I am struggling to find a place in a Delhi University college due to the high cut-offs. I am enraged and disappointed by the system to which I gave 14 years of my life.
When did the idea of imparting knowledge turn into ‘quickly wrapping up the syllabus’? When did we create the divide between toppers and failures? When did we start judging students on the choice of their subjects? When did we start associating intelligence with marks? When did we lose the essence of imparting education?
We live in the land where the aim of education was self–realisation. Poet Rabindaranath Tagore said that an educational institution should not be “a dead cage in which living minds are fed with food that’s artificially prepared. Hand work and arts are the spontaneous over flow of our deeper nature and spiritual significance”. Where has this significance disappeared?
This year’s Delhi University cut-offs are alarming. It’s a loud blazing siren that we are blissfully ignoring. This is the time for the system to introspect and make immediate amends. This is nothing but a ‘marks massacre’. How can we turn a blind eye to this absolutely unfair playing field where we demand flawlessness from our students? The conditions are non–negotiable — it’s either a 100 or go back home. This is what the system has succumbed to. If only people discussed India’s education system with as much vigour as they discuss religion and politics, I wonder where we could reach.
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Must go beyond policy reforms
Am I disappointed by the system? Yes. Have I given up? Not yet. The new National Education Policy 2020 gives me hope, but am I content with it? No. A change has to come both on papers and in the mindsets. Remember, world wars were nothing but an ideological warfare and the one who triumphs ideology, wins. A large wave of revolution needs to start from you and me and then spread to others. We don’t just need to deliberate about making education policies but move the policy makers into action. We need to make changes in our pedagogy. Teaching methods are meant to be fun and practical and not turn into a burden. We need our system to rise above notebook submissions and project work and classrooms that have more meaning to them than just four cemented walls with tables and benches.
Education has nothing to do with examination. It is this approach that makes learning all about ‘what is important for the exam and what can be skipped’. How can knowledge be skipped? How is it that we don’t see this is wrong at multiple levels and a direct slap to the core virtue of education.
Our system has failed the students also with the lack of holistic growth. Toppers from acclaimed universities fail to communicate or micro-manage, fail miserably to deal with stressful situations. Is this the sweet fruit of regular tests, board exams, mugging up answers, cramming guidebooks? Students are unable to even communicate their own thoughts.
Many people have dried their ink on writing about how the system needs reform. Students aren’t students anymore – we are victims. Delhi University’s cut-off has made me realise how unfair the system is to the students and the country is losing out on its talents who fly abroad for higher studies. I know one article cannot change the entire system but if this provokes you to at least give a thought about this damaged system and demand change, its purpose will be served.
Ishani Garg is a student of The Srijan School, New Delhi. Views are personal.