The history of education in India is as old as India itself. We have a rich heritage of the Gurukul system of education for the elementary level and outstanding ancient universities like Takshshila, and Nalanda. The educational system in India has kept pace with all the changes happening around like invasions, the advent of the Mughals etc. But the biggest turn around came when the British came to India. They believed that India was a barbaric country and that exposure to their religion, language and literature would make us civilized. In 1835, Lord Macaulay proposed minutes on education and that led to the change of the medium of instruction to English. The basic system of education started by him is still very much intact in essence. After independence the system accommodated many changes under the leadership of Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan.
In modern times, Indian educational institutions (such as the IITs, IISc, IIMs, NITs, AIIMS, ISI, JU,
BITS, and ISB) are well known in the world. The broader pattern of education in India as under:
Arguments in against the topic
· The biggest criticism that has come up is that our education system honours only merit. An intelligent student, merely on the basis of his academics, cracks the top most exams like IITJEE, CAT etc. to get the best of education and then also cracks the civil services exam to get a top administrative job. This is a serious issue for the HRD ministry because you can not honour only intelligence. Other factors which are equally important are normally ignored.
· The Indian education system also faces the problem of how to create quality manpower for the future demands of the Indian industry. Many surveys clearly show that we will have huge numbers of educated manpower in the next 10 years, but still we will have an enormous short fall of quality manpower. Our education system needs to address this issue.
· Modern education in India is often criticized for being based on rote learning. Emphasis is laid on passing examinations with a high percentage. Very few institutes give importance to developing personality and creativity among students. Recently, the country has seen a rise in instances of student suicides due to low marks and failures, especially in metropolitan cities, even though such cases are very rare. The boards are recently trying to improve quality of education by increasing percentage of practical and project marks.
· Many people also criticize the caste, language and religion-based reservations in the education system. Many allege that very few of the weaker castes get the benefit of reservations and that forged caste certificates abound. Educational institutions also can seek religious minority (non-Hindu) or linguistic minority status. In such institutions, 50% of the seats are reserved for students belonging to a particular religion or having particular mother-tongue(s). For example, many colleges run by the Jesuits and Salesians have 50%
seats reserved for Roman Catholics. In case of languages, an institution can declare itself a linguistic minority only in states in which the language is not official language. For example, an engineering college can declare itself as linguistic-minority (Hindi) institution in the state of Maharashtra (where official state language is Marathi), but not in Madhya Pradesh or Uttar Pradesh (where the official state language is Hindi). These reservations are said to be a cause of heartbreak among many. Many students with poor marks manage to get admissions, while meritorious students are left out. Critics say that such reservations may eventually create rifts in the society.
· Expenditure on education is also an issue which comes under the scanner. According to the Kothari commission led by Dr. Vijay Kothari in 1966, expenditure on education has to be minimum 6% of the GDP. Whereas in 2004 expenditure on education stood at 3.52% of the GDP and in the eleventh plan it is estimated to be around 4%. The “Sarva Shikshan Abihyan” has to receive sufficient funds from the central government to impart quality education.
· The quality of teaching in government schools is pathetic. The reason behind it is that education is still under the purview of the state governments. They have a shortage of funds and also are not very serious about education welfare.
Arguments in favour of the topic
· The government has already taken many measures to revamp the education system in India. The “Sarva-Shiksha Abihyan” is doing very well. And we are close to achieving the same across India as we have done in Kerala.
· Many rational changes have been made by CBSE in its curriculum. Now there is no failure (read as exams) up to class 5th and hence students are free from all pressures.
· Many new updated courses have been introduced in senior classes which is directly in line with the updated requirements of the industry. Subjects like financial planning; computer programming, business studies, etc. have already been introduced.
· Many high level international schools have started imparting education of new standards.
· Many NGO’s with the support of the government are doing great work for providing quality education to kids as well as adult slum dwellers for example “Teach India Campaign” by Times of India etc.