Education - the reality bites!!
Have you ever discussed, debated or at least thought about why India still has a long way to go and settled with the conclusion that the citizens our beloved country have to be educated first for India to grow further? If yes, this blog should help you get some more arguments for your next debate on the issue! If not, read on…
Education – we all know!
Before writing some complex sentences let’s start with a word, a very simple word ‘Education’. We all think we know enough about it – but do we really?
Let me try to help you. This is the definition that I got from an English dictionary - “Education is the activities of educating or instructing; activities that impart knowledge or skill” And, here is an totally different version from an Indian-monk who shook the world more than a century back - “Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man!” Now, which definition we choose is up to us! But then our future depends on what we choose today!! Educating India
When we talk about educating people - we talk about numbers, we talk about literacy rates. But, as you know - 'there are lies, damn lies and there is statistics'. What we are seeing today in India - there is a great boost in the initiatives to increase number of so-called literacy rates. But are we really bothered about educating our young generation? The answer is - yes and no at the same time! How, you ask? YES - if you consider the first definition (in red) and NO - if you consider the second definition (in green)! Yes, number of people being educated is increasing. But don’t you see an inversely proportional relation between quantity and quality in education field? While number of schools, colleges and universities are going up – the improvement in quality is not that remarkable. But to hide this grave issue - we resort to...yes again to statistics. We can see so many engineering and management colleges (including the so called ‘India’s largest university’ or those who ‘Dare To Think Beyond the IIMs!’) are coming up which have the impressive quantity (read numbers) to support their tall claims but what about the quality? Whatever it is, they have one thing for sure - good management - and that really matters! Now, what you call ‘good management’ is a critical and hence a debatable issue. So, let’s not go into that debate and instead remain within education arena.
Money is honey?
So, when I say - good management - administration of these mushrooming new colleges know one thing for sure - numbers matter - and hence they go all the way to ensure their students gets good marks in the exams - or rather good grades for that matter. This is topped with personality grooming and communication skills. And, to top it all - they maintain excellent rapport with the industry. Now, it is a mutual win-win synergistic partnership between the so-called-academic and the industry. Industry needs people to meet their growing demand and so-called-educators needs good placements to showcase their excellence which matters to them the most! We are going towards a society where the mantra is - 'it is all about money, honey!'. But is it? Ask any person who has reached height of richness and I'm sure he'll tell you - 'it is NOT ALL about money, honey!'. At the end of the day people want happiness, they want peace. And, money can give you everything but peace. Money can be the means to the end but not the end by itself. But many a times in life in the pursuance of means we forget the end and mistake the mean to be the end!
The vicious cycle
We can easily remember so many names who are who’s who of the corporate world (in India as well as globally) who are Indian. But how many really out-of-the-box innovative innovation have we seen from Indian students and so-called innovation-oriented Indian companies? Zilch you say - and I agree. We are into a vicious cycle - where presentation matters and not the content. And why I call it a vicious cycle is: from educational institutes the best groomed boy/girl gets the best job >> he reaches a high-position in the industry >> he influences a lot of important decisions >> the service/product of the company are as a result are not as good in content as in presentation >> ultimately it is the masses who consume it!
The Future – GOD Knows!
But the problem becomes more serious when the otherwise inspired students - seeing this vicious trend - fall prey to the trap or worse losses inspiration to go the other way. I admit that great people do not need inspiration but then the lesser mortals like us need some inspiration to tread the good-old-tattered-path. ‘We are all good by birth and it is the situation which makes us behave badly’. And, I'm really worried that we - the common people - are getting all the wrong signals from the neighborhood. When we see the high salary figures of Indian B-schools making news-paper headlines regularly - and no new original research paper makes even a 'tail line' - this is for sure is a dangerous sign! Priority to presentation is increasing and importance of content is decreasing. And, the biggest problem is yet to come - when all the best brains go for presentation who prepares the content? And without content what those great presenters will do? From, another perspective, when the best people go to industry - for obvious reason of pecuniary benefits - what about the next generation teachers and professors? Already the quality of teaching fraternity is following the bear run - and we are yet to see the worst! Who will educate the next generation? And, as you know - 'education depends as much as on the teachers as on the students'. Good teachers can make good students from average ones but not the vice-versa! But what is the solution??? GOD knows - you say? I agree again...