We all know that our country has been caught up in a vicious cycle, where uninhibited population growth is chasing proper education; and I would go on to the extent to say that these are the fundamental dimensions of problems that confront the development of our nation. Think of any matter of concern, whether they are monstrous issues such as road safety or disregard for health conservation or may they be more simplistic a problem such as choosing the right profession, most of us are left at bay. Either the population to be addressed is beyond proportions and the technique, to do so, falls short of data management and communicating effectively, or by the time you have been able to manage them for a section, your target audience has by far exceeded many times over the numbers you started aiming at, initially.
In retrospect, I see how students aspiring to graduate or even post graduate fail to comprehend and conceive some very basic conceptual constructs or keep groping the internet for answers. Most of the students in management or engineering colleges are putting up a poor show. Therefore, educational institutions desirous of achieving a good placement record are spending in engaging personality development trainers and expecting them to wave the magic wand in a span of 3 months to 9 months at the most. The gap between what the corporate or the employer expects and what our professional/vocational colleges are producing is widening everyday. The revised National Education Policy has been described as “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic” by a famous educationist, Geeta Gandhi Kingdon and quite rightly so, (although she has converged on the governance and funding systems) because the revamping is only cosmetic and is not addressing the cracks and crevices in the foundation.
We have been toying with the idea founded on our experience in teaching and the corporate, that the clue to rectifying the situation lies in grooming students in the upper classes of the primary school and the middle school, because the formative years are shaped up, in these classes. Early primary schooling is more to discipline the students and bring them into the fold of mainstream education. Later education, i.e., secondary education or graduation and PG courses are focussed on specialised learning for the vocation one prefers or what one lands up into, by default. The latter is more likely in our country, for non-availability of mentoring in the earlier span. Teachers, in our country now, are very rarely found to be mentors; the species which is able to groom students, established on the aptitude they discover, during the interactions they assume with the students. When and where are the interactions? I am not underplaying the role of the teachers, but thanks to our system, the teacher is underperforming. There is no accountability and the one which is there, pertains to compliances and nothing beyond. Where is the teacher who can look beyond and foresee the onslaught of changes? Prodigies are definitely not the product of any contribution of our present day teachers, who have a limited bandwidth. They are exceptions! How can we ever compare our future generation with the world’s best, with the lot of intellectually handicapped and disadvantaged students that we have in our pool? Let us not forget that not only all our professionals but even our future teachers are also drawn from this very pool! Therefore pessimistically speaking this emerges to be our future, notwithstanding the economic or technological ‘development’ on the anvil.
The answer lies in remodelling the teachers in the segment, we spoke about in the previous paragraph, with the right approaches and delivery styles. Incessant training and skill development is the need. Transformation is the resolve.