The Cobwebs of Indian Education System

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I write this as when India has successfully landed and is carrying out it’s Chandrayan-3 mission. This is a very proud moment for each and every Indian.
India has become the first country to land on Moon’s South Pole, I’d like to congratulate all the people who were involved in this mission!

Anyway, I stumbled upon this old essay from 1999, titled “INDIAN TALENT CAUGHT IN THE COBWEBS”, It mentions how Indian society in general resists change.

The inability to assimilate and adopt new knowledge by a society which is otherwise extremely lively, vibrant, intelligent and knowledgeable seems strange. To a casual observer, there seems to be no reason that a society, fully aware of the latest developments in technology and conceptual thoughts, could have failed repeatedly to use its knowledge in its day-to-day operations. More strange than even the historical realities is the fact that the same situation continues even today to some degree.

It’s sad that even in 2023 this essay holds true about the condition of Indian society. It’s a must read: https://www.samarthbharat.com/cobwebs.htm

This brings me to the topic of this blog post, The Indian education system puts huge emphasis on getting “marks” no one talks about knowledge or innovation. This system explicitly discourages curiosity among the youth.

Today’s Youth

We all have heard the stories of the older generation, how they used to spend their time roaming and playing outside.

What is today’s youth doing then? “Instagram Reels” “Youtube Shorts”. Today’s youth spends most of their time scrolling endlessly on their mobile phones.

This has more impact on their mental health than they realize. These short format videos increase level of impatience in people, reduces focus and converts the curious and remarkable thing called “human brain” into a dopamine seeker that craves for the easiest way to get dopamine.

A simple example of this, in my classroom the teacher was dictating notes and we were writing. He was dictating at an exteremly reasonable pace, yet most of the students were unable to keep up with this.

Reason? these platforms have reduced the concentration of youth so much that they are unable to remember a word that was uttered literally 10 seconds ago, this is not a joke.

They get an unrealistic idea of life from those “content creators” who are in reality just engagement farms.

Today’s youth also likes to “jump on the bandwagon” and wants to do all the “cool things” social media comes up with. They don’t make their own decisions, rather they are influenced heavily by what others and these “content creators” do.

Okay, but surely not everyone is waste their time like this right? Yes. Those who are focused on their careers are studying, but what? JEE

Good rank in Joint Entrance Exams (JEE) is required for students who want to purse engineering to get admission in IITs (Indian Institutue Of Technology) these exams are highly unrealistic and pointless. Sometimes the students get so depressed and pressurized that they commit suicide, there have been a lot of student suicides due to JEE. Again, I think social media also plays a part in these cases. They get an unrealistic idea of life from social media, they see people “succeeding” in everything. No one talks about failures, this makes them depressed and they steps like this. Such types of exams are not healthy at all, and parents also put a lot of pressure on their children.

The city “Kota” in Rajasthan is the hub of this “rat race”.

They only exist to “filter out” people. The highly competetive nature of these exams actually damages curiosity and the will to learn in students.

Okay say you got admission into IIT or other engineering college, you actually benefit from the things taught there right??? Nope.

The syllabus in the engineering colleges is so outdated that it simply can’t compete with the pace that technology grows. Again the focus is on by-hearting the syllabus and gaining marks, no one talks about innovation and R&D.

The year is 2023, and colleges are still asking students to write code ON PAPER. And they do “Save Life, Save Trees” campaign the very next day.

Yes, no IDEs nothing. How can we expect them to teach anything practical??

The Indian “talent” wastes time in doing pointless things, like college projects (which aren’t practical atall and most copy from the internet)

meme

That was about the people who are motivated to get a job and earn money. But surprisingly, there are people who want to do.. nothing They have no purpose, no motivation in life.

“Lack Of Jobs”

I see young people complaining about lack of jobs (on TV). They say thousands of “engineers” in India and jobless. But are they really engineers? Let’s see the definition of an engineer.

Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who invent, design, analyze, build and test machines, complex systems, structures, gadgets and materials to fulfill functional objectives

Do you think these so called engineers who graduate from colleges fit this definition?

Personally, I think it’s not the lack of jobs in engineering, rather it’s just that these people lack the skillset required to be hired. Indian talent is stuck in “cobwebs” doing pointless things.

In the days of British colonial rule, people suffered from poverty and supression from the British so they were not able to learn and hampered the growth of Indians. But this mostly isn’t the case now, people just don’t want to learn even when they have all the resources in the world.

Before the Internet, access to information was a big issue, again now this simply isn’t the problem. Literally everyone in India has a smartphone and access to affordable internet. meme

The sad reality is that spirit of engineering seems to be dead :\

What can be done

We must ask ourselves, why do these engineers do not have the proper skillsets? Because the education system here is not based upon real-world practical knowledge. Most of the engineers who are successful in their career are due to self-taught knowledge.

The education system needs a major reform, The Government Of India has introduced NEP (National Education Policy) that attempts to fix this problem.

This NEP attempts to prioritise skill based education (Read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Education_Policy_2020) I don’t see this improving the situation as of now.

They need to give lesser emphasis on rote learning methods, such type of system is utterly useless as people mostly forget what they “learnt” after a period of time.

The whole college system needs to be revised for efficiency and newer skill based syllabus.

Major changes should be done to the competetive exam pattern, exams should be based upon real life and practical things.

I am unable to think what can be done regarding the social media problem. Any comments will be appreciated.

What we can do as a society is encourage curiosity and emphasis of knowledge vs marks. (Quality vs Quantity) I for instance, hardly see anyone with passion for technology, one needs that natural curiosity and the thirst for knowledge, which is absent in most.

PS: I was invited to give a guest lecture to 2nd year students of a polytechnic college a few days ago, it felt good to interact with these people and that I was able to make these people curious about technology! The topic of my lecture was “Introduction to Hacking” and I discussed and taught the basic skills required and give them a gist of what hacking is.

Anyway

Thank you for reading!

~ Shrirang Kahale

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