Monday, December 16, 2013

Realize the reality

Indian society is going through a transition at a fast pace. Though the changes are an integral part and human race has been experiencing the same right from its existence. But if we talk in context of India then it is found that in the last twenty two years, inevitable changes have taken place at a rapid pace. This has brought the problem of adjustment on the forefront and the society is finding it difficult to cope up with the fast paced changes. These changes have taken place in multiple areas. The people are better off in terms of the materialistic facilities available to them and also overall life style has become better and easier for many in comparison to the situation before. Exposure to the entire world because of liberalization and the openings due to evolution of the internet has contributed in a big way. Due to these changes the schools and the school education has also undergone several changes. The environment at home and in the school has become child friendly which was much required. The schools for the children have tried to act as the place to unwind their energy and optimize and explore their potential to the fullest. In the process of better opportunities and the better facilities, migration of the people took place from villages to small towns and from small towns to cities and from cities to metros and from there to foreign countries. This way the very base of joint family system got a jolt and the number of nuclear families has increased. Also the parents became aware of having one or two children and entire focus has shifted to the material gains for self and the family (mainly parents and the children). While trying to acquire more wealth for future many parents lost track of the art of living a happy and contented life and they burdened themselves with lot many things. The so called freedom and the openness contributed a lot for the good of the children but when the things went beyond a limit then some issues were raised. Nevertheless, the pace of the change was so fast that the sound of resent appeared to be a murmur of  people who were tagged as orthodox by the so called progressive minded people. The impact of all this came on the schools and the students also. Infact, the system in the past was different and deferential. The teacher was in the charge of everything and the students had a very little role to play, but to follow the instructions of their teachers. The things changed and the students were given freedom to express themselves everywhere, in schools as well as at home. But in the process the teachers became mere tools and the schools were probably reduced to a place to meet friends and have fun. Any kind of punishment was banned in the schools and the teachers were left on the mercy of the students who may do anything in the class but the teachers were not supposed to do anything to them except informing the principal or the parents. This system has helped and made the life of many students worth living and enjoyable because sometimes the teachers used to be harsh and unfair to many of them. As everybody knows that excess of everything is bad and the same seems to be happening here also. Most of the students are enjoying this freedom and the teachers are helping these children to the best of their ability but a few students have taken the freedom in a negative way because they know that nobody can do anything to them. It appears as if the number of violent cases, verbal as well as physical are on the increase and those who indulge in such issues, do not understand even when they are counseled and made aware of the wrongs done by them. Rather they seem to be enjoying the situation at the cost of others. I have personally experienced the same and the parents of such children have given up and they want teachers and the schools to take some serious disciplinary action against such students. But there is one very important thing that should be shared with all and deserves a mention here. When a child complains at home against some other children because of whom he/she was disturbed, the parents of such children want very strict action to be taken against such children and the schools are pressurized for that, however, when the same situation arises for their children, they want schools to be sympathetic towards the children and not to take any action meaning thereby that if it is the child of somebody else, disturbing my child, he should be punished but when the same mistake is committed by my child then he should be left free. This approach does not help anybody, neither the children nor the parents and the school. Rather this becomes the bone of contention at times. But the quandary is that this is not the violence only which is causing the problem but the misuse of the electronic gadgets like the smart phones and tablets etc which is adding fuel to the fire. The problem has multiplied further because the parents and the teachers are not fully equipped with the methods to face such challenges because this change as I mentioned earlier came so fast. The deciding authorities of the education policy and the schooling system got so much influenced by the system of the foreign countries that they thought of changing everything according to their pattern without realizing that the Indian societal and family fabric is entirely different than many of those countries whom we are trying to follow. The number of indiscipline cases in the schools is on the rise but the problem is that nobody is willing to admit it in the gathering of responsible people which  will prove fatal in future. All try to be good for the media and the public and this deliberate ignorance on the part of the stakeholders again is a dangerous sign. I fully agree that there are certain things which need to be changed, but not everything. The recent changes being introduced by CBSE almost on daily bases have left most of the teachers and the parents at times in a catch 22 situation as they are unable to understand what to do and whom to approach. Though our country is democratic and gives all equal opportunity to express their views but the problem is that those who express their views not in agreement to the ones in power are considered to be against them which may not be the case.
I am not putting forward the problem only but need to say that we all must realize the ground reality and make sincere efforts to help our children to become better behaved citizens of the country and not the money making machines only. The parents should also realize that the most important aspect of successful person is hard work so they should not let them feel that everything is kept ready made for them whether they study or not because many children who indulge in some undesirable activity are well assured about their future. The children who do not allow others to study and indulge in violence should be dealt with seriously in such a manner that they improve and others also do not suffer because all the school would want is to give to the country morally strong, competent, diligent and successful citizens. These children deserve to be taken care of but not at the cost of others who come to school to learn and be better citizen of the country. Our father of nation always stood for the non violence and we cannot disobey our adults and forefathers. I hope my views will be taken in right perspective and not against anybody because a teacher is also pained for a blame which is not true.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The misuse of technology

The last few years have seen the upsurge in the use of technology specially the electronic gadgets. This trend has been more among the teens and the youth. The introduction of internet and mobile is considered to be the key innovations due to the use of scientific principles of the 21st century. Initially all were fascinated by the use of these inventions but of late it appears as the electronic gadgets are playing havoc with the human race. The people are not just using them but have become slaves of these gadgets and there is a seriously growing addiction of mobiles, tabs etc. People have divergent views about the issue but many of them have started noticing the negative impact of excessive use caused by different factors. I am reminded of two incidents reported in the newspapers that many children are getting involved in certain undesirable activities because of the misuse of mobiles and other such items. There have been a number of cases reported when the young lives were lost due to the carelessness on their part while driving or even walking on the roads. A cartoon in a newspaper says that even a newly born child learns to handle mobile before speaking and grows with that accordingly. The excessive use of mobiles and the laptops etc has widened the gap already increasing at a fast pace. The children keep themselves engaged in playing games or chatting with so called friends, most of them who are perhaps unknown to them. The time which should have been used in some creative thinking is wasted in the search of virtual happiness. This word virtual has become very popular nowadays. Initially, it was thought to be alright but now it is becoming a problem for many, the gravity of which has yet not been realized. I may appear to be taking an extreme stand on this topic but the fact is that last few years have made human beings a machine because there is no human touch in most of the work people do using these gadgets. The maximum impact of the technology has been on the youth and the school going children have become the victim of this. The newspaper reports related to this are an eye opener for all of us. The parents and teachers are struggling in controlling the negative impact of the misuse of mobiles and ipads etc. I was surprised to see the advertisement of a computer program in which a child asks an adult about the mass of a body on a particular planet. The mother appears on the screen and tells the correct answer because one particular program elicits a quick answer. It may appear to be a wonderful tool to many but to me this is a problem because the child might remember the value but would not understand why and how. His (own) thinking and creativity would not get an opportunity to be applied because the answer is already there.
The other negative aspect is that the mobiles are not being used only for the sake of communication but these have become the tools for instant photography and that has also contributed to the misuse of these tools. It is not only the students who are affected by this onslaught but even the adults including the teachers are also the victims of this technology. The quality of research has not been spared by the use of internet rather in most of the countries it has deteriorated because in many a cases the text and the information are copied from different sites. This may not be true in all cases but most of the time people are able to present a paper within no time because the same is a ‘cut and paste’ from here and there which is easily available on the internet. Does this not prove that the thinking which is very important for the cause of creativity has been curtailed because the human mind is screened by the visuals available on the net? For better learning and creativity the process of thinking is very important.
Many parents have expressed their anxiety regarding the time spent (wasted) in the use of mobile and laptops etc. The children keep chatting with each other even in the late nights which do not only hamper their studies during that time but also their schedule of eating or sleep. Many children just pretend to be studying till the parents are awake and around them but the moment they go to sleep, children start their activity of misusing these gadgets. I have not been able to understand the importance and use of the mobile for the school going children rather it has become a major cause of indiscipline in the schools whether the children are able to sneak the mobiles to the school or not. At times morphed photographs of the girls are uploaded on the so called social sites which put the girls in an awkward situation which has forced some of them to take extreme steps. There have been number of cases in which the children fell prey to anti social elements and were at the verge of running away from the truth. The use of mobiles has also given people an opportunity to tell a lie very conveniently because the location told by the person may not be true as told to the parents or to somebody else. Different governments in India are promoting the use of mobiles in the rural areas by giving them discounts and subsidies. The person who used to spend the money earned during the day on providing the food to his/her family now spends a significant amount on the use of mobile. Also the productivity at the work place has decreased because many a times the workers are found talking and chatting on the phone. It would be interesting to see if a survey is conducted how much time is wasted during the working hours on the use of mobiles.

  The seriousness of the problem has multiplied because of weak laws to stop the misuse of the technology. We do not have any strategy to ensure that the children who are not supposed to be the part of some social sites are stopped from doing that. The governments come into action only when their own interests are attacked but are least bothered to take stringent action when some individuals are targeted on the social sites. There have been cases when the school going children placed derogatory comments targeting the teacher and this was viewed by the entire school community and other people as well. Some people say that this is one way to express your frustration but abusing somebody specially your teachers is not the right way of doing that. In these it becomes difficult to identify the culprit which encourages other children to do the same. This does not happen with teachers only but there are many innocent children who also become the victim of the same and as mentioned above specially the girls.
In the end, I would like to request all concerned to take critical view of the present situation and the problems contributed by the misuse of the technology and take corrective measures at the earliest. Also, our great minds and the future of the nation should be saved from becoming the slaves of the technology so that their creativity blooms and the explore their originality.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The question of responsibility

5th October is celebrated as World Teachers` Day all over the world (in about hundred countries). The same is celebrated in India on 5th September every year on the birth anniversary of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan a great teacher, philosopher and statesman. The teachers have always been the backbone of the society and were given highest possible stature and the respect by the pupil, parents and the age old civilization. In the last few years, there seems to be some doubt in the minds of people and also there is a receding level of confidence in the teachers. There are many factors responsible for the same and we need to address the issue far more seriously than before and find a way so that the trust imposed by the society in teachers’ ability to mould their students is restored. The last few years have been more turbulent due to which there has been a setback to even those teachers who have been doing so well and were appreciated by all. I am of the firm belief that any relationship stands strong if there is faith, without which it tends to loosen. This is true that change is inevitable but all changes are not necessarily good for the society. Certain things are permanent and if disturbed, result in disastrous repercussions.
For the present situation about the faith in teaching community, both teachers and society are almost equally responsible. The teachers in today’s world are an integral part of the society and they do not live in Gurkuls and Ashrams as in earlier days in India and boarding schools in other countries. The teachers do get influenced by the incidents taking place around them. I am not justifying anything done by teachers’ which is not expected from them but it happens in some cases. The problem comes when one odd incident is generalized for all teachers and even the good and innocent ones are seen with doubt and at times accused of something which they were not at all involved in. Recent incidents shown on TV channels and newspapers have had very negative impact on the children and the teachers both. There have been a few black sheep’s in this profession also but it does not mean all are like that. Sometimes it is through media which is the voice of the people that these issues get a highlight and an image is formed. But, the teachers, as individuals are also to be blamed for the present situation because some of them forgot the basic ethics of a teacher and the motto of the teaching profession. They perhaps do not realize their strength and influence on the children because the students otherwise look up to them as their mentor. If the teachers build a mindset and take this profession as a mere profession to earn money and livelihood, then the very pious motive of teaching is destroyed by such thoughts. The teacher is certainly not the one who sells knowledge, but must be the one to be a social reformer and if that is true then he/she must reform self first and then expect others to follow. This is not as easy as said or written but then no good comes easily. If somebody decides to work for good then should be ready to work hard and face difficulties and even the blames for the failures. Nobody is perfect in this world and so is the case with teachers also but they can at least try to be the best and be a role model for others.
The parents should also realize that the knowledge and values cannot be purchased. Though they may be able to do so but the basic values of life can surely not be bought by money like may be the other certificates or degrees. The teachers should not be looked down upon because they do not own big bungalows or the resorts and luxury cars etc., but should be given credit for kindling the flame of knowledge and be the guiding light of the society. The parents being rational can also ensure that they do not speak anything negative about a teacher in the presence of the children because that plays a negative role in the relationship between the students and the teachers. There is always something more than what meets the eye, hence, parents can think twice before reacting to any situation of difference between school and home. There is a possibility that the parents might get influenced by the incident narrated to them by the child and that may be true also but shouting, using foul language and creating scene does not make any sense, rather at times aggravates the situation. First we as parents should try to resolve by talking to the individual and put our point of view with no ambiguity. In most of the cases, the problem will be solved. In rest of the cases some legal means are available to all of us and we should take advantage of that. But in all such cases the idea should be to correct someone who is wrong or has done wrong and not be personal with an attitude for revenge. Parents are integral stakeholders and should realize that when at times, they are not able to manage two children at home then how difficult it may be for the teachers in the present situation to administer the heterogeneous group of forty. We all must admit that discipline is not only the key to the success but also an important factor to run and manage the society in a proper and dignified manner. Individual rights are important but sensitivity towards the dignity and respect of the others is also equally important.
The society and the media can play a constructive role in this aspect. Reports by media should also be flashed as discretely as possible as news and not as hot news. The concern of the children, parents and the teachers need to be highlighted but in a manner which helps all to do better. Those who indulge in wrong doing should be punished but that should not be the choice but as per the law of the land. Some of the teachers do share it in private that there is nobody to safeguard the interest of the teachers and they are at times isolated to defend for themselves without any support from anywhere because they are considered to be guilty even without any evidence of such a thinking. Such cases are raised and blame put on one party but nobody comes to know the ultimate decision in them because that goes unreported. We need to strike a balance and keep in mind the consequences of our reporting an incident. The nation seems to be driven by mob mentality today which is very dangerous. It has been observed that a number of people will collect if some property of an organization is to be destroyed but very few people will stop to help a person lying on the road because of accident or some other eventuality. The society as a whole will have to think rationally and respond responsibly and without reacting.
The students also need to understand that without discipline life becomes imbalanced and unorganized. They must understand that as students they own a lot of responsibility for themselves, their parents, teachers and the peer group. So called small incidents and actions lead to certain predicaments. In the last few years many concerned organizations have spoken about the problems faced by the children particularly in the schools. They are right and we all need to be careful that our students do not suffer and they get quality education but at the same time the children who do not behave properly should also be made aware that they supposedly will have to face the consequences of their actions. The most important thing is that they do not have the right to insult their parents and the teachers just in the name of the freedom of speech. If everybody abuses the freedom of speech then this will result in a chaotic society not worth living. Majority of the students are disciplined, have an aim, are focused, want to learn the best and do something good for their family and the society. There may be a few cases which are to be handled little firmly and corrected in their interest and in the interest of the society. The students should ensure that they are properly dressed while coming to the school and are punctual and regular. They should ensure that other children are not disturbed because of their reckless actions.
If all the stakeholders give space to each other and respect each other, then most of the problems will be solved. The teachers’ day celebrations will gain some relevance if they work as per the expectations of the society and society in turn gives them all the due respect, recognizing their services towards the future of the nation. Just by talking about the importance of the teachers on one particular day will not change the situation. If the society has to live a quality life then we need to have quality teachers and that will be possible only when the teachers really live up to the demands of their profession which should be a noble mission for them. Somebody has to take an imitative and let it be the proficient teachers.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Be Truthful

After serious deliberations and contemplation, I could come to a conclusion, to discuss this issue which has been disturbing me for the last couple of months. But a few experiences of the recent days compelled me to write perhaps prematurely. However, I am sure with the feedback from the teachers, parents and the focus group that is the students, we shall be able to reach to some conclusion and also find some solution. As many people feel that the children are the reflection of their parents and the teachers, this worries me more. I happened to interact with a few children in some matter related to discipline and following the norms which help them to exploit their potential in the best possible manner.  There may be a few kids who tend to get influenced by negative thoughts of the people around them. We all are human beings and all tend to commit mistakes which most of the times is done unknowingly and without any ill intention but sometimes deliberately. Some of the students who came to me because of some act of indiscipline were asked simple questions related to the things which they had brought to the school. They knew it very well that mobile phones are not allowed in the School but still got them. The first reaction of most of the kids is that it was left in his/her bag by mistake. When probed further they stick to the same statement till the parents are asked to come to the school. In many a cases, it was found that the parents had not provided the mobile phone to the child and he still had it. The parents are taken by surprise in the majority of the cases because they think their child to be very sincere and honest who shared all secrets with them. In most of the cases, the parents have been very supportive and they helped us in the best possible manner so that the children come out of the habit of telling a lie. We promote that the children should admit whatever they did and the matter should end once they realize their mistakes, rather than lingering it for long. We are not at all fond of any type of punishment and that should be avoided to the last till it becomes mandatory for the betterment of the children. Punishment may not be the best of the solution of such problems in all cases. My worry in such cases has been that despite the fact that the parents are so much concerned about their children and try to be as easily available to them as possible, then why such children also tend to tell a lie? What is that which makes the kids to do what they should not do and they may not like to do? Whose fault is this and if somebody is to be punished who should that be? These are the questions which need to be answered. We tried to search for the answers but without much of success. Though the psychologists and educationists advocate that the children should be handled carefully and I fully agree with them. But the problem is that when children demand for certain things which may not be age appropriate and of proper use to them and the parents say no for that, then the reaction of the children is very unpleasant and negative. Some parents have told me that they tried to be very polite to their child but that did not make any difference rather made him more arrogant and he become a habitual offender. The incidence of a big city in which many children were found in a place abhorrent for them, should be an eye opener for all of us.
When I discussed this issue with the teachers, parents and the students, most of them seemed to be in agreement that there was a quandary and that needed to be tackled immediately.  The reasons told for the cause of children resorting to not telling the truth or avoiding the parents and teachers were also shared and I would like to cite a few of them. Some teachers and parents felt that as there is a lot of competition in today’s time and the parents expect a lot from their kids so they tend to tell a lie when they could not perform up to the expectations of the parents because they do not want them to feel bad or let down. This appears to be correct because the children who do not perform well in test/examination avoid sharing their performance with the parents. If the parents would not have been very fussy about the grades/marks then the children would have not avoided sharing the true performance. In some other cases, the aura or the position or the status of the parents is so big that their children are not supposed to perform or behave below a particular standard and they are always expected by their parents to be at the top without fail. This also contributes to the stress of the children. The other reason shared by the parents, teachers and also the children was that, as the adults also tend to tell a lie at times either in personal life or the professional, so they feel that there was nothing wrong in doing that. The other factor mentioned by many was the overall environment in the society. The children mentioned that even media was also responsible for that because the negative characters are projected more prominently than the other ones. The behavior of our representatives is also a major reason because the kids listen to them and tend to follow them considering that this was the easy and appropriate way of succeeding in life. Many of the children feel that the peer pressure is also a major cause because showing off is also considered to be one way of becoming popular amongst the friends.
These reasons are some of those which might be forcing our children to get involved in those activities which may not be good for them as well as the society but we must think beyond that also. At times, the parents and the teachers reach to a point of frustration which further aggravates the problem. The most important remedy for all this can be to have realistic expectations from our children so that they do not come under undue pressure. The education system should be such that it gives opportunity to every child to grow. The education should not be considered as the mere means for earning money but also learning to live the life in all kinds of situation good as well as appalling. They should be told firmly about the things acceptable in the society. They should also be made aware of their duties in addition to their rights. The children should also be encouraged to respect the rights of the other people. The use of electronic tools should be limited to the minimum requirement. The parents should become the role model for the kids because the kind of values received in the family play a noteworthy role in the life of the children and this cannot be overemphasized.

Though the issue raised may appear to be not very significant but this is the one which causes rest of the problems and disturbances. So, this is the responsibility of all to address this issue and make our children healthier citizens of the nation.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Enjoy to learn

Let me this time begin with a few queries; Do we have a creative and imaginative aptitude or do we confine ourselves to the mundane routine less creative activities? Does our teaching nurture creativity in the minds and the souls of children? Do we also think about fairies and wizards and their spells? May be or may not be. Meanwhile, I was reminded of one of the articles written a few years back in which I mentioned about the age appropriate education, by a letter sent by a an educated and concerned parent to the principal of his son`s school. The cause of his concern was the assignment which was given by the teacher of class I and when the child submitted the same to her after spending good time on completing this, the teacher did not find it good enough as per her expectations. She told the child that he should try it again with the help of his mother. The question raised by the father here is very important and serious for all educators and I share the concern of such parents with all of you and all those who are in a position to make a difference in the life of children. Was this assignment given to the children age appropriate? Can the children of the age five six years do such assignments, projects, portfolios, themselves? I really do not know what the assignment was but many a times it is found that the teachers give the work without understanding the capability of the children. Even if the quality of the work was not as per the liking of the teacher, atleast the efforts of the child should have been appreciated in spite of condemning and rejecting it. The teachers should understand that at this stage the children do not have a narrow window like adults but have their own imagination as per the exposure to them. There were two important statements in that letter. One, in which he said that the teacher could have taken the assignment and thrown it in the garbage bin because there are many such assignments, projects and other work of the students which become the part of the garbage every year all over the world. And the other issue was that the students of this age should not be given any assignment or the project because, he says, six hours of school are ‘bad’ enough so that the children enjoy rest of the day. The second statement is very disturbing not because it does not have the substance but because it gives us a food for thought that, has our school system become so bad which does not help children explore and enjoy. Notwithstanding that the NCF 2005 advocates learning by doing and education to be an enjoyable activity rather a burden.
I think we must thank this parent for raising a very important issue which we tend to forget. But the question is, do all parents think this way and if they do not, then what are the reasons for that and who is responsible for this? I raised this point earlier also that there are three stake holders in the field of education. They are the student, at the focal point, teachers and the parents, in addition to the society and the policy makers. They all should be aware of the education pattern and the objectives to be achieved through this. In our country, most of the parents do not get involved so much in the leaning process of the children as they are expected and required to be. Though they may appear to be doing otherwise but not in the way this particular parent or other such parents are. We come across many such cases where the parents help their children or hire the tutors to get the child`s work completed. Not only this, there are shops available in the market which sell the assignments and the projects. The technology is also playing its role in this because there are many website in the name of helping children complete their homework. I am really impressed and fully support the issue raised by this parent that any work given should be such that the child is able to complete itself. The task may have some challenging portion also but the same should be of the level of those children who are asked to perform that. I come back to the point where I mentioned that do all parents think the way this parent thought (and his approach is right). There are a number of parents who come and ask the teachers to give more work to the children so that they do not create problems at home and the parents are not disturbed. Such parents think that if their child does not study more, other children will learn better and their child will be left behind. And this race in the name of tough competition pushes the children into a situation which will never be conducive for the appropriate growth and development of the child.
So this becomes the responsibility of the educators to ensure that the real meaning of the education is understood by them and also by the parents of the children of the school. We as teachers must ensure that the school becomes a happy place for the children and not a stressful routine exercise for them. This is very important for the educators that the proper and long lasting learning takes place in a cheerful and less stressful environment. For this the difference between knowledge and learning must be clear to all. The schools should not be the place to fill the mind of the children with knowledge by an external agency (that is the teacher) but the place for the children that give ample opportunities to them to optimize the potential they already possess. Certainly, judging the creativity of the children in haste is like curbing it forever. If the parents and the teachers realize this then the school will be place for the children that will be liked and enjoyed by them and not the six bad hours in their life.
The other important step can be taken by our policy makers that there should be some full proof method to check that the educational policies are implemented uniformly across the country and the schools may not be left to themselves to be on their own, managing the nitty-gritty’s. This should not be taken as an interference in the autonomy of the schools but a support and guidance in the interest of the children. The controlling agency should not look into the finances only but the quality of learning on day to day basis. The schools should be supervised and not necessarily inspected and if that would be the approach then all will be happy. The case shared here is not in isolation but not many parents realize this and even if they do, not many of them report it to the teachers or the principals. Even such case should be paid due attention and corrective measures should be taken at the earliest. Let me also state this clearly that there are many teachers who want to do things as mentioned in the letter by this parent but most of the time come under pressure and try to give more and very difficult work to the children because of the demands from the parents, but this is also no excuse because the teachers play the most important role in the life of school going children. Remember, our rich culture also valued the creative outlook and our teachings should also be creative, not just administrative.  I would like to your valuable comments on this issue.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Getting into goal setting

The recent news in the daily newspaper is another eye opener for all those who are really concerned about the future of the country. Though we come across many such reports which are of concern to common people and also others but many of them affect all the citizens of the country and also the citizens of the globe. The most important of all the concerns is education to all and in that also quality education to all children. There have been reports published by NGOs where children of class VIII were not able to read Hindi or English text even of the level of class IV. The recent example which I mentioned above goes further and says that about fifty percent of the graduates are not employable at all. They are very poor at languages and in many other areas. I do not know how attention will be paid towards this and what steps will be taken to tackle this problem which seems to be a serious one. If we continue ignoring the things then this disease will become incurable and there will be no panacea for it. So this is a high time for all to stand and do something so that the quality of education is not only available to all in numerical terms but which transforms the life of the people for the better. Many people wonder about the goals and objectives of the education. The body responsible for the innovations and research in the field of education in India is National Council of Educational Research and Training, popularly known as NCERT. Many great educationists have been associated with this body and they contributed to the best of their ability to improve the quality of education. But the problem is that the common people of the country did not get the fruits of the hard work put in by them.
We also talk a lot about providing quality education but seldom come across the real meaning of such education. Should the meaning of education be narrowed down to employability only or it goes beyond that? As on today it appears as getting good marks/grades that would qualify one to get a decent job and thereafter live life comfortably. Before paying some attention to this let us try to understand the concept of quality education. Our former chairman of UGC writes in one of the books that a general definition of quality education to enable the input, processes, outcomes and contexts. By input he meant learners, teachers, community leaders facilities etc., by process he meant national policy, governance, curriculum development, teaching methodology and evaluation, by outcomes he meant academic standard, life skills, social skills, spiritual and secular values and by context  he referred to cultural, economic and ecological and leading from local to global. If we analyse it then it would be found that academic excellence is one of the factors of quality education but that is important without doubt. Along with this I think all should know the national goals of education also. I did try to know from many people (teachers and parents) about the same without much of success.  Then I realized that the condition of ‘national goals’ knowledge has become equivalent to that of our ‘constitution’. People may refer to our constitution but most of us know very little about it. We may  have thousand of books in our school library worth lacs of rupees but this collection rarely have the copy of the constitution of the country. When we do not encourage our children to know how to gain knowledge about the same then can we expect a transition ?  The Aims and Objective must be very clearly specified which should be known to all concerned including the parents and the children. Many commissions have been set up by the government of India to purpose the pattern of education in the country. Some of them were specifically for the secondary education and others catering to the entire education of a citizen of the nation. The first such commission probably was Radha Krishan Commission in the year 1948. The Commission observed a total  emphasis on the examination conducted by external agency and no weightage was given to internal assessment. The commission made a recommendation to give 30% weightage to internal exams. Then Mudaliar Commission was set up in the year 1952 and this also advocated for 20% weightage to be given to internal assessment. Then in 1956 a body known as All India Council for Secondary Education was established to implement the recommendations of the Mudaliar commission. This body recommended that 20% marks be reserved in subjects for internal assessment. Several boards immediately implemented this .The scheme started with good educational intention was to be dropped because of misuse by some selfish people. Thereafter Kothari commission was set up which gave its recommendations but did not show enthusiasm towards the internal assessment idea. However an idea emerged that a separate certificate can be issued to the students which would have the mention of co scholastic and extracurricular activities achievement of the children. This concept was further reinforced in the national educational policy 1986 in which there was a clear mention of continuous and comprehensive evaluation to be implemented in scholastic and co scholastic aspects.
What I have mentioned above talks particularly about the evaluation system and not really the goals of the Indian education. What I want all concerned to understand is that the goals of education system should be specified and made known to all. This should not be taught only to the teachers taking a degree course in education. Though national policy of education talks about different objectives in terms of education for women, education for SCs and STs, education for handicapped, education for OBCs, early childhood education and so on and so forth, but the basic goals of the national education are still to be framed and mentioned very clearly. The goals mentioned above can be the subdivision of the basic goals. One of great educationist mentioned somewhere with regard to India that the national goals could be mentioned as: promotion of the principles of democracy, respect for the individual, equal opportunity for all, respect for the constitution and the law, preserving the cultural heritage and promotion of divulge cultures, international cooperation and peace. In the context of above goals, we can write the aims of education. The most important aspect being ignored is the appropriate curriculum based on the requirement of the nation. The basic goals and the objectives might remain unchanged but the objectives should be reviewed periodically as per the need of time. The school and university education should be treated in tandem and in isolation. One important mention in NPE 86 is delinking of degrees from jobs, but I do not think any attention has been paid in that direction. The documents prepared by the government with the help of experts should not be for the purpose of records only but should be followed in the right spirit then only the efforts of those people might yield some results.
It is not that the country has made no progress in the field of education but a lot more could have been done if sincere efforts were made to involve more people in this. As I mentioned above also that the ones responsible for the implementation should be very clear about the approach of the government in regard to the education. There can be a common policy regarding the syllabus and examination for the entire country. Let the states be given some freedom to make a few changes, depending upon local requirement but the soul of the education system should be the same for the entire nation. Changes should not be sudden and on too short a notice which might create situation of chaos for many. I would seek help from all my friends who can guide me in knowing clear goals of our national education policy.