“Education is a purposive, conscious or unconscious, psychological, sociological, scientific and philosophical process, which brings about the development of the individual to the fullest extent and also the maximum development of society in such a way that both enjoy happiness and prosperity.” This suggests that education system is dynamic and requires constant reforms, speculations and assessments on various levels across the world.
Considering the world as a Global Village, a substantial effort was initiated in the year 2000, which is known as Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). India and China became a part of it in 2009, for the first time. Out of 74 countries which participated that year China secured the first position and India settled for 72nd rank. Hopeless and despair-ridden, India decided to withdraw and had never been a part of PISA since then. After speculating on this matter and discussing it on many levels, the present government has decided to be a part of this prestigious exam once again, which is conducted at an interval of three years. It will be conducted next in 2021, in Chandigarh. Fifteen year old students who have completed the 6 year curriculum are eligible for this exam. This is quite exciting for the students of the entire nation. It is a two hour exam comprising subjects such as Science, Mathematics and General Reading Ability. Analytical questions, based on research and experiments are asked instead of theoretical questions. The aim behind this is to test the understanding and creativity of the students. (Source: Dainik Bhaskar)
According to Mr Prempal Sharma, Former Member of NCERT Syllabus Committee, education is the foundation stone of development and progress of nations. He believes that such exams cannot be done away with as they play a significant role in analyzing our education system and determine our place on the world platform. It becomes quite important as India struggles to maintain a decent position in the recent QS World University Evaluation Rankings. India could only manage 6 positions in top 250 universities across the world.
The initiative to be a part of PISA once again, is undoubtedly appreciable as a global exam like this will motivate us to work harder and prove our worth on an International level. On one hand the government is striving hard to improve the educational scenario of our country and on the other hand there is an entire system which is draining the young minds out of their capacity to think and analyze critically. Well, I am referring to the epidemic of coaching institution which has made our education system hollow and sick. Numerous and endless efforts have been made from the primary level to the university level but situation remains pathetic. We are falling behind in terms of producing young analytical and scientific minds which have an instinctive inclination towards research and inventions. The coaching institutes are indeed “coaching” them well to fall in the rat race of securing ranks in institutions and focusing on grabbing a six digit salary package. The number of research oriented minds has steeped drastically.
Education is a systematic procedure which requires clear understanding of concepts at both primary and higher levels with a genuine increase in critical thinking and curiosity. This is the correct approach as it encourages students to solve their problems themselves using their knowledge and applying appropriate skills. Coaching institutes on the contrary train the students to cram the formulas and concepts and fail to teach their correct application as the purpose or the end they want to secure is marks and ranks. Students are not only being deprived of the ability to solve the problems through analysis, but they are also forced to do extra work. In order to acquire more enrollments these institutes start teaching the course which is a level higher for a particular class. With this approach they try to claim that they are “competitive exam oriented”. This easily lures the naïve students and parents. Once a child is enrolled in the institution, they make sure that the child is weighed down with excessive work so that it appears that the coaching institutes are worth the money that is being spent on them. This overburdens the child and the parents decide to sacrifice his/her school education. And those who try to balance both school and coaching are purposely over laden so that they give up on school education. Some tutors of these institutes stoop to the level of passing de-motivating comments on those students who try their best manage both school and coaching. Under extreme pressure many students are left with no choice but to leave school when they aren’t able to cope up. This hinders the holistic development of the child which is quite essential at the age he/she is in.
The menace that they are, the negative impact of these coaching institutions is quite apparent. It is surprising that the government, the administration and the lawmakers who quite enthusiastically implement and execute educational reforms; aren’t taking any steps to curb the havoc created by these institutions, in the lives of the future of our nation. If High Court can pass a decision directing CBSE that schools affiliated to this board should not give any homework to the students of up to II class, which is welcome step for saving the childhood of the children, then why can’t it take a step to put an end to the “business” of coaching institutions? Do children of age till 18 also need to develop other skills and have some time for physical and recreational activities? Why is this parasite, which is dwindling, the very foundation of our education system, since last 20 years, being nurtured? If these institutes which are ruining the future of the kids by “training” them to cram the concepts without understanding the basics, are allowed to flourish, what would the benefit of being a part of such platforms as PISA? If creating talent and scientific aptitude were the cup of tea of these coaching institutes, India would have been flourishing in the field of research, but unfortunately this isn’t the case.
We need to understand that students need someone who can guide, motivate and explain, in accordance with the needs the child rather than broadcast mechanism that operates in a big lecture hall. A child needs a guru not a professional trainer. A guru, who understands the requirements of the subject, gives help and provide customized guidance, use diagnostic tools to pinpoint the loopholes and propose learning and practice. But most importantly our children need motivation and positive reinforcements to inculcate in them the confidence which is required to flourish in this competitive world. Can money and a lecture hall with 200 students provide all this to a child inculcating a scientific and research oriented aptitude? Are aspects like multiple intelligences and differential learning taken into consideration by these institutions which are responsible for killing critical thinking?
Though the schools and educators can play a vital role in reinforcing the importance of school education over these coaching institutes but it cannot be denied that some schools (private) might let financial profit overshadow their purpose as a school and submit to the coaching institutes, promoting dummy enrollments.
Still, I urge the teaching community to come forward and ensure that school education does not become a play thing in the hands of the coaching institutes. Even if they cannot do away with the coaching centers altogether, I make an appeal to the government and law makers to ensure that at least school students are strictly and officially prohibited to enroll in any coaching centres.
If research, inventions and critical aptitude has to flourish, the entrapment of these, profit-oriented institutions, needs to be tackled with sincere efforts and dedication. I still beam with hope and positivity as I see that there are many educators who stand united and committed to this purpose.