Dear Indian education system,

To begin with dear friends, I want to make a special request. This is the first time I have done anything of this nature and I would be grateful if you reciprocated. I would really like it if you would re-blog this post on your site, I want it to reach the widest audience possible.

Everything in this letter is true dear reader, and who knows? even you may resonate with it..

So……….. read the letter, and please re-blog it on you own site.

Thankyou,

TheHumbleHumanist

Prologue

I began pounding away at my computer the minute I received my 12th grade marks. I was angry. So angry about the injustices I was subject to and the fact that I was a part of a system with idiosyncrasies as partisan as they as backward. It took me a while for the slightly egotistical ranting to fade and a skein of rationality to weave itself above a healing wound. Then I was ashamed because what I was ailing from was what millions of children, nay 472 million children under the age of 18 are probably going through in different degrees. Some may be completely oblivious to their suffering and may even try to deny it. Those I pity the most, who are not aware of the unnecessary burden they carry.

Now, anger gone, my keys clink more thoughtfully. I hope you understand my perspective even if yours may be different. I wish to deal largely in facts, to obliterate any possible biases. If they show however, please forgive a young person.

This is a letter and a journey dear friends that may or may not be relevant to your own lives, this is a letter by a teenager who wants a voice, who wants to know that her journey is not hers alone.

 

Dear Indian education system,

How have you been? Good I hope. You may not know me personally but have had a relationship with you that spans nearly 10 years. I believe my friends and I know you better that we can say. But do you know your origins? I suppose it becomes relevant to talk a little bit about the past seeing as to how it impacts the present and the present invariably the future. Now it is known that the education system installed in India has been passed down from the British, whose purpose it was to make in short; conformist, factory workers for the purpose of industry. Thus establishing the British Raj in India and controlling it would be so much more effective. Sir Trevelyan, a pivotal man with regards to the in the English education system in India, said in the British parliament in 1857 – “After such an education, a political revolution in this country will be unlikely and we will easily be able to rule over our Empire for long.”

“A student who enjoyed studying the subject and developed his or her own perspective on different topics is unlikely to get the highest marks”

Such was the sound of you education, imported. However, that did have its pros and cons and is a thing of the past. Moving on to the present day… From A young age, we are told to follow the syllabus and anything out of it became counter band. This even percolated to the higher grades where a student was awarded a poor grade for writing a good answer, but was not syllabus specific.

The one-mark question was: ‘How far do you agree with the statement that cultural globalisation is dangerous not only for poor countries but for the entire globe?’

Her answer was: ‘I do not agree with this statement as cultural globalisation leads to enhanced cultures with newer combinations arising from external influences, cultural heterogenisation and greater influence of all cultures.’

It may seem like a really good answer but was awarded a zero because and again, it was not syllabus specific. This is what the syllabus  dictated, ’Yes, cultural globalisation does lead to cultural homogenisation which affects all countries as it causes shrinkage of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the entire globe’.

The syllabus, a words whose origin was in the mid 17th century, from the Greek sittuba ‘title slip, label’. In this way we were labelled, what was without a label, prescribed by you dear system, we could not venture into or discover for ourselves, our wings were clipped before we could even fly. This is clearly reflective of how you cultivate a herd mentality but not a ‘heard’ mentality. Why is that? How far have we come from our undignified time of British oppression as far as education is concerned?

herd_mentality

I’m sorry for mentioning this dear system but such is the case. There is an absolute paucity of critical material in any course. Take the example of history for instance; we are encouraged to read texts of stellar writers like Bipin Chandra and Ram Chandra Guha. Knowing what the expert has to say is essential, but so is knowing our own opinion. Not once do you care to know what we think about Stalins tyrannical regime or the slavery of African Americans. About our stance on the freedom struggles of our forefathers, the Emergency or anything of such? Of course what the experts have to say is important, but it is the child who is to become the next expert, and he will only be able to do that if one is given space to think. However, we are expected to push our entire person into cookie cutter moulds for the sake of marks and grades.

Therefore, not only you but the entire education system has been excellently sued by a man who calls himself Prince Ea,

It was hear that I realized that Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad, of the beloved Three Idiots Movie, would have never actually topped his class in this reality. Or at least the odds are astronomical. This is owing to the fact that the board or the college would have never entertained original and creative answers. His simple language and cheerful smile would have been to no avail in the face of the regimented examiner and the unyielding syllabus. He may have still been successful in life, but never in college. This thought saddened me.

Krishna Kumar of the NCERT himself said, “If I were in charge of admissions in humanities and social science BA honours courses in a college, I would look for good candidates whose Class XII scores in these subjects were between 65 and 85 per cent. I am sure that the students who score above 85 or 90 per cent are also good and hardworking students – but they are probably meant for other areas.” He went on to say that,

“A student who enjoyed studying the subject and developed his or her own perspective on different topics is unlikely to get the highest marks”

But why must he say that? Is it not important for you dear system to encourage independent thought? But yet you do not award these people. They may not want awards and accolades if they are true to themselves but a little motivation never hurt anyone. I once did an essay comparing the Tragic Hero of literature to a Hardy personality type in Psychology but you could hardly care about that. Right?

In 1983 a brilliant American developmental psychologist Howard Gardener described 9 types of intelligences,

How many of these do you encompass? Bits and pieces of the above perhaps, but largely you specialize in rote; the art of memorization. Though interestingly enough, rote is not mentioned above or in any other theory of intelligence I know of. If it does exist somewhere though, my sincerest apologies.

It is this rote learning that turns human beings into machines, without identities of our own with the capacity of spewing out without thought what has already been learnt. It is this rote system that made Infosys, a large IT tycoon, claim that a large portion of its employees would be untrainable. The critical faculty we are so blessed with wallows in the muck and dirt, hardly glimpsing the sunlight.

As a person I would like to say that my marks do not matter and so would many of us who know that you are at fault. However we can’t because of the dreaded next step for most 12th grades-college applications. Some children have sold their souls to institutes who grind them from grade 7 or 8 for a seat at IIT which is the India Institute of technology,  one of the most reputed colleges in the country. Or people embrace rigorous tuition in so that the prayer on their lips may be fulfilled, “Let me get into a good college”. The day when the results come out is one of high tempers and bated breath. When they do arrive, at that precise moment, it feels like your future is set in stone, though it hardly has begun. You either succeeded wildly of failed miserably. You have hardly left us with a middle ground. However the battle we have fought, if we have tried to, is an unworthy one and the spoils unfair.

I was shattered almost when my marks came, averaging it 90.6% in ISC. It did not get me and honours programme of the Delhi University of my choice. What I thought I worked for and deserved.

It was almost hilarious though when Humanities colleges opened at percentages like 100%. There were joke flying around on social media that even Dettol would not have been able to make the first list being 99.99% effective. And this is humanities I am talking about. In spite of that a whopping total of 3,38,893 applicants had registered on the portal till last Tuesday afternoon on the online portal. His is what one refers to as a rat race system, here all participant are blinkered in some way of the other, all looking towards the end instead of the process that got them there. Do these colleges how unitary their system is, how this can hardly encompass the entirety of an individual? Or most simply….how it is just not right? Even the government may need to realize that.

A talk held in the year 2016 discusses just that. This was a talk called “The Big Fight” and was held on NDTV, a major news channel. The show on the channel was called “The Big Fight” The Topic of debate was whether high marks ensure success in life. It was held amongst major educationists of this country including the ex chancellor of the Delhi University, Here it is below for you viewing.

The debate was enlightening but one does not feel reassured because there is no change. I, the individual, feels reduced at the face of it dear system, boiled down to a singular number so many times that I struggle to keep by critical faculty and more importantly my person abreast. Is this the nature of education that is to revolutionize the country? This will only end in employees and company owners who are hindered, without the capacity to unlearn and relearn. Students are ranked in an esteem killing manner not unlike the caste system of old.(Or is it of old?)

Then again I owe you apology, dear system, it is not your fault and I have been unfair. It is the fault of those who propagate you, who thrive in you and do nothing to stop you. There has been a barrage of rhetoric, from talk shows, news channels and social media for a change of some sort. This usually ends in an argument, misunderstanding or some form of casual evasion. This needs to end. This blame game. After all,

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves”

We need to change dear system. Then so will you.

 

Most sincerely

A Human Being.

 

-please reblog-