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Drawbacks of present day education system

The purpose of education is to help instill curiosity and a love for learning in children so that they develop into young adults who are happy, confident, creative, intelligent, responsible who can think clearly and grow into leaders and entrepreneurs to contribute to society.

Unfortunately the education system which is mostly institutionalised is plagued with many drawbacks such as:

Rigid syllabus

We have various curriculum frameworks from time to time, and now we hear about another one in the pipeline. But all of them will lead to only one thing that is designing learning objectives and deciding what should be taught, how it should be taught etc. To achieve them, the boards (any board State or Central) will come up with syllabuses, scheduled tests, marking/assessment criteria, preparation of a school calendar with all these activities. Doesn’t that mean that everything is imposed by somebody? Where is actual, productive and happy learning in this?

Subjects

The division of knowledge into subjects for me is completely unrelated. Actually the knowledge is all interconnected. Dividing the knowledge into subjects is what makes children feel bored. Take for example a simple activity of baking, it is not rocket science. Many subjects can be taught with just baking like Language, Math, Science, Geography, Art and so on. Children should be exposed to people, equipment, places, animals, organizations etc. so that they will be alert all the time and learn effectively, all the subjects of course, unconsciously and without much forced effort.

Scheduled classes

 Why should children study Math in the first period, science in the second period and so on. What if the child is interested to work a little more in the mathematical concept? No, the child has to stop and be ready for the Science teacher and her work. Some children take more time to absorb and understand the concepts. But because of the class time, the child has to run with others and in this process cannot cope and becomes slow and then is compared and humiliated which causes further damage and it may result in loss of interest permanently and the child may never recover from this.

Incompetent teachers

 Most of the school do not have dedicated and caring teachers. Schools look mostly for qualified teachers but unfortunately most of the qualified teachers use their qualification as a licence. It is not exaggerating that many qualified teachers do not know how to treat children let alone teaching. They do B.Ed. just to become teachers. They indulge in constant comparison of children with others, giving monotonous work, not correcting the given work regularly and so on. And the few good teachers keep on changing schools or they will be promoted as Vice Principals and Principals. Please note that this is not generalization.

Concept of Academic Year

Added to the class time, we have an academic year. It is not clear who decided that a particular area of study has to be completed within an academic year. Human beings are dynamic in nature, each one has a different style of learning. For all to score good marks or perform better, one year may not be enough. If we impose the condition of one year, then we have low performers and high performers. Remove the time, and you will have all good performers in any subject or activity. By giving extra time we can help a child to come to a level and it is quite natural that the child will reach the level of other children at a certain point. The same child will be motivated intrinsically and will pick up faster and will take lesser time in other concepts. And by and large he/she will be ready for the board exams (unfortunately we cannot avoid these exams) and can perform confidently and efficiently.

Learning for Exams and Tests

 To put it bluntly, exams and tests make children study/learn for the sake of exams and make them forget the concepts afterwards. But, when they study what they want to study and when they wish to study and are not tested, they study to understand, to question, to seek more help and to do more in their interested area. Schools will not give such freedom and they can never do that because they are governed (dictated) by certain norms/guidelines/rules/objectives.  Sometimes these tests make children go for shortcuts and at times even malpractices  which undermines the very purpose of education. It is not surprising that a few schools resort to inflating the marks and grades of children and show good performance when the child  has learnt nothing.

Time lost in commuting

Commuting is a time killer, particularly in cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune etc. Children are caught in the traffic jam and that affects their health apart from extensive time taken for their commuting. On an average, children spend 90 to 120 minutes for their travel to and from school.

Bullying

Many schools are crowded and the students’ strength per classroom is on the higher side. Instead of providing a platform for good socialization, many schools have become the hubs for bullying of junior children by the seniors or by peers.

We expect children to become leaders  and entrepreneurs but we force them to go through the factory model of education where everything is decided by a board or a group of people as to what to study (syllabus), when to study (classes), how to study (methods) and how to pass (exams and tests and exams). A wrong means to achieve a great end. We can never realise the true purpose of education this way. Unfortunately, history is full of examples of people with not much schooling who went on to become great scientists, leaders, sportstars, musicians, artists and entrepreneurs.

We need to trust children. They are naturally curious. We should not have expectations from them, particularly unreasonable expectations. We need to realize that children are different from each other and each one has a different pace of learning. We need to be patient. Once the child is interested he/she can do all the reading, writing, mathematics, science, social and everything within a few months. Actually, the natural curiosity is shunned by the present academic system by forcing the children to learn something they are not interested in and during the time they may not be able to complete it.

The right way is to give freedom to students. To take them to various places where things are happening. Let them see real equipment, give them space and time to jot down what they think and what they wish to do. Yes, we need adults/facilitators to guide them without interfering much. Only then can we have wonderful children who will become responsible leaders and entrepreneurs.

Showing the real world in action is what ILOMO does for children.