“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
In overall global scenario, Higher Education in India does not match with the global Quality standards and continues to muddle its way through its identity crisis because there is neither a specialist in teaching for skills, employability for global citizenship, nor a flag bearer for advancement of higher order knowledge is existing, and hence it stands stymied. It’s dismissal ranking on the world table stand testament year after not to its mediocrity but to the unwillingness to change itself at the intrinsic level. Rather it seems quite ridiculous to state that even after so many years of the abolition of the colonial times; there are just a few things that have changed. We have established IITs, IIMs, NITs, law schools and other institutes of excellence and our students are now routinely scoring 90% or more marks; but even then they don’t get college of their choices. The reason being we are not coming out of the cocoon of the same old stuff.
Cramming and rote learning process still plagues our system and students just mug up and mug out the stuff to score good marks in exams, and just to crack exams like IIT JEE, and AIIMS. Still, we adhere much to the colonial pattern of education system which was based to create clerks and civil servants and now our youngsters are preparing themselves to become engineers and many of them are not skilled and complete quality product with analytical bent of mind and research orientation at their dispose but just to follow the instructions. Where does the buck stop? In recent times, we have taken some steps on education reforms, but it needs a lot more than that. Hence, we have to focus on more intrinsic reasons of education failures and certain fixed prospective amendments so that we can make India knowledge based economy. Let us explore the vision ahead:
There are various quality management techniques, tools and manoeuvres adopted in the field of industry, can also be tried in academia so as to diagnose the system and identify potential improvement therein. The quality management concepts in business and corporate world remain the same; however, there are certain limitations of their application in academia because institute cannot be considered as sheer industry and students its products because in institutes knowledge is imparted to students. Students are not its product rather quality education and knowledge is the product of academia which makes students assets of the nation, society and of the corporate world. In institutes, students directly receive education from faculty and institute’s management is the suppliers of this product.
Memorizing is no learning and teacher is not just to teach rather to sharpen the skills of the students by making the learning process even more interactive because teacher is not now restricted to a small classroom rather his performance can be opened up for the world to see and let his / her students see the world with a broader perspective. Teachers need to discuss such questions with the students: Why are you here? What are you trying to do? What does it mean to you to do it well? How can a teacher help you in doing it well? A teacher should try to build up a consensus in a class what constitutes a quality experience. If he adopts such innovative method of teaching learning process, the quality management concept of education can be achieved ensuring the coherence of curriculum, improvement of education along with the enhancement of the productivity of teacher himself. Moreover, students and teachers would derive greater joy in their work. Hence, in order to improve, education system we need quality teachers, that is, leaders, entrepreneurs in teaching position, not salaried people to hold on to their mantle.
Institutes of higher education should provide knowledge, know-how, wisdom and character to their students. This is how their characters are built, a combination of knowledge, know-how, and wisdom, coupled with motivation. Character is recognized by certain traits, viz., honesty, integrity, initiative, curiosity, truthfulness, cooperativeness, self-esteem and ability to work alone and in group. Knowledge and skills without character is null because education gives birth to human and not to robotics.
In addition to this, India needs to embrace maximum use of internet and technology to spread knowledge and information to the general mass and hence it makes sense to invest in technological infrastructure that will make access to knowledge easier than ever. It will also improve educational delivery mechanism with the use of smartphones, tablets and computers with high speed internet connection, though all these are becoming more possible, there are lots of innovation yet to take place in this space. By doing so, we would give most number of skilled professionals well-equipped with modern technology. This is how we can open up new avenues to create entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists, engineers, writers and thinkers who can establish the foundation of knowledge based economy.
In order to improve our education, mediocrity – in students, in faculties, and throughout the system, is to be discarded and for that hard work is required because the path of excellence is fraught with difficulties. Moreover, this is to be taken into account that the drift of economic world is away from assembly line production, hence we are to reject conservative presumption of assembly line education which is based on one fundamental that a common education should be applicable to all. Hence this monolithic pattern of education system is to be abolished with decentralization of education by providing with new and innovative courses.
If we want to emerge as a country built on knowledge based economy, driven by highly educated people – we need to make good education policy so that education is universally available to all. The impetus for improving higher education system has started taking a move, though its pace is still slow as we have fully diagnosed the problem and leading towards a collaborative quality and potential improvement. This is very essential to cure the education system because no other activity can promise more leverage than education itself because this is the cornerstone of any country’s growth.