Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dividing Independent India by Experimenting with School Education System !

The other day, this teenage girl approached my wife with a request. She wanted my wife to give her some free coaching for her school subjects which she finds difficulty to cope up. She is from a poor family of daily wage earners living in the capital city of the mineral rich state of Jharkhand.

This city has a legacy of good schools that got established right from the British era. There are a number of so called privately run  'public' schools many of them managed by christian churches of various denominations.

Of late, with the liberalisation of education policies, the number of such institutions set up by various kinds of societies and trusts have multiplied many fold. Almost all the schools which are set up almost exclusively by private funding carry out their instructions in English language. They are commonly known as English Medium schools. Of late, most of these schools carry the word 'public' in their names.

I am at a loss to understand what do they mean by this word 'public' because their actions and activities normally do not support anything of general public interest. Except, perhaps the public craze for imparting english medium education for their wards. The ultra 'nationalist' politicians have transformed the state run schools deprived of good standards including facilities for good english education and english medium education. The  craze for english medium education has resulted from their perception to consider the English medium education as superior as far as opportunities of higher education and employability are concerned.

Now coming back to the story of the girl. My wife was a little apprehensive of her capability to accept her request. So she requested her to bring her text books of the subjects for which she felt the most difficulty. So, the girl brought the text books of two subjects . One was the reader for English Language. The other was in Hindi with many lines  of mathematical equations having English language symbols on all pages. Obviously it was her Mathematics text in Hindi medium. This girl is studying in the Eighth grade in a government run school in the city which imparted education only in Hindi medium.

The standard of the English Reader was a bit high for my wife who does not use that language for her day to day communications or activities any more. More over she did her graduation in Economics from a reputed college of Kerala some three decades ago and never had an opportunity to make any use of her economics or english except perhaps refreshing some of those things a decade ago while our children were still in the schools.  She found the Mathematics totally beyond understanding due to its artificial Hindi which was something even the common Hindi speaking people never used in their daily life.

So she decided to take my help.

So I got the opportunity to glance through these two government sponsored text books intended for imparting free education to the economically weaker sections of the society.

The English text book was produced by the researchers of the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Obviously the authors wanted to impress every one with their knowledge in English and their literary skills ! This book is being prescribed on a pan India basis for English language education at this grade on all state run schools regardless of the culture and background of the children. For example, for those children who are from and English speaking background, this book might appear too silly whereas for others it would be too difficult. Apparently the author and the text book selection committees had no idea regarding the conditions at the receiving end !

The Mathematics text book, I found, was written in Hindi, apparently taking great pains. Great pains would indeed be needed to find all those Hindi translations for those commonly understood english words such as algebra, perfect numbers, rational numbers, simultaneous equations, etc for which there are no commonly used Hindi terms. The author or authors were too patriotic that they did not consider it befitting to give the corresponding English words that are universally used in Mathematics. Instead they thought it fit to invent  some uncommon Hindi equivalents making use of the now dead Sanskrit language roots. I am sure, the teachers of these schools also might find this mathematics teaching difficult. The difficulty here is posed by the artificial language of education ! How can the teachers make the students understand the meanings in the right manner  as the language proficiency needed is more than the normal language proficiency attained at that level of education ?

Unlike me and my wife, the girl has her mother tongue as a local version of Hindi. But this mathematics text for her was much more difficult to understand than her English text book.

If we were to study those texts and pass the examinations, we would never make it. That much I am sure. Then what to talk about this poor girl and all those millions like her ? We felt sorry for her and all those like her.

Obviously the modern day Indian educationalists are churning out school curricula not for the children, but for benefitting someone else ! These text books, in my opinion, deprive a greater percentage of under privileged Indian children not to gain anything from education and remain illiterate or at the best name sake school passouts or dropouts. They seldom learn anything properly with reasonable understanding or knowledge. They do not even attain the mastery of simple reading and writing in their own mother tongue, forget english and the sciences !

On the other hand, there are millions of middle and upper class Indians who send their wards to schools that boasts of teaching in English, by paying hefty sums as fees and other educational expenses. In this english medium schools, the children are exposed to learning sciences, mathematics and other subjects in English medium when their own English language proficiency is just in the budding stage. None of the Indian children has English as the mother tongue and they pick up the meanings with great difficulty. It is very difficult to assess whether an Indian student has really understood the meaning of a scientific or mathematical term even while he or she had scored a high percentage of marks in the subject. In reality, those scoring high in English medium schools in physical or social sciences or mathematics are those with good memory to by heart their questions and answers rather than using their logical reasoning skills or original thinking.

Indian educationalists and their political bosses keep experimenting with the school education system that India has seen several changes in the curricula and the education pattern ever since independence. The changes in the recent years have been more frequent that it is difficult to find out whether systems are doing any good for the children.

It is a fact that millions of Indian children are studying in English medium schools and progressing their studies in higher education by spending heavily as school and college fees. They are the english speaking class of Indians or the affluent Indians. They are trained to do their works with the help of English as the working language. They can also use and understand their mother tongues if those vernacular local languages are partially or fully anglicized.

Above their class is perhaps the super rich Indians or the fully anglicansed super affluent class. They are multinationals of Indian origin. Most of them are residents of other countries or regular foreign visitors having a PIO [person of Indian origin] status. They are those who are affluent enough to create a fully anglicanised environment in their residences and schools that they are practically insulated from the influences of the mother tongues of their grandparents.

Then there is this class of intelligent but not so affluent Indians who study their mother tongues and learn other topics through their mother tongues but are intelligent enough to master all these. They are the ones who ultimately become the government servants and the so called bureaucrats of India, helping and supporting their political cousins.

All the above said class of citizens have made up their individual identities as distinct classes of subtle influence.

The last class is the majority in numbers. They are the ones who learnt nothing through their school education, but learnt much more through common sense and keen observations. Their brains are practically free from crap which they can use at their free will as they grow up through difficulties.

They have their muscle power to  their aid. Their simple common sense have taught them that their muscle power has value through which they could make themselves equally important as the other three classes.

So this way the school education system of India is making the Indian society divided as four strong classes at all states, districts, regions, cities and even in the villages. They are bound to become the modern day Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras of India.

Whether any one likes this transformation or not, this evolutionary change is taking place in India, slowly but surely.

The school education under the language fights and tug of wars is the big casualty. It is making the young Indians lose their creativity and scientific enthusiasm ! Otherwise why this more than a billion strong nation has failed to produce noteworthy inventions and discoveries corresponding to its numbers?

All credits go to those who keep experimenting with the Indian school education system !

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1 comment:

  1. NICE BLOG!!! Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, research, or simply through autodidacticism. Thanks for sharing a nice information.
    BBA distance Education


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