Degree holders or Exemplary citizens?

Continuing the discussion on a very important matter of concern, I wish to draw some attention to the current state of the education system in our country. Right now, there is a political debate surrounding the ‘Right to Education’ bill. It is certainly a great and a welcome step forward. But merely introducing and passing a legislation can not completely help the cause of education in the country. Effective implementation in true spirit will go a long way in improving the state of education. Before that let me put forward and give you some food for thought as to what I think are the major loopholes in the system.

1.Educational Infrastructure is a major concern. If the government has to provide education to a billion plus populace, then it has to come up with excellent educational infrastructure. We need more number of schools and colleges. But quantity is a waste if the quality is not up to the mark. So as we go on constructing buildings and churning out more and more private colleges, we should also pay a lot of attention to imparting quality education.

2.The second issue according to me is the lack of basic primary education. Any nation can claim to build an educated citizenry only if its primary education system is par excellence. What we see in our country is that the remotest of places do not have proper schools, teachers are absent and the rural population has to travel miles to reach the nearest education facility. This is contrary to the concept of neighborhood schools in cities. What is then the motivation for students in these remote areas to enroll for higher education? The drop out ratio is huge! And how can you expect more and more citizens to be graduates when they can’t even complete their primary education? As is said, that for building to stand strong and tall, it is necessary that the base should be well-built. Primary education is that base.

3.I believe everything in this world is political. But still, education should be free of murky politics. Favoritism, Sycophancy, Nepotism, Corruption – these are the existing malaise in our education system. Many times the text books of various subjects are full of factual errors and misleading information. Education can not be used as a medium to propagate a particular religion or an ideology. It should only promote secularism. Communal undertones should be avoided.

4.Swami Vivekanand used to say that true education is the one which builds character. But are we doing this currently? No! We are producing by heaps degree holders and not citizens who are responsible, aware and conscious of their duties towards the nation. Thus, in the mad race for securing marks and admissions, we are losing out on a potent tool to build a strong and truly independent nation.

Education is the most important indicator in the development index of any country because it builds human capital. You can have great financial capability, huge number of weapons, big buildings and malls…but if you do not have educated citizen then the material progress has no relevance. Along with financial and social capital, education which nurtures human capital is of extreme importance. Education is also very crucial because it directly affects the mind, transforms the thinking process. Beneath any social and political movement lies education. If a society has to undergo change, the roots and the start have to be provided by the education system. So, when I read and come to know about the Government of India’s defense expenditure, I wonder why the same amount is not being spent on education. Protecting the country from the enemy is certainly important, but isn’t creating exemplary citizens through education important too?

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