Damn, not again! On a not so encouraging monday morning, when my to-do list is bigger than the list of grocery items for the entire month. I very ceremoniously decide to start my day by paying the debts of middle class needs. The car loan EMI that would be my needy vestigial organ for the next 5 years. Sigh! The things that necessities and proof of academic validation make us do.
I open my light weight system whose heavy EMI got over just last month, go to the net banking site, and whoosh, can’t remember my password. I couldn’t, even at gunpoint, remember my log-in credentials. There are so many passwords to remember after all. All these numbers and data and blah….whatever, I wasn’t good at it. I called the customer care, and learnt that I would have to wait for the next 24 hours to set my new password. I pleaded, with all my might, just like thousands of students do right before their board exam results, to all the Gods they can possibly remember. These exams that everyone would have worked so hard for – hyper parents, preposterous relatives, nosy neighbours, disinterested teachers and expensive tuitions. I wonder, how many assistants would God need to keep a track of all this. No rest, no holidays, just OVERTIME. But like all Gods – human or superhuman, bound by a certain Cardinal Law, the customer care executive politely declined my plea, “Sorry mam, but this is how the system works.”
Annoyed with my incapability of munching numbers well, I kept down the phone. By now, the remains of my morning meditation have tasted the dirt of earthly venom. I am angry, frustrated and feel like a poached egg.
After all these years, and staying alive through that period of school-college-career confusion, considering 57 students committed suicide in Kota, in this year alone, overwhelmed by the deathtrap schemes of coaching centres and over-hauling performance pressure – the ruins of education system still come around to bite me. We have IITs, IIMs and many other highly privileged institutions, and yet as per Census 2011, ten million Indians with graduate, post graduate and technical degrees are unemployed. The number of underemployed individuals will be even higher, a statistic, that remains a grey area – lost in the debate of reservation and quota.
“Madam, tea”, I look up, suddenly realising the weight of the massive bubble thought I was floating under, and aim my recently attained consciousness at the generous smile of our office boy, who was standing on top of my head, holding a big tray of coffee and tea mugs. I smile right back at him and hand over my weekend ignored dirty mug, “Please get this washed and just get me hot water.” I fish out my tulsi-ginger green tea bag, a health concoction that soothes the guilt of sedentary lifestyle. While sipping the tea I think of all the possible reasons that make growing up such a massive pain. Education and our ego of not accepting its fundamental problems remain the centre points. With cut-offs reaching as high as 99.5 %, there is very little hope for the other 99.4% and below. And this situation becomes particularly stinky when Bihar humanities topper on being asked to write about Tulsidas, just pays her homage by writing, “Tulsidas, pranaam.”
The Blame Game
The angry messiahs who feel responsible for upholding the truth and integrity of the education ‘system’ in India have demanded the arrest of the student. Hmmm…? Really..? Her arrest will solve the problem. Trying to label such students as the root cause of the massive failure of education system in India is like Swamy yelling, “Raghuram is mentally not Indian enough.”
This skewed outlook has ruined the lives of many and if proper amendments are not done soon, India will only have shallow minds and empty pockets with a fancy degree.
One Size Shall Fit All..hmmm!?
This problem of one size shall fit all lies everywhere. From crop tops on skinny mannequins to popular presumption that if one thing works for a particular student it will work for all. The last benchers shall always come last, and the first benchers deserve all the attention.
Unfortunately, education system is only limited to marks card and cut-offs. There is no purpose and no true investment. A higher budget for better schools, effective training for teachers, better lab, library and sports facilities, cancellation of false unaccredited institutions offering dubious degrees are some of the basic steps to begin with. Rewards should be given on original thinking and innovation. Community development, effective communication and skill based education is the only way forward.
The responsibility to do this lies with everybody – parents, teachers, administrators, policy makers and not just students. We have to collectively make a choice between making able leaders or identical looking artificially flavored orange cream biscuits.
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