“Opportunity is not like a shooting star, there every once in a while, but like the moon, there every night – you just have to look for it.” It appears that when Kayla Clafton wrote these lines she knew I’d be writing this small article on the state of education in India in the year 2012! The same words can have ‘education’ replacing ‘opportunity’ and we can effectively sum up the dire situation that exists in our country today.
Look at what the politicians and their eye on the ballot box has done to education for the poor… they have gradually made it possible for almost every one of them to go ahead and prance around with a class tenth certificate. The ministers are happy, the dolts with their certificates are happy, the statistics are mighty pleased… but poor Ms Education, if she were to have a body of her own, would bury her head in shame! Education is certainly not a once-a-year Annual Fair where kids are handed a piece of paper and asked to shuffle over to the next classroom. It is, and must be, much more than this!
Let us look at what happens after a kid walks out of school brandishing his or her latest weapon of mass destruction: A Class Tenth Pass Certificate!
- The student suddenly realises that now he actually has to read long and complex texts and make his own decisions as to what to do and where to go. He knows that this is an impossible task. What does he see before him? A new path? No. He sees a dark tunnel that might even take him back to where he shuffled out from!
- He is told that it is no longer enough to twiddle a cell phone with one hand and act like a Bollywood hero… he needs to converse intelligently and write text that is coherent. The dark tunnel appears to be getting darker and he experiences a fearful tremor.
- Looking around for an escape route he decides to take admission in a diploma course and finds that everything is done online there… and he involuntarily squirms and looks around helplessly.
These are just three scenarios that I have mentioned. There can be more. The truth, however, is obvious from them too. The truth is that our schools do not educate. They just convert us into a huge mass of people with certificates and nothing else. The poor now have books and schools in their dreams, but sadly no education. This is the truth of government-aided education. I call it the certified conspiracy where the reality of education gets lost into the fiction of mere literacy! This is the worst sort of real fiction being staged annually.
Written on 26 July 2012