Intro: Today, education is connected with employment. This attitude needs to be changed. In ancient times it was for the character building.
Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye, it is the age old dictum of ancient Indian education system. It was the system which used to construct the solid foundation of the moral society. Education was believed to be the medium to attain the highest sublimity which is considered to be the sole aim of human life on the earth. With the tool of education human beings were believed to attain the state of mukti, the ultimate destination which was expected after death. The state of mukti is the liberation from the stringent case of ignorance, pride, poverty, anger and greed. Education was regarded to be an instrument to fight against all these hindrances in the path of self realisation. India, Bharat was the abode to impart this kind of knowledge which leads towards wisdom. Great erudite rishies were well-versed with different branches of knowledge equivalent to independent universities. Not a single branch remained untouched by these great sages and their disciples. They achieved mastery over different spheres of life from internal and external identity. The ultimate aim was to achieve the state of oneness with the creative energy which Swami Vivekananda called as ‘Intelligent Creative Force’. Thus in ancient period Education was the medium to understand the real motto of the intelligent life of the man on the earth.
Ancient education pattern was based on physical, artistic, religious knowledge assisted with spiritual and moral teaching sharing equal significance. This education system was capable enough to make the students economically independent. The skill and interest of the students were shaped in such a way that the student could earn his livelihood with great pleasure and satisfaction. Education pattern was chiefly aimed at character building for the construction of a strong nation. Many examples can be seen in history where the progress of Bharat (as a nation) physically and spiritually across the world leaving the imprints of its potential. Unfortunately this saga of ancient Indian education pattern was disturbed by various Muslim invasions and European rule. New policies and strategies were implemented after the Independence of India that proposed to bring drastic changes in education system into effect. Various Commissions were formed to construct the strategies to shape the new generations with novel thoughts and ideas. The basic lacunas in all those patterns were that not a single commission ever thought to cherish the real and original essence of Indian culture as the most important aspect of the education system. The ancient Indian young generations were the ambassadors of the Indian culture fostering through the education system, was well-known in the world for its uniqueness. Contrary to this, the modern generation is unaware of its cultural exclusivity. The present education system sans real Indianness, hence it is deprived of the patriotic feeling.
No doubt that education is a process which needs changes according to the need of the situation but the compromises with the cultural values in education system seems to have shaken the foundation of the nation. The demand of the modern age is to respond to the technical and scientific mysteries for the industrial growth and material progress. Inclusion of the study of science in curricula is the urgent need of the hour. Unless this study is accompanied by spiritual values, humanism leads towards destruction. Hence though the modern education system focuses on industrial, scientific study, it should be shaped by spiritual nourishment. Otherwise only material progress will destroy humanism with highly practical and selfish attitude with luxury and effortless availability.
Edifice of social empowerment is shouldered by the education system of a particular nation. Physical and psychological toughness is the outcome of the educational pattern followed by the society. The educational pattern followed by India can be called as the outward decoration without the fundamental nourishment of regional assets. Basic aspect can be focused that the primary education is given not in mother-tongue which is considered to be the first language to most of the regional people in India. Hence at the initial stage the students are seen perplexed, caught in the sandwich of three languages imposing English as the first language and medium of instruction. With the language they gradually imbibe the culture which is an indispensable part of that language. No doubt the government schools follow the regional languages as a medium of instruction. Unfortunately these schools are sans advanced technology and trained faculty. Hence at the early stage the interest and curiosity regarding the national culture is not developed. In the middle stage of secondary education, the system should be student friendly. Contrary it is burdened with heavy school bags and mandatory passing and scoring percentage and marks. Talent and capacity are unfortunately attached to the assumption of success equal to percentage of marks. One side of the mountain of assumed success is with deep psychological weakness at the other side, resulting into the tragic end of the teenagers in the form of suicide. In this rat race of momentary success, the charm of excellence is seen missing. The condition of the students is just like dragging the uninteresting burden without any enjoyment or fun. Disinterest in studies results in failure in examination which is an essential part of the prevailing education pattern. Negativism and frustration on the part of the students decreases the confidence level and hinders their global competency. Thus under the burden of studies the child get crushed.
Prevailing education system does not encourage the artistic or athletic talent of children. Skill development programs are not the part of curricula. Skill development provides a platform to the economically marginalised children to earn while learn opportunities. It cultivates the natural talent of the child which is now compressed within the four walls of the classrooms and under the books of burdened subjects. With reference to higher education, the conditions are worse. Higher education is provided through various universities. No doubt that these universities undertake various courses with different disciplines but to transform these universities as educational hubs at international level is still a distant dream. Globalisation is much fertile to create job opportunities to the young generation but the sad fact is that most of Indian universities are the factories which produce the graduates lacking in quality and confidence. Another significant aspect is that this education system is controlled by political hand. Educational policies and system are enclosed with castism and reservations thus the curricula is deprived of real strength of the nation from cultural, geographical, geological or historical point of view. The graduates from Indian universities hardly know the cultural heritage in which they are born and brought up.
Swami Vivekananda had said, “Education is the manifestation of the perfection which is already there in Man.” According to him an education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle of life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion, is of no use. Real education is that which enables one to stand on one's own feet. Thus education is the great power to shape confidence, develop employability, and turn an individual into a devoted and courageous kind of a person.
It is also a medium to make the man to realise the real potential within him. Value education is the most essential part of the current education system. Patriotic feeling will be nurtured in the children only when they apprehend the rare cultural treasure they possess. Hence it is the need to make apt changes in the education pattern in India so that Indians will feel proud to be Indians. Above all, the education pattern of India should shape the citizens along with the humane touch.
Madhavi A Moharil (The writer is Nagpur based educationist & wrote this piece in response to education reforms proposed by Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal)