Sunday, March 7, 2010

Education for all

As long as learning is connected with earning, as long as certain jobs can only be reached through exams, so long must we take this examination system seriously. If another ladder to employment was contrived, much so-called education would disappear, and no one would be a penny the stupider. 
- E. M. Forster 

This is quote given by Edward Morgan Forster (1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970),  he was an English novelist, short story writer and essayist. 

  The quote obviously meant that by learning a person can connect to earning, but it seems a century after this quote was given the meaning has changed entirely. What it means now? Isn't that the question that arises in your mind? Of late I just love keeping suspenses, so wait for two minutes( that i hope is the time you take to read this blog, not doubting your reading skills!).

        Lets go back into time to year 2005, month July. I had blown up on common entrance test big time, before the CET, Dad warned me to work for engineering and i ended up preparing for medical, result, Medical CET- Good but not good enough for admission, Engineering CET-Bad, but still good enough for me to get an admission. So here i was, standing in a newly built college, standing in a hope of getting admission at least here!. Forms filled, armed with a folder full of certificates and mark sheets I waited. And bingo, I got a call on by the clerk to meet the principal of the college, Excited i went in.....

  "Sit down son" , principal said in a soft spoken voice.
  "Thank you, these are my mark sheets sir" ,i said, as politely as possible for me.
 "As I see it, your marks are not too great......
  "yeah i prepared for medical sir", i cut in before he could complete
  "That shouldn't matter to me,because this is an engineering college" he said in a little stern voice
  "Thats true" i said nodding in agreement
  "The marks you have secured, are not enough to fetch you admission in this college" he said
  "oh, My PCM marks are good sir, that can be considered, please" i said in a pleading tone
  "Thats true, I can consider you , but along with PCM marks you have to make certain contributions" he said
  "I am not sure if i get you" i said with a quizzical look on my face
   "The college is newly built and needs contribution from its students to develop further, and hence your help is neeeded" he said in a soft reassuring voice

             I headed back home and wondered if he indeed was the principal or the marketing department head for the college. I didn't take admission in that college anyway. And this brings us to the biggest known unsaid thing in this country about the education system, the donation.

            We always take it for granted as part of our education system, but never really bother to know what are the reasons for it and what can be the consequences. The professional education is going for a toss in our country. India is an assembly factory for engineers yet the number of colleges are not sufficient. Every year country puts out around 3 lac+ engineering students, but is this number enough in country of more than 1 billion? and out of this 3 lac figure, how many are from quality colleges? very few!. So lets see it from a student's point of view. If a student is only little about average, he can forget about his dreams for a technical degree, If he is fairly good, he can think of some nondescript college, and only if he is very good, that he can think of good colleges. And not to mention that only geniuses can get into IIT. Their is one more way around, he can have any quality of brain but his dad's pocket must be full of money, the money can always compensate for the lack of brain. In all this, it would be foolish of me to even start writing about medical education. One has to be a genius or a millionaire to study medicine. This great country of India doesn't need doctors. We all believe in god and he is the true healer, isn't it Mr. Education minister?

         Why does this happen? Why is IIT reserved for geniuses, why cant we have IIT like quality education for non-geniuses? Why is there only one AIIMS with just 50 seats in a country of 1 billion people. If at all the budget for education was even 10% of the defense budget, we would have had 5 IIT's in every city. In the good 'ol  British times, it was said that technical and professional education is only for the elite, however Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru said, In a free India education is for all. However it looks like as times pass, governments are getting Nostalgic about the old British times. Otherwise how would you explain the 5-10 times jump in the fees for engineering and medical college in last 7 years? The organisation controlling the fee structure is appointed by the government.

        Questions are many answers are none. Better we start asking them, otherwise my and your children would not be even able to think of a technical education. But before i sign off, i will answer one question, i am sure you don't remember the question, i remember my promise to explain the current context of the quote,

"as long as learning is connected to earning "by colleges",as long as certain jobs can only be reached through exams"given in colleges".so long must we take this examination system seriously. If another ladder to employment was contrived, much so-called education "in colleges" would disappear, and "colleges" would be a penny the stupider." 



Ayushi said...

It is extremly good!
u have revealed a bitter reality through ur post...well done!

Arpz said...

undoubtedly i accept this bitter truth of Free India!

Amrita~Ams said...

hey..ssly..this is sumthing to be focused on ..nice read...

SWATHI said...

Dis makes an excellent read.....sumthing dat is bound to accept yet fade away from it!!!!

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