University system of education

Oscar Wilde’s famous quote, “The exquisite art of idleness, one of the most important things that any University can teach” could not have been more apt in the present system of education. In fact, the very usage of the word ‘education’ seems inappropriate! As is often heard, education at the University is mostly worked by the age-old method of putting a lot of young people in the vicinity of a lot of books and hoping that something would pass from one to the other. The course content is outdated, the methods of teaching, if at all there is any teaching going on, are old-fashioned and are thus not finding acceptance amongst students in this ever changing, competitive world.

Whosoever thought that moving from school to college would give one the right impetus to pursue one’s interests, research, do some really scholarly work would have had the shock of his/her life when faced with the bitter reality of university system of education. Delhi University follows a simple three step guide to success:

1. Attend all lectures. You might sit at the back and do your own work while the professor keeps on yapping, all that hardly matters for after that one lecture, you secure yourself marks for attendance! Who thought that just sitting in a lecture, not paying any attention could fetch you marks!! Could it have been made more convenient???

2. For your assignments, you usually end up getting questions which don’t require you to really exercise your mental faculties. For that would mean that the professor too will have to read your answer, understand it and that’s too much of an effort! If you happen to be in one of the infamous colleges of Delhi University you don’t even have to do that much. Just keep buttering the professor up and happy with your ‘dedication’ towards the subject (read: the professor), you get excellent marks which just up your percentage!!

3. For your examinations, mug up as much as you can. Eat sleep drink and drown yourself in your syllabi. That done, you are ready for your final test. Once in the examination hall, just vomit it all out. Don’t worry about coherence. Nobody worries about that. More the number of points, the better your answer.

Follow these golden rules and it will open all paths to a glorious and ‘rewarding’ career!!

Other Indian universities are no exception to this. More emphasis is laid on education from the examination point of view and less on developing thinking and intellectual minds. Participation in extra curricular activities is not encouraged. At times the professors are not available if help is needed in their subject. So if someone wants to pursue dramatics, he/she has to do it one his/her own accord and when that person decides to focus on studies, adequate infrastructure and facilities are not made available to them. Thus the student finds himself doubly trapped.

Our system of education needs a complete overhaul, a make-over. Everything from the course to the teaching styles, from the infrastructure to the extra curricular activities will have to change. Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the National Knowledge Commission recently made remarks to similar effect at an August gathering, underlining the redundancy in our education system. He deeply regretted the fact that professors spend 90% of their time preparing content when they should be spending that time teaching it. World class content prepared by Nobel laureates and the like is already available on the internet. The authorities will have to soon rise from their deep slumber and take notice. We don’t want to produce another batch of monitored and engineered individuals. We want people who are competent and fully capable of putting their education to use in their own lives and for the betterment of our society.

Ruma Kulshreshtha