The quality of the Indian education system is evidently deteriorating. From being the holistic development of an individual, education now is just seen as the trump-card to earn lots of money. Most of the parents and some students see the entry into the IITs or other top engineering and medical schools as the only measure of worth and knowledge. This leads to the students pouring into various coaching centers in the country with the dream of getting into a prestigious institution. But the parents and students oversee the psychological as well as physical costs involved. The coaching hubs in turn see this as an opportunity to make money and also enforce ruthless conditions on the students. The students gradually lose interest in not just the subjects they study but even in life.
Taking life-deciding career decisions tends to scare any 15-year-old and so, most of us let our parents decide for us. While some parents attempt to analyse our skills and interests, most of them only consider the future financial and societal well-being of their wards. “A good package” at the end of the course has become the only factor that makes it appealing to the society. Society lives in the delusion that the popular brand tags alone can get reputation for the students. Things like the “IITian” tag gives a sense of pride to not just to the person but also to all his acquaintances. Some parents on the other hand, want their kid to become the achiever that they couldn’t become. Some students too, accept the decisions in prospect of making their parents proud and eventually enter the race towards money and reputation.
The perilous pathway:
Two types of students enter the doors of the coaching centers – ones with big dreams /aspiration and the ones with parental pressure. For a few bright students of the former category, these coaching centers may prove to be great facilitators. But to most of them, these hubs can be a nightmare where they can lose their interests. The monotonous study schedules with no other activity than cramming up the syllabus turn them into mere machines with no creativity. The mental exhaustion pushes them into depression and eventually leads them to give up all hopes. After enduring years of sheer mental exhaustion, even if they get into their dream institutes, they’re unable to perform there which again leads to depression. According to a – reports, 63undergraduate students dropped out of the IITs in the 2016-17 academic year. Sometimes the depression takes a huge toll on a person’s health or even implants suicidal tendencies.
Kota district of Rajasthan, known as the coaching hub for hyper-competitive examinations, is also becoming popular as the “death-trap” of young students. Police records say that between 2013 and May 2017, 58 student suicides were reported at coaching centres in the district. The vicious study schedule, erratic living conditions and segregation based on academic performance are considered to be the major important reasons. With the no-refund policy of the coaching centers as well as the hostels, the stakes are higher for students from middle-class families. These factors lead to insecurity, fear of failure, low self-esteem, physical and mental exhaustion in the students. Students hence try to find solace by harmful means such as drug abuse, sexual experimentations and self-harm. Around 1.5 lakhs of students flock to the coaching hub every year while not more that 40% percentage of them clear the examinations.
Though kota highlights the gravity of the effects of today’s perception of education, there are thousands of such cram schools throughout the country that are curtailing creativity and innovation in young minds.
The betterment of the Indian education system is possible only with the change in perception of education. Liberal education is the need of the hour. While liberal education is coming in India at higher education level, this needs to be implemented from the schooling level itself. People need to prioritise their skills and interests over their societal consciousness. We need to realise that education is the process of acquiring knowledge and that, money and reputation are the by-products.