Basic Education - Keeping Pace with Changing Times

April 16, 2020

Approximately 5 decades back having a basic degree level qualification in any stream was a big achievement. Engineers and doctors were very rare and well respected. Three decades back there was an explosion in the field of communication and information technology. Economic reforms took place. Entire scenario in terms of social educational professional and geographical have changed in a short duration of time.

Under these sudden and massive changes many of us were left clueless about the basic necessary changes needed in the educational sector. End result, we encountered challenges in the very beginning of the professional career.

I feel there is a need to shift the focus. The need of the hour is to have basic knowledge in science “irrespective of career selection later on”. 11TH and 12th should be dedicated to science stream.1st year degree onward we may shift focus (Arts & Commerce). It is because looking at the trend basic science knowledge could be an absolute necessity to understand and participate in fast changing life scenarios. A few, only those having concern about clearing the subjects even with minimum grades may opt for Arts. But vast majority should opt for science. I feel only very few should select commerce (only those aiming for CA/ICWA/CS). Having said this even those aiming for professional life in commerce , it is better they study science in 11th and 12th full time, studying commerce related subjects part time parallaly (It is difficult to study science subjects part time). The study of science stream provides higher levels of logical abilities compared to other two streams. If we need to walk an extra mile if it benefits our studies and future we should walk.

Study of science changes the mental abilities to a great extent. We need to change the wrong perception that students opting for engineering / medical should only study science and science being basic studies, professional commerce subjects cannot be learned. This is a myth. A basic graduation in science can provide much more career choices than the Arts and commerce. Study of science increases our rational abilities to a great extent which other two basic streams fail to do.

Most of the office category jobs will be automatically disintegrated in the coming years. We already can witness the number of office people working in sectors like bank has drastically reduced just by the introduction of computer. Online banking, use of ATM has drastically reduced customers direct present for banking needs. What’s up, emails have destroyed postal service. Mobiles have killed many industries. Landline is dead. We need to stop blindly joining commerce and Arts studies. Have a survey on this and understand the need of the hour. Even Dealers / Traders / Distributors are encountering serious threat to their existence due to online trading. Everything comes at door step in minutes including food.

A day may arrive really soon where the reading glasses (specs) we use, may be designed to read our thoughts in the brain!

The other view is that in the wake of current developments may be an engineering degree is a basic necessity like it was for Three year degree courses before the information technology boom. In such scenario we should ready to accept the ‘status of engineering studies’ .Scope and range of engineering studies need to be increased adding more and more specific topics. Many underrated engineering streams like instrumentation, production, environmental, chemical engineering etc should be considered more actively.

Subjects having smaller range should be expanded into fully grown engineering courses to have wider range for selection. This may prevent students opting for traditional engineering courses like mechanical, computer science etc and choking later.

Students and parents should consider the study of arts over commerce. Field of psychology is needed to be explored considering the fact that would be social scenario warrants more psychologists/counselors. Depression will be a huge challenge along with drastic increase in suicide cases in the coming decades. Study of psychology should be made compulsory at high school level. A doctorate qualification in psychology after basic graduation can make wonders in terms of career stability. I believe scope for going for doctorate qualifications in science and arts subjects after basic graduation much more compared to commerce subjects. Many persons desire to suffix “Dr” in front of their names will be fulfilled this way giving a healthy career and social recognition.

Many of us talk about selecting our passion for studies. At the age of 16 the level maturity and awareness a student has is questionable to select their entire future. More importantly how to decide what passion they have is not an easy task. A few professionals use questionnaires to identify the talent are not a useful and trustworthy procedure. Many of us find our passion on the way of life’s journey. Clearly, 16 year of age is not an age to decide on future. It is also important to note that the passion we talk about may be oversupplied already and a making a career out of it may be a very difficult challenge and could be a waste process. Lot of research and would be possibilities of career must be done before “selecting and serving our passion”. We can witnes many disasters going after passion and struck.

In this situation a generalized stream of education which provides a platform to spread activities matching all type of would be scenarios could be an ideal selection. Science stream can provide that sprint pit leading to victory stands.

Many of us blindly study subjects those are irrelevant other than Indian conditions and want to migrate. Parents/students should have a clear picture of future goals like plans for migration to Europe / US/Canada and design their basic education matching the demands of such counties. Like studying French language could be useful if we are planning to immigrate Canada. A constant watch on political scenario of would be host country must be kept in watch.

Another important aspect is to have half day school timings which are almost absent other than metro cities. As a result half days creative activities are being wasted. Whatever valid reasons schools/parents have specially working couples, no one thinks about the harm it is having on children’s overall growth. Just imagine present day students are immersed in studies 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, much more than an adult work professionally! This is the reason why our children are falling prey to emotional vacuum leading them to be aggressive and deviated. When I was finishing this article I read in daily local news paper that a ‘12 year old student and an IIT student’ committed suicide! Students have good memories in their pen drive, knowledge in their cell phone (Google), intelligence in their memory power and bad memories in mind. We need to change the location, half the problem we face will be eliminated automatically.

The time has come for children to understand the trouble parents take them to educate. Make them to earn their pocket money like in western countries. This also led to understand the value of money and efforts, which in tern raises the responsible behaviors and focus on studies. Increase in responsibility increases discipline also. Children should understand the sacrifices behind the luxury they enjoy. Short time job opportunities (during vacation) are plenty and easily available in many forms now.

At least one month every year during school vacation, every student should work. The insights gained in working like this help immensely when they enter the actual job market after the completion of the education.

Authorities in educational sector need to understand the need and necessity of half day school timings. We need to do this for the betterment of student community. Increase physical activities and sense of responsibility to prevent life falling and failing at early stages.

The other option at school those want full day school is to dedicate most of the second half session after lunch, at least two hours exclusively for various sporting activities instead of 45 minutes in between which serves no purpose. Let us think and act differently to get different results than the current trend. Once students reach home after playing, they will be fully charged to get into home work. The biggest evil children facing is total collapse in physical activities. Prevent this.

Finally the quality of teaching staff. I regularly meet a few at various locations across few countries. Vast majority of them are stagnant with what they studied before joining as teachers, just read out and explain from the text book even now. Beyond that the qualities of teaching is utterly absent in teaching staff. Students are told to do their practical from the sites available in Google. Copy and paste.

Unfortunately many schools call this as student’s creativity. Parents are either not capable to understand this or they don’t bother! Every year same topic is given for particular class students for practical!

Absolutely no efforts to increase power of reasoning which should have been the main aim for sending children to school. Education is to train the brain to think logically. But the actual reality is different.

“Memory power has been recognized wrongly as intelligence”. This is the reason why only one or two students stand out differently because their parent’s involvement is a major contributor in the success and performance.

The first surgery needed in educational sector is to increase the quality of teaching staff and keep them creative, upgraded all the time. At least an hour or two every week should be dedicated for this by every school management .This may sound bitter for some people but is the reality. Their job has massive responsibilities.

The process of “Open House” should be applied to everyone, every level of studies including elite studies. At junior level, there should be at least four such meetings in a year at school compulsorily. It is also important to take this process to students home. Class teacher along with a staff or two should visit every student’s home under him/her ‘without prior notice’ to understand the actual environment at students home. This will help to understand overall situation of the student, enhance performance and prevent deviations. It is the environment at home that makes all the difference for a student. There was a time when poverty destroyed many careers which has been replaced by luxury, addictions, separations etc.

Let me end this article with a quote from the genius Albert Einstein; “education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school”. Under the current system what remains with us we are witnessing around us; depressed, jobless and clueless youth. Don’t think that the unemployment and hopeless situation is due to government policy alone. It has everything to do with our blind academic selection, status mindset and preventing ourselves from going an extra mile when needed. We need to change.



By Vincent D’Sa
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Comment on this article

  • Melvin, Dubai

    Mon, Apr 20 2020

    Good article. we have large population and brilliant minds. Hardly any inventors . All because of our lackluster academic process.

  • Ajay Lobo, Mangalore

    Mon, Apr 20 2020

    Very nice article. Very informative. Your son Ronak is very lucky to have you as his father for guidance. God Bless..

  • Steven, Muscat

    Sun, Apr 19 2020

    Nice article. Students opting for commerce should wake up in time.

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Fri, Apr 17 2020

    A thought-provoking article. Thank you.

    Education is many things to many people. For some it is just business.

    Agree, many people love to prefix their names with the title of "Dr". But people in the society have a right to know: Is the person an MBBS Dr, a herbs-and-spices Ayush Dr, an MD Dr, a history (Phd) Dr, a Yakshagana (culture Phd) Dr, or an honorary Dr for excelling in stand-up comedy?

    Unfortunately, however, we have all such "Drs" write articles on science/medical subjects (like Coronavirus) - WITHOUT declaring first what they are a "Dr" of. This to me is plain dreadful, as it can amount to misleading the gullible public.

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