State of the Indian Education System


“Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world”, this is an age long saying by Mr Nelson Mandela, which has withstood the test of time. Even in this modern world of hurry and worry, this statement hasn’t lost its relevance. We are familiar with the very essentials of life, and education is one of them, without any doubts. It is the sheer importance of education, which brings us to discuss upon the current educational scenario on a global level.

While many global economies have made a significant progress in achieving their educational agendas (keeping in mind the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in the said sector), India is yet to uncover it’s obscured potential for educational developments. It is essential to analyse what holds back India as a country to reach the educational goals and advancements. Despite of several initiatives taking place for the elevation of education, the question still arises upon the fact that WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE?

Education has been a matter of conflict and problem in our country since ages. What is even funnier is, that little has changed from the colonial period. Students are now routinely scoring 90% marks and still finding it difficult to get into the colleges of their choice, and we are actually doing the same old slovenly stuff. Rote learning still plagues our system widely, students study only to score marks in exams, and sometimes to crack the exams like IIT JEE, AIIMS, or CLAT. The colonial masters introduced education systems in India to create clerks and civil servants, and sadly, we haven’t been able to deviate much from that pattern till today.

We need to reward creativity, original thinking, research, and innovation (because in the end, a boss would probably prefer someone with ideas to take a company forward rather than a parrot, which nods at every beck and call right?). Also, we need to implement massive technology infrastructure for education (and for this to be possible, India MUST embrace the Internet and technology at a wide level), making ‘reservation’ irrelevant (and no, it’s not my personal inner “general” category grudge speaking, but on a national level, if we make education so universally available, the whole concept of reservation is going to be meaningless).

We need to redefine the sole purpose of education. We are not learning or educating ourselves to finally wake up today, where, we are going to grab our suitcase; rush to work; work 9-5, and get routinely paid so that we can “earn a living”. The current system needs to breathe, and give space for creation of entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, scientists, thinkers, and writers for a knowledge based economy rather than the low-quality service provider plastic nation that we are turning into.

Though there are many loopholes, but there is no denying the fact that there has been a significant progress as well (that being said, not out of modesty, but reports and data provided by the NSSO). People have actually started realising the tenor of education, and the numbers have been rising significantly. And the best part of such arising is, the voice is being heard. With the new ECCE policies being adopted by the nation, another milestone has been achieved.

And therefore, with the advent of a massive globalisation, India is emerging as a powerful economy, which is working hugely towards improving the education scenario, in the end, the question isn’t about who gets access to education, it is a necessity, which HAS to be provided, and in its most bare, and naked form, sans complications, sans adulteration. And it’s something that we all need to keep in mind. Education is NOT AN OPTION, it’s a NECESSITY.

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Final Exams vs Continuous Assessment


India, considered as one of the education hubs of the world, has one of the archaic education policy dating back to the colonial times. Over the years, no significant changes have been enacted in the policy to alter the approach in schools or colleges. Although, education is a key tool for development, however, the process has not seen any amendments over the years. Assessment in schools or colleges can be anything from a mere administrative impediment to a tense, future-determining practise for students, especially in India, where the education process lays a greater emphasis on the examination system.

Assessment is an important component of the education system, which ascertains whether the knowledge imparted has been grasped by the individual or not. However, a significant question which arises from the end of course assessment process (final exams) of India is – What is the real motive behind assessment? To compare the performance of various students or to facilitate their passing, or to assess their proficiency in a particular subject.

The irony, however, is that assessment has become too concentric around the academic activities. Rather than assessing the knowledge domain of the individuals, assessment at the end of course (read as final exams) is used to compare the performance of different individuals and ultimately ranking them according to the results. This not only promotes rot learning but also defeats the complete principle of teaching – “understanding of concepts”.

Purpose of Continuous Assessment

Many believe that the assessment model shouldn’t have to be postponed till the end of course/semester, instead tight, closed feedback/assessments can have two major advantages. One, teachers can make corrections to their teaching techniques in case of unsatisfactory results and two, students can rework on the weak areas before progressing; giving students a continuous stream of opportunities to prove their mastery. Further advantages of the continuous assessment model are:

Mastery of Concepts

The continuous model insures that, assessment is embedded in flow of learning. Currently our examination system is based on testing the seat time instead of the mastery of concepts, however, the continuous model ensures that the progress from one course to the other is based on mastery of concepts. Students who are weak in any particular course can correct their performance in due time before moving on to the higher concepts. The awareness of one’s performance and results insures that the student is aware about the results and can improve their weaker concepts.

Help for Teachers

One of the biggest challenges facing teachers today is the diversity of population in classrooms. Students come from different social, economic, and geographical backgrounds making the classrooms as diverse as they ever have been. Every student has their own weaknesses and strengths, some face difficulty in understanding the language, while others may feel uncomfortable in certain specific courses. This is where continuous assessment plays an important role of helping a teacher juggle easily between managing advanced and struggling students. Through continuous assessment, teachers can ensure that the class progresses as a whole without enforcing a sense of competition amongst the students.

Better management of content

The continuous assessment model ensures that the content creators can easily assess the data of efficacy of learning. It also helps the creators in assessing the learning pattern; consecutively comprehensive changes can be made to the teaching methodology which can further bring in positive changes. It assists teachers in effectively improving the skills by better implementation of resources through content management; for instance, teachers may be able to comprehensively ascertain the relationship between logical skill and language composition.

To conclude, the continuous model of assessment is a guidance oriented, formative, cumulative, and comprehensive form of assessment which is systemic and ensures equality in classroom. This model can effectively uncover interdisciplinary relationship between subjects and allow us to refine our understanding of the concept. This is in stark contrast to the final examination system which is more competition oriented.