“Ignorance is bliss”.
While we sit, and engage in an intellectually enriched and stimulating discussion, more than half the country our age is walking back to brick kilns, roadside tea stalls and daily-wage jobs. Peers in age, but worlds apart in awareness.
You might choose to argue on how India is catching up fast with the US in terms of literacy rate. True. India’s literacy rate currently stands at 74% against US’s 86%. But, that my friend, is just one side of the coin. Let’s look at the flip-side.
An alarming fact most of us are completely unaware about is, only 8.15% of Indians are graduates. Shocked already? There’s more! While 93% of the current Indian youth make it to primary school, only 69% make it to secondary, and a meager 25% to the post-secondary education. Which further dips to an inconspicuous 8.15% when it comes to graduates!
Incidentally, three-fourths of the population who drop out between primary school and graduation are forced into labor owing to financial constraints. Clearly, a lot of talent gone waste, unnoticed.
When the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi introduced the “Make in India” campaign, it was met with mixed reviews. But, it’s a vision that could re-define India as a nation. And, if the vision of his is to be realised, or even if India is to make it beyond the tag of a third-world country, education has a huge role to play. Pivot, to be more specific.
As a 16-year-old, I rebelled against my parents in voicing my opinion for taking up Arts, because I felt it was my natural calling. The results didn’t go in my favor. I still had to take up Science anyway. Honestly, looking back at the decision, I smile at myself. Who knows what would have happened, had I actually taken up Arts. But honestly, taking up Science worked for me. It was my idiosyncrasy that had triggered an inertia within, to take up Science. And, that’s the case with most of us.
More than the education system, it’s our adaptability at stake.
Let’s admit it. We are terrible at implementing what is being taught in real-life. Education isn’t just about being a geeky nerd or a bookworm. But, evolving real-time. We have to accept the very simple fact that, education is a guide, and not a spoon-fed tonic. And, that’s exactly where we have been faltering for ages. The very way we define is education is faltered. Ironically, that’s not something that we have been taught. It’s simply the way we are wired. For most of us, education is all about scoring marks. We barely read to understand the underlying concepts. This very mentality has to change.
“People get the Government they deserve.”
The same applies for education. An opportunity wasted eventually starts looking like a burden. And, that’s what is exactly the state of education in India currently.
There is a clear difference between an educated person and an academically sound person.
Let’s not forget, we are talking about education. it’s a concept; much more than just a dozen text books. So, if we are looking at it as a burden, that’s because we have narrowed down our vision, quite much like a racehorse. Education isn’t a linear concept. It’s a multifaceted concept that needs comprehensive understanding. And till the day, we stick to our idiosyncrasies, we’ll never know the difference.
Indian talent has never been under the scanner. Pundits from across the world unanimously agree to the potential of Indian talent. What is alarming, on the contrary, is, the amount of talent that remains unrealized. And, not because education in India is a burden. But, because not enough talent has access to the education they need, to make it count. If anything needs to change in the Indian education system, it’s the awareness. The accessibility. Till the day you are unaware of the concept of education, you’ll never know its importance, let alone realizing, whether education is an opportunity or a burden.
With a number of initiatives being implemented by the Government, it’s definitely a glaring opportunity. An opportunity that could unleash a whole new era in the history of India.
Maybe 20 years from now, we could have this discussion again.
For, what does a blind man know about colors?