Schooling In Indian Education System: Then & Now

by | Dec 4, 2018

This world is a school, every living being is a teacher, situations in our lives are chapters and we are a student.

This is a never-ending process. Knowledge has never been constricted to certain areas or communities. Over time, humans have evolved socially and brought remarkable interventions in the society.

In the ancient period, we used to have Gurukuls for education where people with a desire to learn, chose their master or Guru. The students used to help their Guru in all the everyday activities including household work. They would stay with their master and learn what they want. When a master would feel that his student has gained enough knowledge, the student would go back to his home.

I used to think that caste doesn’t play any role in education but it has largely been a major aspect. In those times, education was a luxury available only for two major castes – Brahmins and Kshatriyas. The Brahmins used to learn all the Vedas and other religious rituals at Gurukul while Kshatriyas would focus on being better fighters and governors. Shudras worked as laborers, and were not eligible to be educated in a prestigious institution like Gurukul.

Such practices continued for a long period of time, even when India was under British rule but after we became republic and constitution was introduced, a lot of changes occurred where every Indian citizen had a right to formal education. Everyone was allowed in schools but now, the school education became a massive business. People started to teach just for making money. When the profession was limited to a few people, it was pure and spiritual but now it started getting diluted.

It’s said that India has a great examination system but not a good education system. If we spend an equivalent of the amount of money we spend on conducting exams, on improving the quality and availability of education, it would make a lot of difference.

In recent years though, the internet has revolutionized the way we educate ourselves. Distance learning, online courses and mobile apps are some of the resources which help in gaining knowledge even to those who may not be able to afford formal education. Ivan Illich, the socialist and also the author of the book, ‘De-schooling Society‘, inspired many people to educate themselves instead of going to the schools. He did not want those institutions to shut down but wanted people to think of their own ability to understand and learn by themselves.

Mark Twain, the famous writer, on being asked the secret of his success, said that schooling has never interfered in his education. The former restricts one by regulating the freedom to explore and rather imposing the thoughts of teachers on students. Our current education system is focusing less on the conceptual understanding but more on rote learning and memorizing information.

Earlier, people had to memorize because the resources for getting information were less. There were either other people or books written by them, which were accessible only to the privileged. Getting into a school and finding an educated person was a big deal. There was no other option for the students but to remember things. Times have changed now, even more so with technological advancements.

We need to work on Constructive Learning instead of imposed teaching, More than exams, we should focus on the values in children. A few elements can be picked from the purpose of education in American Democracy such as self-realization, human relationships, economic efficiency and civic responsibility. If our system emphasizes on practical and constructive learning, children’s perspectives may change, and they may even become more open to learn new things.

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  1. shashidhar sa

    nice one,would love to hear you thoughts on how would you implement if you were the designer of system that provides education in coming articles….

  2. shashidhar sa

    nice one,would love to hear you thoughts on how would you implement if you were the designer of system that provides education in coming articles….

  3. Sriram Valluri

    Sure I’ll try to put it down.

  4. Sriram Valluri

    Sure I’ll try to put it down.


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