Skip to main content

Education needs a revamp not reversal: Why subjects like banking and finance have been replaced by Gita and Vedas?

By Sadhan Mukherjee*
With the massive electoral victory of saffron forces in UP and UK, and the stitched up seat majority in Goa and Manipur, the intolerance level in our country is bound to increase. The arena of rational debate has already begun to shrink. Frank and open discussion is going to be more difficult.
One of the major fields of attack is our education system that had already become stereotypical, devoid of any original thinking. Rajasthan University is in the forefront where not only history is being sought to be re-written but foreign authors do not figure in the curricula any more. Now for master’s degree dissertations, subjects like banking and finance have been replaced by Gita and Vedas.
Any talk of freedom is being counterpoised against nationalism as was seen in JNU and Delhi University. Campuses that are areas for germination of new ideas and free thinking are being restricted imposing only one particular type of idea.
Though it is the fringe groups that are responsible for the situation, their number is growing. Where is the concept of “argumentative Indians” going?
Who is right or who is wrong cannot be the true measure of any frank discourse on freedom of expression. The limit of free speech remains undefined, legally and otherwise, even today. Opinions are bound to differ and a one-view platform is dangerous for democracy. Today, even sedition is being invoked to throttle differing voice, giving a go-bye to the Supreme Court decision on what constitutes sedition.
State minister for Home Kiren Rijiju’s has asked: As you can abuse even the PM today, what more azadi you want? Mr. Rijiju should understand that that azadi was not given to India by NDA II; it has been the bedrock of our democracy since long. It will be endangered if it is sought to be restricted and any attempt to restrict it can only stem from intolerance of other views.
There is another line of reasoning as well; that a student should only study, not dabble in politics. Too much politicking diverts students from their main focus on academics, it is argued. There are again two sides to this logic. All our political leaders minus the saffronites have been in national movement and freedom struggle from their student days. That did not thwart their later day flowering of talent in other fields. This also holds true of many political leaders of today cutting across party lines. It is also true at the same time that our students in their large majority have failed to excel in their academics. That may not be their own fault or due to student politics.
The fact is that after independence we simply continued the colonial education system inherited from the British. We are excellent copycats and that is what has deprived us of original thinking. We love to be no-changers and our general attitude is that of chalta hai.
Even the British themselves have changed with time but we have not. Look at even small countries of Europe that have changed their education systems to meet the contemporary needs. The Finnish education system is now deemed to be the best in the world. Why, because the teaching is quite commensurate with the need of the hour. Add to that the lack of resources and untrained teaching staff that permeate our education system, you get the general picture of the state of its health.
Apart from the paucity of teachers, those who undertake the job of teaching are mostly untrained. They come from the normal run of the mill educational institutions. The village primary schools are the first stepping stone where the education of the students begins. How many of these have trained teachers or teachers at all?
Students who pass out from these institutions have weak bases which in later years continue to remain so. Those who graduate from various higher educational platforms, especially in arts, learn some lessons by rote to pass exams but after passing find themselves unsuitable for any professional employment. They generally become file-pushers and users of official verbosity.
In a huge country like ours, how many Indians have won Nobel Prize? Only five, Rabindranath Tagore (1913), C V Raman (1930), Amartya Sen (1998), Kailash Satyarthi (2014), and Mother Teresa (1979) who became an Indian citizen. While Tagore got his Nobel for literature, Raman and Sen got the same for their achievements in Physics and Economics respectively. Satyarthi is a joint winner with Pakistani education activist Malala Yusufzai. Satyarthi got the Nobel for his work in education and child rights.
Not a single person born and educated in Independent India has won this honour though several Indians educated abroad and becoming citizens of other countries have won this coveted prize.
What does it speak of our education system? That it does not help growth and independent thinking. Quite obviously their latent talent is not nurtured on a fertile ground here to flower which later blossoms elsewhere. Shall we try to improve that nurturing process forgetting the bid to impose restrictive measures? Shall we try help them with open thinking and make them forget learning by rote?
---
*Veteran journalist

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

J&K Governor's rule: BJP's "failure" to go ahead with 44-plus strategy

By Syed Mujtaba Hussian*
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continues to witness cataclysm of events ever since the killing of editor-in-chief of “Rising Kashmir”, Shujaat Bukhari, followed by the BJP’s deliberated parting of ways with its coalition partner, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and imposition of Governor rule.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.