Has Bologna acquired Nalanda over time?

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By Mimansa Verma

For a hundred of years, India has been painted as a primal epitome of esteemed education and individual development. From the renowned Gurukul in ancient times to an entirely different age of IITs and IIMs, there has been a complete drastic change in the face of Indian Education System. Foreign students find education in India cheaper and to the mark, but they are well-known of the gospel truth that we lack empirical approach. It is all inter-related; poverty leads to an increase in headcount, which results in fierce competition. And for this, should we say, government is unable to create lucrative opportunities as compared to people seeking jobs, in accordance to their knowledge and potency.

With the advancement in education and lifestyle of Indian population, people have become career-oriented, which is good, but they are blindfolded when it comes to an individual’s capabilities, perceptions, interests and ambitions.  Everyone is aware of the fact that criteria to judge abilities should be the same, but do they really ponder on the fact that the criteria on which they make their judgments is pragmatic for each individual. Most of the parents want their children to follow the beaten path, why? Because it is safer and tried. People do not want to take any risk when it comes to career. Students, normally have a thought process which says, education abroad has more exposure to real life situations and they know they can work on nuts and bolts there. Today there is 256 percent increase in the number of students studying abroad.

What the west is doing is the same as we Indians used to do 200 years ago in Gurukul. In Gurukul, anyone who wished to study went to a Guru’s house and stayed with him as long as he wished or the guru felt that he had taught everything he could teach. At that time students learnt whatever they wanted to learn, from Sanskrit to Holy Scriptures and from Mathematics to Metaphysics. This not only taught the basic knowledge about subject and life but also created a strong bond between student and teacher. Today’s education system lacks these fundamental qualities which once, were run of the mill in our homeland.

The basic thing that differentiates the two education systems is the skill acquiring approach in West and the knowledge acquiring approach in India. No doubt students in India routinely score higher marks in Mathematics and Science along with China. But the basic query is that, do they study just to score marks and to crack exams like IIT-JEE, AIIMS or CAT? India has experienced the low literacy rates too, which entered here due to poverty, lack of awareness, political ignorance, corruption and other social parasites. In the past ten years, India has remarkably improved its educational level.

After the exercise of Right to Education Act, India has improved both the primary education attendance rate as well as the overall literacy rate. It is often cited that Indian Education System is the main contributor to the economic rise in India. As per Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012, 96.5 percent of all rural children between the ages of 6-14 were enrolled in school. But despite all these going forward, India will need to focus more on quality. How many educational institutes in India guarantee 100% placement? How can a student be the best CEO and best manager and best engineer without going through practical atmosphere where he apply his theoretical knowledge? People thrust more on gathering degrees rather than gathering skills.

It is not that India lacks talent and the world knows it. The CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt announced that Indian entrepreneurs have the ability to build the next Google if India “plays its cards right”. India needs to revisit its ways to promote education.  Creativity, original thinking, research and innovation should all be cultivated and encouraged from a young age. The mentality of high scores should be removed first and this is not duty of the government or the educational institutions only but the parents, society and students as well. All we need is a makeover of Indian education policies and a re-ignition of hope that is almost vanished in the youth.

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