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A class 10 student writes: India’s education system is failing my generation

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Education system in India has always been regarded as the best system. To promote the progress of our nation, it is crucial to instill a sense of daring in the younger generations. While we possess the intellect, we often lack the audacity to take risks.

Every day, I find myself in a classroom surrounded by 45 individuals. Together, we navigate the journey of learning, maturing, and preparing for our eventual transition to college. In this race, where many are vying for success, a common fear grips us all. We ask ourselves, “What if I fall behind?”

Why does this fear persist against the education system ?

The overemphasis on exams and assessments, with grades often overshadowing true learning, has relegated genuine education to a secondary role. In many subjects, teachers encourage students to engage in “rote learning,” simply memorizing information to increase their chances of scoring well on exams. Consequently, generations of students have acquired and discarded knowledge without truly understanding it.

One of the primary objectives of the National Education Policy of 2020 was to prioritize conceptual understanding over rote learning and exam-centric education. However, this shift has yet to materialize. While the pandemic disrupted our lives, I have observed little attempt to redirect the focus away from rote learning. Indian students lack the necessary tools for developing cognitive skills. This flawed system hampers their critical thinking abilities and inhibits the formation of independent opinions.

Indian students are conditioned to fear failure. We are taught to treat our minds like hard drives, storing information only to regurgitate it onto exam papers, akin to searching for data on a computer. Academic failure is perceived as a severe mistake, a dead-end.

This perplexes me. How can a system that assesses students solely based on one metric—memory—accurately measure their intelligence? This perception of failure creates an inseparable link between grades and self-worth. If academic performance becomes the sole source of validation, something is amiss. This one-size-fits-all system fails to cater to the diverse needs of our 1.8 billion population.

I understand the reasons behind this approach. According to UNICEF, there are over 1.5 million schools in India, with approximately 8.5 million teachers and 250 million students. In such a vast population, competition becomes the sole means of differentiating deserving candidates for college admissions. I acknowledge this reality. Competition will always exist, but we need to destigmatize the idea of “losing.” Not everyone excels in a traditional school environment, and grades do not determine one’s prospects for a fulfilling life.

Some may argue, “But many individuals who have suffered under the Indian education system have achieved great success. Some of the world’s most accomplished personalities hail from India.” While this is true, I believe they serve as prime examples of the problem at hand. India has indeed produced CEOs for global giants like Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Mastercard, Starbucks, and countless others. I do not diminish their accomplishments; they are undeniably remarkable. However, the Indian education system’s neglect of social communication skills and leadership qualities has resulted in a generation of CEOs but a scarcity of founders, creators, and innovators.

To foster the development of our nation, we must teach the upcoming generations to embrace risk-taking and shed their fear of failure. Our intellectual capabilities are evident, but we lack the boldness to act. If students find themselves questioning the purpose of attending school, something is amiss. We should pursue education for the sake of knowledge itself, allowing learning to transcend the confines of the grading system.

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