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In A Nutshell

By SuryaTej Borra

    We produce 10 times more engineers than what USA produces. But US makes engineers who are 100 times more technically skilled than us, why? The answer is very simple. India is home to a redundant and marginalized educational system.

Mr.K.M.Murthy, our neighbor has graduated with a degree in Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering in 1978. I would be graduating with the same degree in 2013. Surprisingly both our curriculums are the same. We both followed the same textbook for Heat Transfer and use the same Method of Moments while solving a Bending Moment Problem. We are taught how to make gears on milling machines when the modern day industries use CNC Machines to make them . Surprisingly an undergraduate Mechanical course does not have a mention about CNC techniques whereas it is the core of the modern day engineering methods. Engineering is an applied science which is taking a new dimension every day. So it is a fundamental responsibility of the education system to give the student knowledge and exposure to the latest trends and technologies and make them technically competent. This is not just the case with engineering but with almost every stream of science or arts.
Let us look at another dimension of our system. In a recent survey conducted by a famous media house, 64% of secondary school students have expressed their interest to take up a career in engineering while about 26 percent wanted to take up medicine. Here comes up a strange yet a suicidal problem. Students’ talent is not nurtured and they are not encouraged to take up careers as per their own interests. Everyone wants their son/daughter to do a bachelor’s degree from IIT and proceed to US to do a MS from the top 10 universities or do an MBA from IIM and collect a fat pay and become stinking rich. When asked the reason for this ambition they say their child would not be able to live happily if he/she will not be a follow this so called “plan”. They force their kids to do it to further their social status. Parents brainwash their kids by providing “facts” which range from banks not issuing credit cards to inability in getting married or buying a car, thereby forcing them into a hellish competition. The most irritating part here is that everyone wants to get into one of the IITs with a top rank. Recent statistics state that the coaching institute business industry accounts to around 2000 crores in this country.
Why are these baseless benchmarks set in this society? They only make a mockery out of the lives of tomorrow’s citizens.  A recent American university study concluded that the process of learning can be made effective by means of sensory education. Unfortunately in our country it is only through the one organ – brain. More the mugging ability, more the marks. In that case the latest 1TB Sony Laptop should be given the topper medal at all University Convocations because it can memorize the most. 
A very famous school entrance test for admission to LKG requires the tiny tots to write alphabets and numbers. But that is what they are supposed to learn in LKG! Young kids who are not able to even say their name properly are made to memorize alphabets and numbers so that they can secure a seat there. My strong gut feeling was that they were planning to teach English Wren and Martin Exercises in primary school itself. What is the point of memorizing Newton’s laws of motion when you do not know how to apply them? But the person who can memorize that and reproduce it in the examination is given good grades and hence lands in a good job. The irony is that he has to apply Newton’s laws in his job which he is incapable of. A majority of the Indian Industry works like this which is the reason for our stunted technical growth.
The list of problems is never ending. But there has to be a solution. This has to change because quality education is the key to a nation’s growth. My solution to this would be backing the education system by a strong political, academic and bureaucratic framework which would greatly improve the quality of the education system. There should be a constant revamping the system to meet the ever changing needs of the world. A strengthened platform should be laid which encourages students to pursue careers as per their interests. A strong sense of spirit should be installed among students to make education a pursuit for knowledge and a journey for excellence and not a rat race for grades and ranks. There should be effective changes in examination system which would push students to learn stuff rather than memorizing it. And most importantly we need dynamic and visionary leadership at the top which can effectively implement these changes for a better tomorrow.


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