Changing Paradigms of Education

Dr. S. S. VERMA; Department of Physics, S.L.I.E.T., Longowal; Distt.-Sangrur (Punjab)-148 106

2023-11-15 09:59:22

Education in wilderness (Greater Kashmir)

Education in wilderness (Greater Kashmir)

Education is considered one of the most effective, simple and universal tool of human (civilization) change from time immortals.  Just few decades back, education was totally government sponsored and was considered as an essential commodity for masses and it has also come up to the expectations of people. Various policies and amendments (like NEP-2020) have been an integral part of education sector from time to time in order to make it more realistic with need and time. With change in time, education has always been a vehicle of change itself, changing from class room education to practical oriented, vocational and now skill-based education.

Education sector which was totally dominated by government sponsored infrastructure has seen a big paradigm change towards private education providers.  Big, medium and small private education providers at present totally dominate this sector. It is really very surprising that the so called highly qualified, well experienced, appointed through all means of strict evaluation of recruitment procedures, the education providers in government sector are losing their shine with time and enrolment of students is decreasing very fast. The continuous low strength of enrolment in government run schools, colleges and higher education institutes/universities are assigned to various hypothetical reasons like young generation is not interested in education, going abroad etc. but on the other hand, enrolment in privately run schools, colleges and higher education institutes/universities is always on the rise. 

There are a number of private school organizations like Delhi Public School (DPS), Vasant Valley, Scared Heart etc. and institutes/universities like Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), SMS University, Amrita University, Bennett University (just few to mention here) which have maintained their reputation and are still growing very fast. Here, I would like to mentioned few cases with respect to Punjab in particular where the situation of enrolments in government run educational sector is really worrisome where as the enrolments in private sector are always on the rise. Private schools in general are always overflowing with admissions whereas government schools are at the verge of closure due to low strength of students. In case of professional education, few institutes/universities to mention like Lovely Professional University (LPU) Jallandhar, Chandigarh University (CU), Chandigarh, Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, Chitkara University and many more like these are catering to a large number of students. It is said that LPU and CU are having enrolment of more than about 50,000 students in each. In case of B.Tech., LPU and CU have about 8000 students each in B.Tech. first year and out of these about 4500 in computer discipline only.  Thapar institute even charging about 25lakhs for a B.Tech. degree has also about 4000 students in B.Tech. first year out of which about 2500 students in computer discipline only.  The scenario in government run institutes/universities is just opposite. In spite of low education fees, good infrastructure & environment, good facilities, competent faculty, total autonomy, transparent system, the enrolment in courses like M.Tech., M.Sc., Ph.D. courses in many disciplines is minimum and some of them are at the verge of closure. Even in case of B.Tech. and diploma courses, 50% seats are lying vacant and this situation is not very different to highly reputed educational institutes like IITs, NITs, IIITs etc.

When the founder of Infosys Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, hinted that the working hours should be increased to 70 per week, there was a strong criticism from all private and government organizations. Private sector may be right in opposing the idea as they say to be already working for long hours during present five-day week and think that it will be more stressful to work for 70 hours in a week. In government run system, the scene is different, people are not working even for 2-3 hours per day sincerely. The situation in education sector is worst where there is no accountability about the learning of a student and its outcome. With growing autonomy in education sector, most of the teachers are just helping the students to pass the degree leading towards un-employment. Freedom (no accountability) in government run education sector organizations is the key for their low performance. Entry to government sector may difficult but can be manipulated by many means, and after that an employee is the boss who never thinks about the survival and wellbeing of his organization but only is concerned about his career and leisure/comfort.  It is to mentioned here that quality entry to government sector is already down sized by government supported policies like: reservation, equal opportunity to women, localization etc. These types of policies in case of private sector may be on paper but they never compromise the working of system. Here, it is important to mention the selection process in case of a private university. In this university, applicants were put to five stages of their interview process as: presentation in the department, interview by a HR, interview by a language expert, interview by a panel of experts, and finally interview by the Head of the University or his/her nominee with the conditions that the candidate can not resign from the post during the semester. He/she will be relieved by the end of semester and that also by giving three months advance notice. He/She has to submit his credentials (testimonials) to the university, if not, he/she has to deposit two months salary in advance as a security. Working atmosphere in private education sector is totally demanding whereas in government, people are finding one or the other excuse to shun their duties and there is no check or monitoring on these people.  In private set up, every class is monitored with CCTV cameras, an in case of any violation of duty, late going to class or early leaving the class or just passing time in the class all are observed through CCTVs and immediate action is taken against the defaulter. Mobile is not allowed to a teacher in the class in private sector, whereas, in government sector this tool has become a best excuse to avoid the teaching during ongoing class.

With in a very short span, private sector has overtaken the education and things will further worsen with the entry of foreign private universities in India in the times to come.    This change of paradigm will definitely bring new avenues of education to people who can afford it (education) but will also make the education difficult or a day dream to marginalized section of the society.  This will create a big divide between educated and education-less or low educated society.  Need is to make the government run education sector more effective, productive and outcome oriented.  For this, there is a need to change the years old non-effective rules and regulations/policies governing government run education sector. Instead of making it (education) a charity show, it should be made such that people prefer it (government) to private education sector and for these lessons might be learnt from private education sector itself. Need is to make each and every teacher responsible and accountable to the learning outcome of his students.