Saturday, March 29, 2008
Forget E-learning, the System is Rotting at the Base!
E-learning sounds attractive, suggesting a gigantic leap onto an era of rapid and serious learning change. The psychological comfort it offers to educationists and upmarket teachers in India enables them to use these complexities of technology to raise the level of perception towards learning and education. Today its clear that there’s no rocket science in learning – the way it is made to appear.
Look at the very core of the educational system in India -- it’s a pure mess. The basics are so intelligently sidelined through a fascinating technological garb that it confuses many a poor souls. For the Indian citizenry its a confusing realm as they try to make sense of traditional education and technology-aided. No other example can highlight this mess than the recent confusion surrounding Nursery admissions in the various schools of Delhi – India's national capital.
It was a quite a drama in Delhi. Right under the nose of the central government and with the seemingly stringent norms spelt out by the Ganguly Commission, the schools blatantly ignored rules, bent admission procedures, fiddled with processes and led to a massive confusion of sorts. Yet very few voices could be heard against this. Perhaps the Indian citizenry remained immatured to be able to see through the flimsy system.
Schools in Delhi had their own unique criteria for admission. Under the garb of the Ganguly Commission the admission formula was a mess – every school had its own unique system. Parents meanwhile remained thoroughly confused. There were ones who applied for their ward’s admission to as high as 35 schools, since they were not sure where they would get lucky. At the end of the ordeal almost all ended up in despair. They did not know what criteria were used to select students. When they demanded information they were shooed away like cattle. Information collected from several parents reveal a vicious nexus. Some suggested that it was the social status and wealth that defined the admission norm – for schools remained in the run to grab students whose parents were powerful enough to offer them indirect benefits – in cash or in kind.
Amindst this chaos there were several hundreds of low-grade schools that attempted to position themselves as an alternative – showcasing such things as the airconditioned classroom, presence of a swimming pool and other so-called “world class standards”. Most of these schools also used the word ‘International’ as a prefix or suffix to suggest their new found avatar. A closer look suggests that they were nowhere near being international – even on the cleanliness front.
The very premise in which everyone questions these schools is the fact that the land in which they were situated was handed over to them by the Government – since education is considered to be serving a noble cause. There were countless news items on the admission process in Delhi that questioned the credibility of admission and the response of the government.
The dramatics that unfolded and was spread over several days threw more questions than answers. It suggested how Indian education system remained eons behind global educational standards. It also forced many to question the veracity of the claims that most schools make about education – most of which was downright farcical. For scholars the situation offered a perfect ground for conducting research on education in third-world countries. Its perhaps interesting to see that why India produces very little leaders and researchers and more of salaried slaves who find solace in serving in a private or a government sector company that can guarantee them a decent lifestyle – nothing more nothing less.
Posted by AC at 8:34 PM