By Pooja Marwah
The increasing rate of suicide, depression and anxiety among Indian students is a matter of grave concern. In recent news, a young girl studying in Grade 10 chose to end her life because she couldn’t secure more than 95% in her boards! This tragic incident once again highlights the need for a serious revamp of India’s education system.
I don’t know if the blame is on the parents, teachers or peers. How do the could-be’s and the should-be’s feature when the child is so traumatised! As a parent, the growing rate of suicide, depression and anxiety is affecting my own outlook to an otherwise beautiful life. The alarming speed at which success and failure occur isn’t for the faint at heart. In fact, it isn’t for anyone with a heart!
The education system in India needs to change. Yes, we churn out the best there are in technology, medicine, law and others but, in this grind, we also lose thousands of faceless young children who buckle under the pressure. This article is my dedication to them. To the faceless children who think of themselves as a mere dot in the world. Alas, if only you realised that it is one dot when added to another one, becomes larger, and so on.
Every drop matters. Every person matters. Everyone deserves to live.
Right from the time I was in Grade 10, not much has changed. And believe me, I speak of a time decades ago. The world has progressed and technology has taken over most of our mundane routine and, yet, our methodology of teaching largely remains the same. I did Shakespeare for my boards. And 30 years later, my daughter is doing the same. I studied the theory of computers, which is essential to know in a snapshot, but is not required to be a 30 page paper for your finals, 3 decades hence.
Practical real life situations are required. As adults, we need to adapt to the changing facets of the world, so that we can impart the requisite knowledge to our children. Just imagine, instead of teaching a 10 year old to learn the physical, political, and cultural parts of a place… suppose we used VR apps, to take them on a trip, to the actual place. Suppose we walked them through that city or country through AI and 3D, imagine the impact it would make then! Not only would they remember it, but it would also give more meaning to the way they learned something. Without the addition of pressure, it would give them a reason to want to attend that class.
Instead of merely listing pages of data to be learned about the place, what if a history lesson included a visit to the ruins of Pompei? Do you not believe that a child would crave to know more?
Our Indian system, specifically, needs a sudden and urgent change in the way we impart knowledge. We start to pressurise our children from the tender age of 3 and keep at it until they become adolescents. Once in college, either they rebel or they continue to reel under the pressure until eventually one day when they look back, they realise that none of the theoretical stuff they learned at school helped them deal with real life issues.
There is no reason large enough to put such tremendous amounts of pressure on the children. As a community, and as a country, I believe that the stress of Board exams, entrance exams and interviews at young ages is doing more harm than good. The need of the hour is to create scenarios that involve the correct use of technology at school. Simply memorising page after page for an impending exam is not imparting knowledge. True wisdom comes from experiences and moments. And this is what we need to bring into the classroom.
Just because something has been going on for eons, is no reason that it is the best solution. Perhaps, it is time we re-evaluate and restructure India’s education system as a whole!
(Pooja Poddar Marwah is an award winning author and Blogger. She writes an contemporary living and offers incisive reflections on the world around us. Her blog, Random Conversations is a go to guide to deal with the myraid stuggles we face each day.)