Problems with the Primary Education System
The basic problem with the education system in India is the ASSESSMENT SYSTEM. The examination results are often used as a proxy for the quality of education. However, such a method is fraught with great problems, as the examination system is limited in scope and coverage, as far as learning is concerned. Research has established that acquiring both cognitive and non-cognitive competencies are necessary for a child’s overall development. However, most of the research in learning achievement has focused on the assessment of cognitive skills acquired by the students. An equally reliable measure of quality of education is whether students are learning effectively by improving their knowledge, skills and abilities and also widening their experience and growing socially and morally or not. Ability to work with others, readiness to accept responsibilities and to work for public good are highly praised characteristics among school graduates. But assessment tools do not test for such skills. Due to the high pressure from the parents and the teachers to score good marks in the exams, the student is automatically forced to mug up some questions given at the end of the text book without widening their dimensions of knowledge. It also becomes very easy for the teachers to teach that way because no “What” and “Why's” are coming from the student's side and teacher don’t have to put efforts to clear the doubts of the students.
Now the question is why the examination system is like that and why these whats and whys are suppressed in the class! No doubt, this attitude results into gradually killing the creativity and logical reasoning of the students from their very early age. The four major reasons that are seen behind this suppression by the teachers:
Not Trained Teachers
Improper lesson Planning
Lack of Motivation
Teachers in these primary schools might not know about the subject and hence they are not able to convey the concepts to the students. As they have inadequate knowledge about the subject they have a hitch in presenting themselves to the students. They are also afraid of not knowing the answers to the student’s question. To get rid of this situation instead of studying they try to avoid the questions coming from the students. In some of the cases the teachers who are teaching in these primary schools are themselves studying in colleges and were not good students at their times. They are in the school not because of their interest in teaching but they have no other options. So they always try to make their job easy resulting in supporting the existing examination system. As they are not willing to put much efforts in their work, the easiest way to show that they are working well to management and parents is to make the students learn all the questions given at the end of the chapter.
Most of them are not B.Ed.’s. No arrangement is made for their trainings; no arrangements for workshops are made to introduce them to pedagogy. Now as a result we see that these teachers do not teach the students keeping in mind that they are children but they teach them as if they are equally matured as the teacher himself is.
The teachers do not bother to put efforts in planning the lessons and syllabus. They are not even very clear of the objectives that should be achieved at the end of the chapter. Besides that, they don’t have any pre-strategic plans on how to teach a particular chapter and in-fact they don’t have any preparation for the class they are going to teach. They just go to the class as if they are going to some shop and spend an hour there. They don’t have any short-term goals (week wise objectives) due to which the inputs that the student gets is very random in nature. They don’t have any structured notes on how to teach the subject they are given and thus the growth of the student is also random in nature and they are not able to think structurally.
This is all because of the lack of motivation in the teachers and the management of the school and the worst part is that these schools are not seen as the temple of education but as only a shop which is generating profit for the management by hiring underpaid, low cost and bad quality teachers who are also there just for earning some money not for teaching the children.
These all problems together give birth to “Learning by Rote”. As a result of the above problems the child is given a set of question and answers and is asked to cram them and spit them out in the exams.
The other problem which is seen at the student’s side is that they are not able to connect their studies with their daily life. They are not able to realise the importance of education. They start taking school as burden and learning by rote is the easiest way for them to make their parents and teachers happy. So they put all their energy in scoring good marks in exams by killing their creativity and logical reasoning.
There are no excursion trips arranged for the students. The competitions such as debate, extempore, writing, general knowledge etc. are not arranged for the students to explore their expressive and comprehensive abilities. They are not encouraged for the extracurricular activities which is also responsible for limiting their exposure.
What Unlearn Formulae thinks as a solution is to EMPOWER teachers. If we are able to empower and sensitize teachers on this issue that our most of the schools these days are mere factories. What we are producing the cheap labors instead of leaders. We need to provide teachers and students both with a bigger vision than just worrying about a secure comfortable life.