January 12, 2005

Highs and Lows

The Telegraph, 12.01.2005

Sukanta Chaudhuri is perhaps getting a little carried away when he makes much of Bengalís academic strengths (ďA knowledge hubĒ, Jan 4). He says that compared to other states, the curricular bent of mind here is more congenial to creating a knowledge hub that the entire country can draw on.

Our education system is essentially a clone of the British system prevalent 100 years ago. With no disrespect intended towards either Jadavpur or Calcutta University, the standards our students have to deal with are miserably poor compared to those in Britain. And if selling out to the West helps, then we should do it too. Remember, that is how South Korea built up its solid research and development base, and Japan developed techniques to make the best and cheapest cars in the world.

Many Indians are successful today in the global economy because of their natural propensity to work hard, not because of the Indian education system. Else Indian students would not be going overseas to pursue their studies. Remember also that our education system encourages learning by rote and discourages creativity. Facilities for extra-curricular activities are terrible (if present at all), the syllabus is outdated and quite often, students are made to learn rather useless topics.


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