The Indian Education System has undergone a lot of changes since we know the land’s timeline. Starting from Gurukuls, to building the first university and today, along with the world, practicing the most modern way of learning – digital schooling and e-learning platforms. India, along with a mixture of its own has been a land of diversities and prominent cultures, languages, and traditions from across the world. They are or have been settled here at some point in the land’s great history. The societies settled here have left a great social, cultural, and political impact on the systems over the years, especially the education sector. Having experienced almost every taste in the world and undergone a series of ups and down framing its heritage, the Indian Education System that we see today has still managed to flow along with the contemporary world’s algorithms.
The System Over the Years
Education has been deliberated as an essential measure of an individual’s life. Sadly, since Vedic times, education was restricted to Brahmins and Kshatriyas. The Vedic times had the system of “Gurukul”; a residential school where the student lived with his guru to gain knowledge. The low-born and women were marginalized for the right to education. There weren’t universities for higher education until the Buddhist period when Nalanda and Taxila were established. The medieval period saw the emergence of “pathshala”. The pathshala was available for everyone, except women.
But, the system then wasn’t regular as we see today. There were no qualified teachers, no fixed fee structure, no classrooms (students used to sit under a Banyan tree or at their Guru’s house), no timetables, no conduction of annual exams, no textbooks, and not even regular attendance. Students couldn’t always attend classes, especially during harvest season when they were required to work on the fields. The arrival of colonial rule has transformed the system completely.
Modern Education and Its Consequences
The British introduced a new education system to Indians when they observed how the country was unfit and needed to revolutionize. The education system presented by the British was downright disciplined and orderly. The kids now needed to compulsorily sit for the class. There were fixed structures for everything; classrooms, textbooks, fees, teachers recruitment, and conduction of yearly examinations. Universities were set up in every province. English was made compulsory.
Though the system was for British’s own sake, it did bring a stream of modern thoughts and ideas, especially inside middle-class intelligentsia. The introduction of the English language helped nationalist leaders from different linguistic regions to communicate with each other and also brought the liberal and radical thought of European writers. It enabled the exchange of contemporary ideas and thoughts. These educated Indians became the reason for India’s independence. Thus it is clear how the modern system served as a means to making India self-sufficient and autonomous.
Lacunas the System Left Behind
No doubt, the education system introduced by the British in India was exceptionally structured and was a necessity to pave a way for India’s talents globally. But, what the Indians saw lacking in the system overall was the perpetual need to ground the students with their culture and ethnicity to give them a sense of belongingness. It is when the education system was presented with morals and ethics vital for the character building of an individual.
The Indian education system follows what Mahatma Gandhi sought is the requirement in the 21st century, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”
Current Scenario and the Future
The post-independence period saw a lot of amendments in the system. From the establishment of new schools, colleges, and universities to government making provisions for minorities and girls for the right to quality education, India is on its way to modernize the learning methods and reach as far into remote areas as possible. The current situation has made the world opt for online learning methods. Many schools and colleges have implemented online coaching methods but while educational institutions that have means and resources are harnessing online learning tools to deliver lectures via confrontational video instruction, there are still thousands of students from public institutions who are being left out.
There are provisions to be made to ensure education methods while tutoring the students including training to teachers on alternative teaching methods (online), gamification of learning, embracing e-learning to rural areas. There is a dire need to speed up the process so that the leaders of tomorrow can secure the benefits at the soonest.