EDUCATION—INNOVATE OR PERISH
The quality of a country depends on the quality of its people and, in turn, the quality of people depends on the quality of its educational system & institutions. Though the number of educational institutions is rapidly increasing in India, the quality has certainly become questionable. In the list of 500 top universities in the world, only two Indian universities viz., Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore and Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur appear that too, in the 300‐400 range. This is a clear indication that the Indian Educational System warrants a paradigm shift in content and conduct.
Following is a survey conducted by Newsweek in the recent educational trends and a prognosis of the same. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the meltdown in the global financial market originating in the US traces its roots to the warped educational system and morality of the United States. In sharp contrast, China is fast emerging as the Super Power. It can be seen that the focus of the educational system of China relies on ‘creative approaches to problem-solving’ as compared to ‘Math and computer sciences’ as a vital component for innovation, a key indicator of the country’s success. India’s comparative index as an innovative country is a dismal 20% as compared to Japan’s 81%.
More than a decade of over‐dependence on IIT and the mad rush to get into them has made Math & science from empirical science to one that is rote‐learned and IIT‐JEE specific, very low on innovative skills. Knowledge explosion on the Internet has made the ‘rote‐learned information bank’ redundant. Information now is available anywhere anytime. The need of the hour is to be geared for the changing needs of society. The evolution of focus, of the world society, clearly indicates we are in the conceptual age, the wherein human utility is measured not by the knowledge accumulated but the ability ‘to do’ something with the knowledge. And therein lies the foundation to the thinking process, so necessary to be a part of the school curriculum. No wonder then, that the ‘thinking process’ has now become a science, with some pioneering work done by Edward de Bono & Tony Buzan among others.
School should be a place where the mind is free to think. A place where innovation and transcending boundaries are the norms.