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The Future of India

Wednesday September 1 2004 08:34 IST

By Karmayogi

The future of the nation is in the hands of the youth and children. That future is determined by the education they get today. In the fifties, the prime educational problem was school buildings.

Next it was attendance. Midday meal came to ensure attendance. After the seventies, education at all levels expanded limitlessly. Quantitative expansion results in quality deterioration.

Recently people have become quality conscious in education. In some good measure, quality too emerges at all levels. I wrote about pioneering educationists offering teacher training in their pioneering methods. It would be a great step forward for the present.

Till the mid-sixties, scientific knowledge had not reached the fields of cultivation. Taking cultivation to modern farming was a landmark in Indian planning. In 1950 the government founded 16 National Laboratories in various parts of India to conduct fundamental research.

Their significance was appreciated only after twenty years. About the same time - 1950 - the government of India spent money on building ports. When in 1964 USA was to ship India millions of tons of food grains, the first question the US President asked was, ‘Does India have ports to handle the ships?’ India did not. Some were sent to Karachi and other ships unloaded at Rangoon and food grain was rushed by train.

The government valued its own efforts to build ports in 1950 only in 1964 when huge shipments were to be unloaded on an urgent basis. Such a need arises in the field of education just now. Now is the time because there is an educational awakening for quality education.

Presently our system of education is what we have inherited from the British. It is steadily acquiring the composition of the US system. That is better than what we will otherwise have, as we have NO IDEA of the education our children should have. One view is it should be Indian based on Indian culture, but no such curriculum has been developed anywhere in India for schools or colleges to use.

Now that there are hundreds of pioneering educational institutions all over the country, it is from them a lead should come in this regard. Let us not think what systems should emerge out of such an initiative. It is necessary that the most successful schools and colleges in India should give thought to a FUTURE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION.

They have successfully innovated in methods of teaching. Now is the time for them to move from teaching to education. Should they do so, their step will be equal in significance to modernizing agriculture, strengthening the ports, or founding national laboratories. The cream of the nation, rather the educational cream, should deeply consider the Future Education.
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