Steve Wozniak, managed to hurt Indian sentiments far and wide with its opinion on our Education System!
To brief you a bit, Mr.Wozniak was asked about his views on India and if a global tech company can emerge from here?
And not to our surprises he said “I am not an anthropologist and I don’t know the culture of India well enough. I don’t see those big advances in tech companies. What is the big tech company here, Infosys maybe?
I just don’t see that sort of thing coming out of Infosys, and I have done keynotes for them three times.”
Woz further said that the culture in India is one based on academic excellence, studying, learning, practising and having a good job and a great life. Well,
Now, let’s pause and think of the more critical picture!!
The Rote Loop
Rote Learning is a glaring evident that everybody has chosen to ignore. The widening learning gaps in classrooms and absolutely no feedback system, has turned schools into a one-way communication system! With teachers more focused on finishing syllabus, school more focus on the “best grades”, students are forced into quick-fix solutions!
We have been there, done that! At least I can vouch for it!
Before every math exam, I would start memorising theorems, day and night! I never understood what it meant, but I had to pass to reach next grade!! That was the only way I could do so!
Well, I passed back then, but, today if you write a theorem on board, neither I can identify it nor do I remember which grade I studied these theorems!
Academic score over conceptual understanding
So, I totally second Mr.Wozniak when he says we are too focused on scores rather than a conceptual understanding!
For most of us, academic excellence is a scorecard that we are handed upon at the end of the examination! Ironically, neither the exam nor the scorecard assesses the student based on their level of understanding!
And, this is not even it! We are talking about students, who in next four years, will be out there looking for employment!! It’s scary and crazy
ASER 2017 indicates that a significant proportion of 14-18-year-olds can at least read simple texts. Their math levels are quite weak and do not show improvement with age. But the fact that policy-makers and administrators do not have data about learning outcomes is a relatively small problem.
The more significant problem may be that the youth cannot show what they really can or cannot do to a potential employer in the absence of a credible and transparent examination system.
Just as there are standardised examinations such as TOEFL and GRE, independent exams that test the abilities of young people are the need of the hour. In fact, such certifications honoured by employers will help change the education scenario dramatically.
Today, yet another exam will “test” the student’s ability by their learning in class than understanding!
As George Eliot wisely puts it
“We learn words by rote, but not their meaning; that must be paid for with our life-blood, and printed in the subtle fibres of our nerves.”