The Tragedy of the Indian Education System

The tragedy of the Indian education system can be summed up in three words "mark fetching subjects".

Literature is not mark-fetching, mathematics is. Sociology is not mark-fetching, economics is.

It does not occur to the purveyors of this system that if one is not good at a subject, it will not "fetch" him marks, not unless he twists himself into becoming something he is not. We seem to be functioning under the impression that academic performance is something that can exist in the absence of the person who is performing. For all practical purposes, the student -- the individual performing -- is not part of the equation that powers our school system.

The pursuit of "marks" of course is the pursuit of social standing and, on a more basic level, the pursuit of stability. It is an insurance against poverty and dishonour in a society where everyone is wearing a mask designed to make them look like their neighbour. How respectable a middle-class family is in their society is, among other things, directly proportional to how well their son performs in school and college.

If you get marks, you get a certificate. If you have a certificate, you get a job. If you have a job, people line up to have their homely daughters marry you. Then, right on schedule, you get a car, a flat, have children, and die a satisfied old man who did all that was expected of him.

India is considered "spiritual" as opposed to the material West. But in many ways, we are a vastly more materialistic culture. Our concerns stem, not from a quest for meaning, but from a need for material pleasures so great, we throw our children into the machine that powers it.