– Anurradha Prasad
(CMD and Editor-in-Chief, News24)
Like every year, this time too Gandhi Jayanti will be celebrated on 2nd October. Mahatma Gandhi’s thoughts will be remembered. The coming generations will be shown the dream of a better future and a harmonious society while moving forward on their path. But if Mahatma Gandhi were alive today, how would he view the current education system of the country? What kind of changes would you advocate in this? Why has education become so expensive day by day in our country? Why is the tuition and coaching business growing at supersonic speed in India?
Is it possible to get admission to good engineering or medical colleges without expensive coaching? Why are two thousand students taking flights out of the country every day for studies? Who divided the government education system of the country? Can doors and windows be opened for better and equal education for the children of the families standing at the last rung of society by following the path of Gandhiji? Know the answers to all such burning questions in this special episode of Bharat Ek Soch, One Country, One Study When?
Better education is the only key to economic progress
Actually, education has been kept in the Concurrent List of the Constitution, on which both the federal government and the states can make laws. But, in India, it is difficult for everyone to get equal education. One thing that has been well understood by the common people of the country is that the key to economic progress is better education. In such a situation, every parent works hard beyond their means to provide top-class education to their children. If you talk to the parents of any 12 to 15-year-old, their biggest tension will be regarding their child’s career. Education will become more expensive day by day.
The country is waiting for uniform education
If the child is going to appear in the 10th board exam, his parents will be worried about better coaching to get him enrolled so that after two years of preparation, he can get admission to a top-ranking government engineering or medical college. In the last few decades, such an ecosystem has been created within the education system of the country where without good tuition or coaching, admission in engineering or medicine is considered impossible. On the map of India, Kota city of Rajasthan is identified as a coaching hub where in the name of engineering or medical preparation, coaching institutes charge Rs 3 to 4 lakh per annum. If you get admission to a top-ranking government college, then it is fine, but if for some reason you get admission to a private one, then you have to take a loan from the bank for higher studies. Considering the situation, a large population of the country is waiting for equal education for all.
12 lakh Indian students studying abroad
Education in India is becoming expensive by 10 to 12 percent per year. Currently, for four years of engineering studies in private institutes, one has to pay a fee of about Rs 12 lakh. It is also predicted that if the fee continues to increase at the current race, then Rs 25 to 30 lakh might be spent for an engineering course in 2033. The dream of becoming a doctor can be fulfilled in a government medical college at a very low fee. But to obtain a medical degree from a private medical college, one has to pay a hefty fee ranging from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore. There are a limited number of seats available for admission in other courses too in well-known universities in the country. In such a situation, most of the parents of upper-middle-class families think that if their child is unable to get admission to top-ranking colleges within the country, then somehow arrangements should be made to send him abroad for higher studies.
It doesn’t provide just a higher degree but the child will also get exposure to the world outside India. Every year the number of students going abroad for higher studies is increasing rapidly. About 12 lakh Indian students are studying in different countries of the world. Five years ago this number used to be around 5 lakh. In 2022 alone, the number of Indian students taking flights to other countries for studies was around seven and a half lakh. That means every day two thousand students move to another country for a higher degree.
Gandhi considered education as the birthright of everyone
In the 20th century, if any one person has had the greatest influence on the Indian public or rather the entire world, then it is Mahatma Gandhi. The way to deal with most of the challenges facing the world in the 21st century is being found in the paths shown by Mahatma Gandhi. He not only taught the world the lessons of truth, non-violence, and contentment but also considered education as the birthright of every person. Education was considered as important for the physical and spiritual progress of any human being as a mother’s milk is for the physical development of a child. This was the reason why Gandhiji laid emphasis on equal and free education for all till a certain age. He also knew that the formula for India’s progress could come only through education in the mother tongue. In such a situation, Gandhiji was dreaming of such a uniform education system, in which the intellect, hands, and heart of any student or human being could develop.
How will empty-pocketed fulfill their dreams?
Mahatma Gandhi also understood the challenges of India and figured out a way of a better and equal education system for all. Probably, that’s why they changed the 3R of the British era i.e. Reading, Writing & Arithmetic to 3H – Hand, Head & Heart. It means an education system in which everyone can learn some skills to become financially self-reliant and develop their intelligence through education. Besides, his heart should also develop in such a way that he thinks for the society ahead of himself.
Gandhiji had cherished the dream of the welfare of all in an ideal education system, but, in the immortal period of independence, it is also a strange irony that in the government structure of school education in India, the level of education has fallen so much that most of the parents don’t want to send their children to government schools and there are very few seats in the world-class government institutions set up for higher education and getting admission in them is like conquering Everest. In the National Education Policy 2020, there is an emphasis on the development of Hand, Head, and Heart.
But, how will those who have empty pockets and big dreams get success? Be it a child from a very poor family or a middle-class child, a farmer’s child, or a business owner’s child, how can we find a path to equal education for all? How should playing labels be the same for children of both rich and poor? There should be an honest discussion on this in the nectar of independence. This would be a true tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.