Dr. Ved Pratap Vaidik
A recent UNESCO report has exposed the plight of education in India. Even after 75 years of independence, India remains backward compared to many smaller Asian countries, thanks to the lack of priority given to the two prime sectors, education and medicine, by successive governments in power. The rich and the privileged send their children to private schools for ‘quality’ education and go to the private medical facilities for “better” health care.
The children of the over 100 crore population of Independent India are still deprived of quality education and the majority of our inhabitants have little access to proper healthcare facilities. According to the research findings of UNESCO, 73 percent of the parents are reluctant to send their wards to government schools. The parents feel the quality of education in the government schools are poor and those who come out of such schools and educational institutions are proving incompetent in the job market, thanks to their poor proficiency in English language.
Due to the flawed outlook of our governments, English is still a must for getting selected for any government job. Those educated through English medium either make their entry into any government sector or migrate to the Western countries like the US and Canada. The fees of private schools, colleges and universities are exorbitant and unaffordable to the poor and underprivileged. In some educational institutions the monthly fee is even more than fifty thousand rupee. Nowadays privately run hospitals and educational institutions in the country have become the abode of fraud. It is a shame on us as citizens of this country that even after seven decades of independence the poor, rural, backward and tribal population of India continues to languish without quality education and proper medical care. The government schools and public hospitals are of little comfort for these hapless humans.
In fact, 90% of the schools in our country survive from the fee they get from the pupils. About 29600 schools in the country are unrecognized. More than four thousand madrasas also fall in this category. Can the students coming out of these schools make any significant contribution in building a new India? If we compare India with our seven neighboring SAARC countries in terms of education, we may realize that India is close to Afghanistan and much below Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Pakistan.
India is the largest nation in South Asia. The education system of ancient India was recognized and lauded world over. Even many centuries before people from China, Japan and Greece, travelled to India in quest of knowledge and spent many years in our ancient Universities like Nalanda and Thakshashila which were globally accepted as the seat of wisdom. This Indian legacy of such seated wisdom is just a chronicle of the past to brood over.
We need to understand that America has emerged as the world’s top ranking superpower on the basis of their education, and it is worrying that India is still comfortable in continuing with Macaulay’s slavery. I am not sure at this juncture if any leadership will emerge in India to change this existing rotten and obsolete system of education, even after a hundred years of independence!
*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educational missions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.