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Education in Independent India

On the occasion of 72nd Independence Day, we bring opinions from educationists on Education in Independent India - successes, challenges and opportunities. NexSchools wishes all of you best wishes on Independence Day and reaffirms commitment to spreading awesomeness in education and parenting by introspecting and informing.

Education in Independent India Dr Nirmala Krishnan Educationist

"Looking for the Perfect Education System is a Phantom as there is not one system that fits all. The PISA tests tell only one side of the story. Our education system is good enough – but considering our population and complexity we have we need to continuously innovate and improve."

What is a perfect education system?

Jenny Marchal, freelance writer in her article ‘8 Things We Can Learn From Successful Education Systems Over the World’ has shared interesting insights on what has emerged as a successful education model: Japan – Develop character before knowledge, Japanese students clean their school themselves; Finland – Less is More, Kids Spend More Time Outside; Singapore – More is invested in Technology, Introducing the Importance of Positive Psychology; Germany – No comparison between schools, Less Segregation Between Children of Differing Learning Levels.

These insights lead to education systems across the world trying to replicate the models portrayed in the above article as successful approaches. There have been countless research papers and articles on defining a perfect education system. There are various parameters used in defining the same, one of the most popular ones’ is the PISA (The Programme for International Student Assessment)

Caroline McClatchey (BBC News) shares her views in ‘What is the key to a successful education system?’ - The education systems in Hong Kong, Finland, and South Korea are often lauded as among the best in the world, scoring highly in international league tables. A data analysis post PISA tests left education leader’s measure up to the assessment criteria of PISA. We have our inboxes flooded with education tours to Finland. India being a populous country trying to replicate a model which has parameters very different from Finland has to be analysed.

Does all this mean that the education system in India is not good enough? Are we lacking in something as our PISA scores are not up to the mark?

Sundar Pichai, CEO Google, Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft, Rajeev Suri, CEO and president, Nokia, Sanjay Kumar Jha, CEO, Global Foundries, Francusco D’Souza, CEO, Cognizant and many more Indians are on the top CEO list. The list of Nobel prize winners from India includes: Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Nobel Prize in Physics 1983, Amartya Sen, Nobel prize in Economic Sciences in 1998, V.S. Naipaul, Nobel Prize in Literature 2001, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009 and Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace prize in 2014. Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni in cricket are success stories in sports depict a different dimension of our education system. The Olympic Medal Winners: Hockey 8 times post-independence, Leander Paes Tennis, Karnam Malleswari Weightlifting, Abhinav Bindra Shooting, Saina Nehwal and P.V.Sindhu Badminton, Mary Kom Boxing etc. leave us asking more questions on whether one should owe everything to Indian education system or there are things beyond it too.

The success stories of top CEO across the globe being Indian, Nobel laureates, achievements in sports portray an education system which has cultivated these achievers. A system or process is claimed to be successful or failure is dependent upon its outcome. These outcomes are from the Indian education system which has come under criticism for not delivering PISA standards and not matching up to education systems across the world.

"Each education system has its merits and scope for evolving into a better one. Our education system is good enough – but considering our population and complexity we have we need to continuously innovate and improve."

The innovations and improvements are required in human capital (the teachers) and infrastructure (facilities and technologies). Let us focus on the teachers. Owing to the fact that Teaching as a profession has remained as the last choice of profession in India, the quality of teachers is a major concern. However, the technological support has been a boon to address the alarming concern over the quality of teachers in terms of content. What needs to be addressed is the ATTITUDE of teachers. They have to be the FACILITATORS who will use the knowledge available through technology to just handhold a student to understand the concept.  Working on the ATTITUDE of a being a FACILITATOR who need not be a KNOW IT ALL TEACHER can address this crunch in teacher quality and has been supporting the paradigm shift.

We have more and more Corporates aiding the village schools with e-learning support which can be capitalised in this process of improving teacher quality in content knowledge.

Probably the most important aspect is the holistic approach defined as ‘Humanistic education’ where each person treats other with respect and empathy will lead to peace in society. The root cause of all war is the lack of respect for the other. 

The most important outcome of successful education is the development of the “humane character” of the student and this is formed by imbibing the values at home and school. This is clearly defined by one of the greatest humanist  Dr. Daisaku Ikeda. 

A list of principles formulated by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda for the Soka schools in Japan demonstrates this:

(1) Uphold the dignity of life;

(2) Respect individuality;

(3) Build bonds of lasting friendship;

(4) Oppose violence;

(5) Lead a life based on both knowledge and wisdom.

Visiting educators to the Soka schools have noted as characteristic of Soka students - a strong sense of commitment they are taught at school - making positive contributions to humanity, a highly developed sense of purpose, concern for others, sincere interest in peaceful values, and strong sense of responsibility.

Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, Founder, Soka Schools and University claims, “Soka graduates will without fail become a part of the movement to expand waves of peace around the world and to light a brilliant torch of hope for all mankind.” Wondering, How many of us can make such a claim!!!

Looking for the Perfect Education System is a Phantom as there is not one system that fits all.


1.Jenny Marchal : https://www.lifehack.org/451272/8-things-we-can-learn-from-successful-education-systems-over-the-world

2. Caroline McClatchey , BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-21354932

3. Soka Education : https://www.daisakuikeda.org/main/educator/edu/edu-03.html

Soka Education : http://www.soka.ed.jp/kyoiku/e_kyoiku/e_k0003.html

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