Improving the Quality of Education

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member_29155
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Improving the Quality of Education

Postby member_29155 » 15 Feb 2016 13:41

Indian education system is in shambles. So much so, that the II(X) institutes exist to prove that they are exceptions than the rule. I have summarized some thoughts on this topic here.

Typically Education in India goes on like this:

1. 4 - 10 yrs (Primary)
2. 11 - 15 (Secondary)
3. 16 - 17 (Higher Secondary)
4. 18 - 21 (College / Undergraduate - 4yr course)
--> Hit Job market at B. E / B. Tech Level
5. 22 - 23 (Post graduate)
--> Hit Job market at M. Sc / M. A / M. E (Tech) Level

By the time a child becomes a economically productive individual in this system, the child is at least 21 years old. Worse, after 21 years, the young adult has to be now trained in being economically productive. Estimates by professionals of different streams put employability between 5% - 25% (depending on job profile). What this number tells us is 3 out of 4 graduates (even from engineering colleges) are unfit to be employed anywhere, in any job. And they reach this state of general uselessness after 21+ years of "education".

The problem stated above is something that many are familiar with. What could be the solution? Am proposing a set of thoughts below, that are open for discussion.

1. Change focus from "Theory --> Practicals" to "Practicals --> Theory". In a sense: 70% practicals + 30% theory in terms of time share.
2. Create a hierarchical system for practicals, where older students teach younger ones. For instance, a person who can disassemble a ICE, can teach someone how to safely disassemble a bicycle.
3. Focus on specialization early on, so that the "readiness to be employed" is achieved at a much lower age (18 - 19, instead of 21 - 23).
4. Include live examples that can be immediately related to, for practicals: instead of working with abstract entities like a Rheostat and voltmeter (not extremely engaging / interesting), give them a fan and ask them to build a speed regulator (or vice versa) ..
5. Introduce basic concepts as questions and methods, rather than as facts.
6. Create a pyramid of education with individual teachers on the top - and students at various levels forming the layers.
7. Allow loose congregation of teachers, instead of rigid school setup (where the risks, advantages and responsibility are pinned on the School rather on individual teachers)
8. Make Education a holistic experience (physical / mental) rather than about mugging books up.
9. Create a system for student (middle school / high school) internships (in safe sectors, at least).

Would love to hear the merits and demerits of these points in the debate.

Thanks.
Octotus

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby Atri » 15 Feb 2016 15:19

Two words - Apprentice bill. Make Apprenticeship with artisans and engineering workshops equivalent to MS degree as it happens in Germany.

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby NRao » 15 Feb 2016 16:51

octotus,

You have provided a solution without clearly stating what you are trying to solve.

So, can you, succinctly state the problem and the goal?

Atri,

Cannot happen. India is a caste based society - the whole emphasis of an "education", which implies a Bachelors - is to get a better job, spouse, whatever, "better" than the other person. There is a very strong component of "competition" - I am better than you. That can never equally support a society in which people belong to a variety of groups (castes).





Recall the faction that broke away from AAP? That faction is very active in the area of "education". I have been trying o get them to chase a diff goal: Literacy. I think until you get a generation or two that go beyond shallow thinking nothing will really happen in India.

So, I would highly recommend that Indians work very, very hard to make EVERY women below the age of 25 literate.

Women & below 35: Because they are the first line of contact with the next generation and thus provide the influence that the next generation needs badly.
Literacy: Being able to read/write should expose them to a wide range of thinking and help determine what is right/wrong (NOT good/bad). Thinking that cuts across a lot of topics.




"Education" - in general, I find, to be a cookie cutter. You do this, we certify you and boom, we have a brand new cookie. It only tells me what they person knows in a very, very narrow area of "knowledge". It does not even tell me if the person is honest, sincere, hard worker, disciplined, etc.

member_29155
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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby member_29155 » 15 Feb 2016 17:00

You have provided a solution without clearly stating what you are trying to solve.


Estimates by professionals of different streams put employability between 5% - 25% (depending on job profile). What this number tells us is 3 out of 4 graduates (even from engineering colleges) are unfit to be employed anywhere, in any job. And they reach this state of general uselessness after 21+ years of "education".
<< This is the problem.

Goal: improve this number and reduce the age.

I hope this answers your first question.

Second: our problem, w.r.t "education" is the excessive focus on literacy - with almost nil focus on its usability. There is sufficient literacy in our cities (36% of the population), and in the age demography that you mentioned.

I do not use education as a "cookie cutter" term. Instead, I use it to distinguish what "should be" from what is. Clarifying the term below:

What is Education?
Education is the act of allowing some to acquire a set of skills that are applicable, and profitable in real life. With the emphasis on applicability, Education transcends mere literacy.


Also: why should caste affect an apprentice model in India?

--O
Last edited by member_29155 on 15 Feb 2016 17:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby NRao » 15 Feb 2016 17:17

octotus wrote: << This is the problem.

Goal: improve this number and reduce the age.

I hope this answers your question.

Also: why should caste affect an apprentice model in India?

--O


1) No, it did not help. Improve which number? And, what is age related to?


2) On caste and apprentice (BTW, which part of the world are you from to talk about education in India and not know about caste?): The reason being, India, even today has layers in society. Even Indians in the US have it. So, having diff paths for employment is fine, the problem is how does a society view that. It is of absolutely no use to have to "paths" and a society differentiates between them. Who would ever take the "lower" path?

Which is why I would like a generation or two who are taught that they should not differentiate and THEN provide that gen with a variety of paths. Else all privileged will bribe to take the better path (as it happens today) and the under-privileged will be forced into a lower category. Which is what is happening today too. Improving education will never correct this wrong.

Literacy would be a better choice to better education.

Education really does not ask people to think (there are exceptions to that). Most get educated for obtaining a good standard of living. Which you can get even by sell drugs.

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby NRao » 15 Feb 2016 17:25

Let me pose this question: How many get into a particular subject matter because they like the subject vs. get into it because that subject pays well?

I bet most in India get into subjects because of better pay. That is what "education" will do for you. A single, optimal, low risk path.


{I may add to this post}

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby NRao » 15 Feb 2016 17:40

From http://www.payscale.com/research/DE/Job ... nic/Salary I conducted an unscientific survey of pay scales in Germany. Here is what I found:

Pay scales: range, median (all in Euros and thousands)

Auto mechanic: 22-43, 27
Software Engineer: 29-62, 46
Bus driver: 17-42, 24
Doctor: 50 (no range)
Surgeon: 108 (no range)
"Manager": 58 (no range)
"Director" marketing: 120-150

I have not looked at the distribution of the population in Germany, but this should provide a good starting point.

As you can see, there is a huge diff which creates categories. Will India survive this? Or will everyone do their best to make their kids Marketin directors?

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby member_29155 » 15 Feb 2016 20:10

My responses to the several points you have raised. Long post - kindly bear.

2) On caste and apprentice (BTW, which part of the world are you from to talk about education in India and not know about caste?): The reason being, India, even today has layers in society. Even Indians in the US have it.


1. Am skipping the Q in the brackets, for now. I deal with it in a different perspective below.
2. Every society has layers. Not just India. India has layers expected in a 1.25Billion people country.

So, having diff paths for employment is fine, the problem is how does a society view that. It is of absolutely no use to have to "paths" and a society differentiates between them. Who would ever take the "lower" path?


1. what do "diff paths" mean here? Would being a s/w professional (or another white collar) and being a mechanical engineer represent different paths?
OR
1a. did you mean "people that go through the prevalent system" vs "those who go through an alternate system" to become S/W engineers?

If it is the former - it is a moot point. A moot point because a society needs different skill sets - despite the fact that different skills don't pay equally. [more on this later].

If it is the latter: the prevalent system creates a large proportion of unemployable people, and another substantial proportion who finish a B.E and enter the workforce as a data entry operators. After spending 4 years and close to 10L INR, most of them join the work force at 20K - 30K INR per month.

On the other hand, the alternative system will produce less wastage in terms of human resources. Why would it? It would because people get more transferable and workable skills instead of theoretical knowledge from books that they are forced to learn by rote. I can easily imagine hiring a High school graduate who carries a certain amount of work experience, than a BE degree holder who can't find his nose in the broad daylight.

Coming to the income disparity point:

We should not expect all jobs to pay the same, because then there won't be an incentive to do the hard jobs. Being a Heart Surgeon is a lot of hard work, and people won't aspire to be one if a heart surgeon is paid just the same as a school teacher. Humans expect commensurate returns on investment - and any realistic plan has to assume that people are keen to make themselves wealthy.

Furthermore, discussing income stratification in Germany and asking if it is good for India, ignores the realities in India. Not only does it ignore human aspiration (to earn more than before - if not more than others), it also ignores that such disparities already exists. So, I am not claiming to create something that is not present already. If anything - am claiming that my plan would make more people affluent.

Now, I shall address the caste question:
Caste is an debilitating factor in the absence of economic prosperity. While economic prosperity may not completely nullify it, it definitely reduces its impact. Profs. Jagdeesh Bhagwathy and Arvind Subramaniam point out that such aspiration has pulled more people out of poverty than any other government scheme. Allow me to repeat it in another context: aspiration, and the money that it gave, has pulled more people ahead, across the caste board, than any other factor in independent India.

Urbanization and economic prosperity are the only two factors that even have a chance of beating down the caste discriminations in our society. For instance, when a plumber or electrician comes to an apartment complex, I don't see any one asking his caste. It doesn't matter.

By making engineers out of people that aren't taught what they ought to know, we are condemning them to live in status quo. Worse, the money that they spend on the Engineering course, remains a financial albatross around their necks. Better would be to give them sufficient training so that they can earn a livelihood - than to force them through an entire course.

On women's education:
Yes, there is a disparity between men's and women's literacy levels. And in some places, this disparity is quite stark. However, this is not a problem that I am equipped to deal with. The kind of resources needed to work for women's education is something that only a government can muster (or other equally large organizations).

my thought process about this point runs thus: What would you think is a better option for their livelihood? Teaching transferable / employable skills to a teen ager / young adult, or alphabets to a 30 year old woman? This view can be called myopic. I like to think of it as tactically sound.

Last but not least: thanks for the engaging on my first post. I read your responses keenly.

--o

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby csaurabh » 16 Feb 2016 07:16

School education currently serves ( and should serve ) the purpose of making a person functionally literate, which means they can read, write, speak and do basic mathematics. Being literate ( especially English literate ) is sufficient for 95% of the jobs out there. Everything else can be learned on the job. For one thing, a clerk or Mc Donalds salesperson or carpenter has no much use for subjects taught in school ( except for literacy ) and for another, there is a vast number of things that are simply outside the purview of conventional formal education - like visual arts, performing arts, athletics, etc.

Apprenticeship model will never work in India, because that is basically the same thing as caste system. Infact, unofficially that is more or less what still goes on. Carpenters teach their sons to be carpenter, shopkeepers teach their children and so on. They might send their kids to school, but they have not much trust in the 'education system'.

Higher ed scenario in our country is essentially more like a competition of some sort rather than learning much of anything (the learning, again is done after getting the job ). This may be just as well though, my only complaint is that it costs too much. Internet may solve this problem ( by giving online degrees via MOOCs for very low cost, and then 80% of the colleges may close down ). Decreasing the amount of formal 'education' and increasing time available for self learning ( via internet and other means ) is the way to go.

Finally, education is much more than getting skills for a job. The aim is to build some character and impart general knowledge. How successful we are in this regard is anyones guess. Another big problem is the commie-secular content of education, which causes a lot of self hatred and inferiority complex.

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby member_29155 » 16 Feb 2016 11:01

Being literate ( especially English literate ) is sufficient for 95% of the jobs out there. Everything else can be learned on the job.

If it were sufficient, we won't be this worried: link below.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140630153810-55218071-higher-education-in-india-the-context-for-change

For one thing, a clerk or Mc Donalds salesperson or carpenter has no much use for subjects taught in school ( except for literacy )

Then why teach all of that for 12 long years, and then push them into a 3yr College program? Can't we have a "fast food joint diploma", in coalition with McD's or Pizza Hut - to train people for just that?

Apprenticeship model will never work in India, because that is basically the same thing as caste system. Infact, unofficially that is more or less what still goes on. Carpenters teach their sons to be carpenter, shopkeepers teach their children and so on. They might send their kids to school, but they have not much trust in the 'education system'.

On one hand, you claim "it will never work in India"; and on the other, state that "that is more or less what still goes on". And your last sentence is the clincher:
They might send their kids to school, but they have not much trust in the 'education system'.

Why don't we play to our strengths, and formalize this reality; than to say "I will judge a fish by its capacity to climb a tree".

Internet may solve this problem ( by giving online degrees via MOOCs for very low cost, and then 80% of the colleges may close down )

MOOCs have been a failure in many places across the world (including USA), simply because students lack the tenacity to sit through a class on their own.

Decreasing the amount of formal 'education' and increasing time available for self learning ( via internet and other means ) is the way to go.

something similar to what I said - 70% practicals (hands on learning) + 30% theory.

Finally, education is much more than getting skills for a job. The aim is to build some character and impart general knowledge. How successful we are in this regard is anyones guess.

This is where, I believe the 70% Practicals and an apprenticeship would come into picture. Instill work ethics and professionalism (an important facet of character) into our children. Right now, we are failing abysmally in this count.

Another big problem is the commie-secular content of education, which causes a lot of self hatred and inferiority complex.

This is my first foray into posting on BRF, and hence I forcibly kept the tone politics-neutral. What you are hinting at, is a topic that deserves a full post.

Thanks for reading and commenting.
--O

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby csaurabh » 16 Feb 2016 19:03

Look up this

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hereditar ... ion_policy

And see the reasons why it failed.

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby SBajwa » 18 Feb 2016 23:52

A 16 years old that work at McDonald's on weekend or in evenings get

1. To know customer relationship.
2. To know financial independence from parents.
3. To know how much she/he can spend based on earnings.
4. Confidence and gets to know basic society stuff (taxes, banking, discipline to get to work on time).

A 16 years old should either do a volunteer work or a job.

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Re: Improving the Quality of Education

Postby Haresh » 19 Feb 2016 21:51

csaurabh, SBajwa,

Having read both of your comments, I just thought I would add my own input.

My family are from a poor rural back ground in the Punjab.
My father and grandfather and other relations worked as labourers on sugar can plantations in Fiji, my wifes family were originally from Bihar but went to trinidad as Indentured labourers.

With regard to my father, he had a reasonable Primary school education and that is what saved him.
He came in the end to the UK and prospered, the same with my wifes family.

Talking to my relations in India, their view is that they will play the "Generation game". As long as each generation improves it's lot, then they have something to aim for. It's a long game.

However I know of some members of the family who have leap frogged this. They have worked abroad as building labours, learned basic skills, returned to India, set up businesses, earned very good money and then sent their kids to very good english medium schools.
They have used social/business skills that they gained out of India ie, how to talk, punctuality, to regard women as equal, to look someone in the eyes etc.
Formal training in these area's would also help.


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