India’s Education Challenges
There is a lot of talk about how U.S.A.’s education system has been steadily dropping well below the standards maintained by India and China. There are many research studies, numerous articles and news reports to corroborate this.
Yet, even with some the brainiest, most educated of people, India lags far behind in being able to create world leaders when it comes to Businesses, Innovation and Technology.
Yes, there are many companies in India that are truly global and are competing with the best in the world. However, these are more the exceptions than the rule.
Indians in general seem to be great at taking an idea, improvising on it, adding efficiencies and making it better. The whole concept of ‘Jugaad’ is based on this very premise… taking something that exists and finding a way to use it more effectively.
Where we lack is in devising the idea itself.
If we were to look at all the technology-based successes across the world over the last few decades, a large number of them have stemmed from the U.S. Most of these companies employ a large number of Indians as part of their development teams. However the ideation, the concept and the vision was something that came from an entrepreneur based in the U.S.
Any successful businessperson will agree that the best ideas are ideas that ‘feel right’. It is about seeing an opportunity, thinking creatively and identifying a ‘winning proposition’ before someone else does. The processes, systems and execution are secondary to the ‘big idea’.
This is one area where most Indians fail. Indians in general, are diligent, hard working and respectful of authority. They toe the line and deliver what they are asked to. Take them out of this defined environment, however, and they will flounder.
Not for the lack of education, but for the overabundance of it.
The education system in India, works hard at creating disciplined, well-behaved children, whose heads are full of crammed up theories. What we lack is the ability to use these theories in real life.
By the time a child goes through their K-12 education, their creativity, lateral thinking and ideation skills are effectively wiped out. By the time they finish their post graduation, they are white-collar clones, perfect for jobs that require them to work without thinking.
Among all the challenges that India faces, the education challenges it needs to address, are among the biggest and most pressing.
If India is to compete globally, we will need to devise a way to modify the learning process, so that we encourage creativity as well as thinking laterally and out of the box.
Not changing our approach to education, will lead to perpetuation of the current scenario, where most of us will always follow, but never lead.
You may disagree with my point of view, but consider this… Some of the most successful businesses in India are promoted, owned and run by relatively undereducated people.
Is it because they are born entrepreneurs… or is it because their minds have not been brainwashed by the education system?