Deepmala 24 – On Building the New Young India

I always feel that India has a great future. There are several reasons for it and one of the primary reasons is the emergence of the young India, when the rest of the developed world is getting old. As per the demographic projection by the year 2015, over half of our population will be less than 20 years old. This part of our population is either just born or is about to be born. What it means is that we have a tremendous opportunity to focus on these young people, who are going to decide the destiny of the nation in the 21st century.

Youth represents the national strength, vitality and vigour. Therefore, this young India will play a crucial role in the development and upliftment of the nation. If properly moulded, the youth can become the champion of our culture, custodian of our national pride and a trustee of the freedom of the country. But the process of such moulding requires the right type of education right from childhood. Unfortunately, we are not equipped to provide such education to our children today? Why do I feel this way?

I feel that our education is not child centred. It is centered around text books, rigid unimaginative curricula, ill designed classroom teaching and an outdated examination system. An Indian child is forced to learn by rote, and its individuality and inquisitiveness is curbed.

Classroom learning within the four walls of the schools may be important, but what the child learns by self-observation outside the classroom is even more important. A child must become an active participant in the process of learning through observation, field studies, experiments and discussions. A child’s individuality and creativity needs to be given due importance in our education. Further, it is not the innovation in curriculum alone that will help, but what must receive priority is the reorientation of the outlook of the teachers, and overhauling of the examination system, so that it recognizes and evaluates creativity and new thinking rather than memorization of facts. Our system of examination, which is based on a single correct answer, must change. Problem solving to find multiple innovative solutions must become priority. The schools must move from becoming educational centres to knowledge centres and skill centres.

If we do this, the new young India will be resurgent and dynamic and a world leader.