Mumbai Airport – 1974 – a couple of young men were going to America for further studies, clutching the RBI endorsed passport, accompanied by the entire family, neighbors and loved ones some of them red eyed from crying and worrying all night, garlanded, red tikkaoed and carrying the auspicious coconut.
Circa 2014 – airport is teeming with young boys and girls, accompanied by friends, casually dressed, confident and well aware of crossing the seven seas for an “ American University “ education and experience. Some will never come back, some will be grudgingly forced to return, some will make it big and some will live a better life in an unknown place and make it home.
Ever wondered, what drives this huge migration of people, what makes parents even with a heavy heart, send their only daughter or son to a country so far away, why everyone is willing put everything at stake for this. Why some just want to bolt out of the door?
Don’t look too far for the answer, just visit any of our schools / colleges. Just visit a ongoing class or leaf thru the text book of any standard and you will have the answer. Is it our students ? Is it our teachers ? Is it our mindset ? Is it our education system ? The same children excel in schools and colleges abroad. There are countless examples of some of the best teachers, management gurus abroad being from India. So what gives ??
The findings will be shocking, barring a few modern day “ expensive “ schools and “ hard to get into “ colleges, most of the other education syllabus, methodologies and paedogogy being used is probably around 10 to 15 years behind in terms of relevance and application.
Globally the push towards relevant & practical education, S.T.E.M education and embracing technology has reached a crescendo, while here unfortunately here we have not even hit the first note on the first chord.
Skill Development may be the most overused and under appreciated word since the verdict of the general election verdict 2014. India is lucky to have leader who understands that this is the need of the hour and is making the right noises in the right direction.
When the Honorable Prime Minister, spoke on competing with China, he spoke on Speed / Scale and Skill, trust me, forget China, we need this to compete with us, to compete with ourselves and to stop this massive brain drain. We need an education syllabus which at its very heart needs to be relevant , STEM focused and which can empower our teachers to bring out the best in our youth. We need our educations systems to be more learning oriented then result oriented . We need the institutions to embrace technology and modern day teaching methodologies which mean much more than a smart board and a projector. We need subjects like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, Biomechanics and Scratch Programming to be introduced at younger levels. This will create awareness, generate interests and also expose these children to technologies & teachings of the future.
We need the education program to be robust, flexible and more practical, we need this at an affordable cost and we need this change at breathtaking speed so that we can cover the difference of 15 years of back dated education and make our children ready for 2030.
The choice is clear, Unbound & Outbound – one frees from bonds and bristles towards a new and promising future which can seep down to the bottom of the pyramid, the other is an escape route for an elite few and like one said in a movie “ Lighting a light in stranger’s home “. The choice is for India to make.
– Kaushal Chheda, Partner, iRobokid.