‘Learning to learn should be given more importance than what is actually being learnt,’ recommends Zaki Ansari.

Twenty years of schoolin’
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid — Robert Allen Zimmerman

The new education policy is thoughtless.

It is blind to India’s education crisis and lacks an emergency response.

In fact, it is not new, it is a rearrangement.

What problems is the new policy solving for?

Are those problems worth it?

Does the policy consider the pace of change needed to make its effort meaningful?

India has a triple problem: One, it needs to skill its masses in vocations that will improve their well-being in the near future.

Two, it needs to fix its higher education for quality and quantity.

Three, it needs to make education accessible to all as quickly as possible in spite of the missing teachers and infrastructure.

The new education policy does not focus on skilling the poor with vocational training.

There is no focus on defining quality in education or measuring it; and ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’.

For higher education, there is no effort towards achieving the Humboldtian vision: ‘That education is a means of realising individual possibility rather than a way of drilling traditional ideas into the youth to suit them for an already established occupation or social role.’

India’s young can be an asset only when they are skilled and educated.

Otherwise, they are a burden.

Nevertheless, the education deficit looks insurmountable, at least by current methods of schooling.

Incremental steps will not do.

India faces intellectual demise.

There is no time.

It needs an overhaul, a revolution.

The choice is to do something radical about it right now or suffer widespread misery.

Not mere economic misery, but true misery that comes from masses of uneducated people decaying into bigotry and dogma.

Instead of being radical, the new education policy is a simplistic upgrade to the methods of the West.

What is best for the West may not be for India, which has a different education problem.

To be ‘new’, the education policy should have completely overhauled the system with the focus on the poor, skill development, and above all, education for the joy of it.


Fantasy education policy

Instead of critiquing the finer point of a non-policy, I am going to imagine a fresh one.

Before you read any further, here’s a disclaimer and some words of caution: The author is not an educationist. Nor is he well educated. Neither is he a specialist or an expert in any particular domain.

When he imagined an education policy for India it was a fantasy, much like children pitting superheroes against villainous teachers, or adults building sport teams with impossible talent.

This is a fantasy policy that may spark alternative debates.

Of course, a serious matter like educating India must eventually be left to the well-educated experts.

With that click-wrap behind me, time to snap out my claws…



Zaki Ansari (external link) is a partner at Sigmoid Frogs, an Internet strategy consulting firm.
After spending nearly 20 years in journalism, more than 10 of them at Rediff.com, Zaki moved into the Internet and content strategy space.
He says: “I work with specialists, but remain a generalist, toiling in spaces between departments; a place where inventions happen. I used to be a copy editor. Now, I am a content jockey, jamming with online readers who are writers too.”


*Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes.


Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com


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