Most of us are products of the modern education system. As we strive to make the system better for our children, it is important to reassess what we mean by ‘getting an education.’ The most prevalent metric for assessing the country’s state of education is the literacy rate. If you can read and write a simple sentence in any of India’s official languages, you are considered literate.

For a long time, a reasonable literacy rate was considered a mark of a sound education system. However, we now realize that merely reading and writing is not enough to qualify as having a good education. A well-educated person now means someone who has good values, is creative and knows how to solve problems. Instruction now includes personality development, character building, and creative pursuits in addition to academic knowledge. School is supposed to prepare children for the real world, including the ability to know right from wrong and make good choices. If we look at these aspects, the Indian education system’s state is much more distorted.

The Difference

Literacy is a part of education. One could even call it the first stage of education- Once you learn to read and write, a whole new world is accessible to you. Especially with the Internet, you can learn and gain mastery of a wide variety of subjects. There is no limit to what you can learn, should you choose to learn. On the other hand, a good education is what happens after you become literate. The knowledge you gain, the skills you acquire, and the values you follow are all part of your education. Your literacy enables you to tread the path towards a good education. A good education is necessary to become a moral, upstanding citizen in society. It also gives you the ability to follow your dreams and achieve success in life. A good education can be the wind beneath your wings in the flight towards your goals.

The outcome of the modern education system

Does the modern education system only make us literate, not educated? Well, the answer is yes… and no. For a large part of the population, such as those in rural areas and those below the poverty line, the education system is only a means of gaining literacy, not education. There is a vast disparity in education quality that people from different strata of society receive. Even those living in urban areas do not have access to quality education, as there are very few schools and even fewer teachers committed to providing wholesome education to their students.

Today, most adults do not remember what they learned in school and do not apply or use that knowledge in any sphere of their life. This gap between the content of the education they received and the nearly absent application of it proves the system ineffective. If we consider at-risk children, a good education could be the difference between a good life and a life on society’s fringes. A chief function of education is to mould children into good citizens who hold up the responsibilities of being a good citizens and becoming contributing members of society. When we look at the rising crime rates and juvenile crime, it is clear that everyone in the school system is not receiving a good education in school.

The need of the hour

The challenge lies in changing the decades-old mentality of rote learning and the teacher-centric teaching method. To truly change education and ensure that students turn out literate and educated, we first need schools to realize the flaw in their system. Education needs to become much more student-centric, emphasizing creative thinking, curiosity, independent learning, and cultivating a genuine desire to learn, rather than mugging up facts for scoring marks.

It only follows that this change needs a different teacher training method and a few tweaks in the assessment system. We need to assess students’ understanding and learning of the concepts and their creative application rather than their memory power. As for teachers, they need to be equipped with tools that help them cater to students’ needs with different abilities and help them cultivate a positive attitude around learning in the classroom. Just like how Schoolmojo offers interactive learning modules and flipped classrooms which genuinely helps in the upliftment of the educational standards the students receive there is no way out.

This change needs to be implemented at every level, starting from the grassroots. Unless every child receives the education they deserve, we cannot hope to refine the education system. The children are the future of the world, and to ensure a better future, we need to educate children today, not just make them literate.

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