by Sasha Alyson
We recently asked people in 15 diverse countries, via Twitter, what they thought their schools focus on. Here’s the final tally:
Country-by-country details and comments are at What do schools actually teach?
In most countries, the picture was entirely gloomy. In India, alone, there were several comments that education quality was improving. Also, young people (ages 13-24) thought schools were less likely to “teach for the test” than their older counterparts. So we followed up by posing a question only to people in India, asking if they thought education quality was improving, and if so, why.
Unfortunately, the answers did not support that earlier impression. Here are typical comments:
Yuvraj Chadha: It is certainly not improving. Students, parents and teachers only care about exams.
RaNa: While we still have a long way to go, I believe the recent changes to the curriculums and method of teaching/learning has indeed improved. There is also some focus on extra curricular activity which was missing until the recent past. Yet, more can be done and more needs to be.
Anupam Vaid: This could well be a response on accessibility rather than quality of schools, the growth in the number of ‘schools’ has been explosive… Sadly, education remains a scramble for grades rather than learning.
Oldman: In india, it’s not improving at any stage that matters. While you have more and more innovative pre-schools that are only accessible to super-rich, most of the education from primary to doctorate level is aimed at passing grades…. While most primary and secondary schools in most countries would have ‘passing tests’ attitude. In india a majority percentage of graduate to doctorate level education, outside a select good schools, is completely meaningless. This is horrible and hardly seen anywhere else.
Dilshad S: Because schools are thought control machines and we Indians have much better ones that they make us even appreciate our slavery.
The Navy Guy: Actually it’s deteriorating & the irony is, cost of the education is increasing manifolds…. The students are being programmed whether it’s Latur pattern OR Kota pattern. Disappointing ….
Sachin Yadav: It’s definitely “pass the test” for majority of schools. You are always reminded that if you score so much you will get this amazing job. The students are always focussed on preparing for tests. This mentality is also used to make money by opening coaching centers.
raamee: Haha. Indians know that ‘passing the test’ shows the education quality is improving.
India is a vast and diverse country, of course, so conditions may vary from one region to another, between cities and countryside, and certainly by income levels. These comments suggest that overall, in India as in most of the world, a great many people feel the schools are failing them.
Top photo: Students in India by José Antonio Morcillo Valenciano (Creative Commons license CC-BY-2.0)