What is wrong with Indian education system?

I asked my kindergarten going brother, randomly a few questions.

Out of which a question was ‘How are you ?’

He said firmly, ‘Fine, Thank You’ without a blink.

അങ്ങനെ വെച്ചാൽ എന്താ? , I asked him next in our mother tongue, malayalam.

(Translation: What does that mean? )

He replied again innocently, much slower this time,

‘Fine , Thank You… it is…’

It took me a while to make him understand my question.

But he didn’t have an answer to it. He kept mum but kept looking at me with a smile and tongue out.

I call this the very fundamental problem with our Indian education system.

73 thoughts on “What is wrong with Indian education system?”

  1. Thank you for your reply Euphrates. If he goes to an English Medium school , then they are preparing him to have English as his first language thus they do not rely on explaining sentences to him in another language and do not expect parents to do so. I am a French teacher in a school in India, and when I teach the language I never give the kids the meaning of sentences in English, they have to understand it on their own , I have even taught French to kids as young as 2 and the language used in the class was always French and never English , no matter how unconformable that made them feel at the beginning; I use English only in extreme cases. A parent might ask his child a meaning of a French sentence in English to which the kid at the age of 2 , 3 might not be able to give an answer to, but she is quite aware in which context it is used. You can evaluate his understanding through a scene, I assume apart from I am fine , he might be also knowing other sentences or adjectives like sad, upset etc for expressing how he feels. You can ask him the question using images of his favorite character that display different emotions, for this you can use a tablet for instance . Then ask him to describe what he sees, if he still can’t say he is and she is then saying the adjective will suffice; though if he is between 3 to 4 , he should be able to reply in complete sentences , if he doesn’t , you confirm his answer using the full sentence, do not try to go to his level, speak an authentic language of your level . If he only knows fine, then he can answer by simply saying no or yes to closed questions put by you, though this is very unlikely . Through this, you would evaluate his understanding of en existing knowledge and you will also engage with him in a conversation where you expose him to hearing structures of complete sentences. If through this evaluation, you feel that he is not able to understand what fine and so on meant or produce enough sentences of his level to engage in a basic conversation , then you should conclude that there is a problem and that the concept is really not clear to him. Also check this article to see the language skills he has in his age https://www.webmd.com/parenting/3-to-4-year-old-milestones#1 so your evaluation is pertinent . . I know that it is not easy to trust an education system that is struggling so much , especially that the majority of the schools these days are corporate schools and only care about the number and the profit. Moreover, all the imported new approaches are not well implemented so I totally understand your concern and I hope I had a much better reply but I answered within my capacity as a language teacher . * Sorry for the long comment.

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    1. Sorry for the late reply. This is making me think. By this logic, I should see a better understanding student by the time they reach the higher grades. But, I don’t see that changing in majority of the cases. If it was just a fine, thank you in KGs, it transcends to other subjects. Maybe I was wrong to point out a language/communication oriented one. Here the real concern is rote learning!

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  2. I’ve done my graduation in Bach of Elementary Education and we were taught there to rectify this very mistake that schools make. It’s all about teaching children how to rote memorise things that are purely abstract in nature! There’s no stress on having them experience and explore, which leave thems clueless if someone questions them this way outside the school! School knowledge is, after all, to prepare them to get good marks in their exams !

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      1. The first thing here is to analyse the speech and writing of the child. There are a lot of methods for that. We first see what knowledge the child has, how much he/she has understood… Does he understand the meaning of what he is saying, like you said your brother just said a line in english and he didn’t really know what it meant. While I was doing my internship, I had to use techniques like error analysis, miscue analysis etc. They help you in understanding where the child is having difficulty, is it with the semantics, or the syntax and other forms. Then there are various methods to correct the part where the child is having difficulty. As in our course we are taught to teach children using innovative techniques and methods, we used to take help of games, stories, movies and lots of other things. What you can do here is try clearing his abstract concept first, he needs to understand the abstract using concrete egs… Like u could use board games, short stories, picture books, focus more on how well he is able to understand the words and sentences that he uses. And it’s very important in the beginning that one ignores mistakes in the sentence formation.

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        1. Reading is very important here. He should be encouraged to read short stories, even picture books. That’ll help him a lot! And never force him to read one particular type of book, or if he doesn’t want to read, play games with him, encourage him to read words and hints in a game, slowly you’ll see that his confidence builds.

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          1. That is wonderful!
            A lot of freedom to children basically. More of understanding themsleves than teaching.
            I hope such methods come into action soon enough.
            A big thank you again!
            Very helpful it was.

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            1. Thank you for bringing this out. Not many people worry about such things, they consider this to be a trivial matter, although it needs proper attention and necessary steps need to be taken soon.

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  3. It is indeed a problem thay our kids are being taught an alien language first and then, much later, their mothertongue. It’s no different from my own daughter who is picking up English along with an accent, but who’s Hindi is just as accented as if she were a foreigner. I wonder why, when most advanced nations stress on mothertongue do we have to still live in the British Raj era.

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