01 July 2012

Education and employability

This affternoon during lunch, I happened to watch a TV debate on our school and university education system with particular reference to (i) education quality and (ii) employability of graduates in the industrial sector. It was telecast in Podhigai channel (Government of India run channel beaming out from Chennai). Participants included all stakeholders: Teachers, parents and students.  As with many such programmes, this programme was also thought provoking. Though the participants touched on almost all important issues (many of which are blushed under the carpet by Universities) none of them seemed to consider the abnormal quantity of our K-12 lesson materials as a bottleneck.

Today, with mushrooming number of `deemed' universities with diluted norms of teacher recruitment (reflected by classroom scenrio in many colleges and university departments where graduates with B E ot B Tech teach B E and B Tech classes) beside age old corruption at all levels, it is no wonder that Corporates find the quality of newly graduated engineers low. News reports and surveys endorse this fact with ample evidences. Though media publicity is targeted mainly on Engineering education, same is true in other professional areas as well.

Within the K-12 system in our country,  though there are many causes such as teacher training and lack of organisational infrastructure, I think that the main casue is  quantity driven syllabus, as I have always been mentioning. (A simple google search for our K-12 school syllabi can reveal the truth in my statement).

Another cause is our wrong assessment system at the Higher Secondary level. As Classes 9 and 11 textbook contents are not included in Board Exams at the end of Classes 10 and 12 respectively, as some students revealed in a TV programme recently, many schools do not teach these portions at all. Obviously, though students obtain even 100% in Board Exams (without knowing anything from Class 9 and Class 11 materials), they are not able to get into job market or higher education.

The first step on our road to better quality education is to revamp the syllabus so that our students are equipped with knoweldge, skills and attitudes appropriate in today's global economy. The second step  is develop appropriate quality oriented textbooks and other learning materials. Third step is to train teachers in a more effective  manner than at present. Fourth step is to revamp the Exam pattern. Once these are accomplished, those who pass out from Class 12 can fit into employment or higher education easily.

It is good that syllabus boards sush as Tamilnadu State Board have recently  begun working on the issue. These boards should monitor improvements in a structured and focussed manner and manage changes. on a consistent basis.

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.