India is rife with socioeconomic problems that need solving. New age social entrepreneurship led by dynamic social entrepreneurs is the only way to steer our country towards development in the real sense.
The problem is not so much about changing the system, as it is with changing the mindset.
Children are under severe parental pressure right from their early schooling days to study for better marks; not so much to be a better or an all-round person. Once they reach Class 10th and 12th the goal shifts towards studying for a swanky college seat and after that to have a fat paying job, then a house and so on and so forth.
In this whole rat race, aren’t we missing out on something crucial? The need for real learning. Isn’t education supposed to make us better persons and effective problem-solvers rather than handing us over a mere degree? The present day system of education ignores the softer aspects of conditioning children into better human beings. Moral science is just another free session and an internal subject where 100 percent marks are doled out as freebies to help students pass.
Children are not taught about the values of being a good human being. They are not conditioned to go out and face real life problems, look for solutions and solve them in the real world.
Shrreya Bhatachaarya, a new graduate in computer engineering who did her schooling in ICSE board says, “We had a subject called Socially Useful Productive Work (SUPW). But we never did anything under that. It was there just for namesake and we all got ‘A’ grade in that without actually doing anything. We have always been taught by our parents as well as teachers to look at our education as a means to get a well-paying job, our ticket to a secured life and not as a means to acquiring knowledge to solve social problems.
All the jobs in this world are nothing but providing solutions to some or other social problem or need at different demographic levels. But all our life, especially in India, we look at social problems as some natural extensions of our societal existence and do not feel the compelling need to look at them as opportunity to do something about it through a sustainable, scalable, innovative, social impact enterprise.”
“An Engineer Can Only Be An Engineer And Nothing Else”
Creativity and the passion to pursue it does not have a set path or a prerequisite. In India, children are misguided, yes, misguided into believing that once they have chosen a subject preference towards a professional course, they would not be in a position to do anything different. Creativity has no place in our society as a viable career option. Acting or dancing as a career is met with doubts, questions and lots of unwanted ‘tauba tauba’!
A professional stream does not determine the passion of an individual. Doing good doesn’t need a degree or a certificate. Take for instance social entrepreneurs like Sujay Santra of iKure, Rahul Panicker of Embrace Innovations, or Pranil Naik of LeapForWord. These are a bunch of dynamic social entrepreneurs who not only left their high paying mainstream occupations to channel their inner passion of creating an impact through their social enterprises but also picked up social issues that they were not formally trained to address.
Volunteering As A Part of Education Curriculum
Mr Ganesh Parameswaran, the Principal of Bal Bharati Public School in Navi Mumbai feels that our education system is too text bookish and all non-scholastic team activities tend to encourage team building and problem solving. He also opines, “Academic, administrative and financial autonomy for schools coupled with no top down approach from government will help to do meaningful activities in school” to encourage entrepreneurial talent and ambition.
This view from an academician himself points to a serious flaw in our current education system. Schools and universities in the western countries have volunteering as a crucial part of their school curriculum where students are motivated to take on high-level activities like arranging fundraisers, starting campaigns, etc. We are not even remotely close to this in India.
Benison Joseph, a student and Chapter Head at CRY – Roorkee Chapter shared his views on Quora. He says, “Community service and volunteering, when done in the right spirit, will be a great exposure and experience for the student. It can widen their perspectives and understanding of the world around them.
Being a part of an NGO’s student chapter in IIT Roorkee for more than two years, I have been through a great deal of experience and have seen how it was for many of the students.
Going out there will let you into an India that you never knew. That not only lack of education is a problem but the quality received by many in India is very alarming. There are kids in grade 5 who can’t read a three-letter English word all though their notebooks have long English question and answer sentences written for exams. Read the full thread.
Making volunteering or community service compulsory will only defeat its purpose. Instead, children need to be made aware of it to motivate them to be a part of any community service activity. We want our children to feel empathy, face and understand real challenges at ground zero. We don’t need only businessmen and corporate professionals, we need problem solvers and this change is necessary to teach our children to feel, understand and think in the direction of turning the negatives into positives.
The intent for Volunteering needs to come from within. WorkTeen is an online platform, created by school students for school students that helps them connect with NGOs, social enterprises, and corporate organizations for internships, volunteering and research opportunities.
We need people who can steer the country towards a better future. We don’t need machines who can only mint money and create profits for big corporations. We need visionaries like Elon Musk and Al Gore who are doing everything in their power to heal this planet through their solutions.
Making Volunteering or Community Service a key part of the education curriculum could shape students and their minds into creating innovative enterprises that bring about positive disruption at a societal level.