The biggest issue facing this country is the magnitude of uneducated unemployed, says Dr. M R Jayaram, Chairman, M.S. Ramaiah Group of Institutions. There is a huge dearth of skills and these skills are not related to medicine, engineering and such but raw skills such as carpentry, masons, blacksmiths to name a few as our education system is lopsided, without provision for imparting these, opines Dr. M.R. Jayaram.
Discussing the state of education in our country at length , Dr. M.R. Jayaram averred that there is an urgent need to rethink our current education criteria, the manner of functioning, the quality offered as well as the curriculum and field based training techniques incorporated.
According to him, a couple of decades earlier, the segment opting for higher education after completing basic education was barely 10 per cent. “This is not the case now. Yet, instead of focusing on imparting skill based education for these new aspirants, we continue to focus on mass education,” he says.
What is worse, we permit our students on graduating from institutes like the IIITs, which are heavily funded by the government, to leave the country in pursuit of a job in a foreign land, he adds. “Where is the accountability for the public funds spent on their education,” he asks. There are no doctors in the rural areas in spite of having so many medical institutes as well as students graduating from them, he laments. “There must be a system where it is mandatory for them to serve in rural areas besides recovering the cost of subsidies doled out to premier engineering institutes.”
Another factor proving to be a bane in the Indian education system is the quality of education imparted, according to Dr. M.R. Jayaram. “Education should be outcome based where practical training is accessible, skills are nurtured. Scientific knowledge can thrive only in such a scenario.” He also adds that the numbers in each class makes a difference in the quality of education imparted.
“In our institute, we have a limited number of students in each batch and this is so in all branches of study, be it medicine, dental, engineering, humanities. We keep this number down even though we have facilities to take on more students, merely to ensure quality of training remains high.”
Jayaram also questioned the decision of the government to permit more colleges to operate when there not many students willing to join. “It is a waste of infrastructure if it remains underutilised,” he stated. “We focus on increasing infrastructure for higher education but a large number of students opt to leave the country to pursue this, paying thirty times more. The reason purely is the quality of our education which continues to remain at low levels. The government needs to address this, bring in accountability besides making India an education hub for higher learning for students across the globe.”
Wondering loudly as to how many of the Indian institutions of higher learning had the capacity to challenge well known universities abroad in terms of quality of education imparted, Jayaram contended that the government should retain the right to cancel university status of those institutes which do not meet the criteria. “Our institutions should be accountable as well as open for scrutiny to ensure quality is not compromised.”
He further added that diplomas awarded in various fields should not be to facilitate supervisory work but to create skills where a carpenter, mason, electrician acquires the skills and works on the shop floor of factories, earning better incomes than he would without such education. He blamed the welfare schemes pursued by many State Governments for taking away the incentive amongst village populace to study and thence seek employment. “Instead of welfare schemes, focus should be on empowering them with skills to become independent and generate income.”
When queried on the path that Ramaiah Institute has taken over the decades in terms of attitude towards the manner of imparting education as well as the standards laid, Jayaram stated that the perspectives and approaches have to change over time “as what is relevant two decades back may not be now and what is pertinent currently may be outdated a decade from now. Change happens with time. But quality is not compromised.”