homeviews NewsCall for overhaul: We teach useless things in school and create unemployable youth

Call for overhaul: We teach useless things in school and create unemployable youth

Call for overhaul: We teach useless things in school and create unemployable youth
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By Vijay Kumar Gaba  Feb 18, 2020 1:31:19 PM IST (Published)

The government must immediately undertake a total and comprehensive review of the education and training ecosystem in the country.

Last weekend, sitting outside a coaching centre for commerce students, waiting for my daughter to finish her mathematics coaching class, I made the following three observations:

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(1)   The Accounting syllabus for 12th class commerce students includes chapters on issues and forfeiture of equity share capital, issue and redemption of debentures, analysis of financial statements, preparing cash flow statements, and accounting for partnership admission, retirement, and death including preparing receiver's account.
The latest available data from the Ministry of Human Resource Development indicates that not more than 11 percent commerce students enroll for graduation courses. May be another 2 percent enroll for professional courses such as CA.
Being a CA, I know for sure that an average CA does never get an opportunity to do any of the mentioned things that are being taught to 12th class students.
Most of the 12th class commerce students would not know how to do book-keeping using commonly used accounting software like Telly; manage bank accounts; operate cash register in a retail store; operate a digital payment PoS; compile data for periodic GST returns or operate MS-Excel (spreadsheet). These are the jobs a class 12th pass commerce student is most likely to get after passing out from school.
Having these skills is even more critical if the student has to start his/her own small business or join the family business after passing out from school.
Stress for students 
The syllabus for 11th and 12th class commerce students should therefore logically be designed assuming that the students will seek a job or manage a business of their own after passing out. The present syllabus is thousands of miles further from this path. The consequences are high instance of unemployment and underemployment and avoidable stress for students.
(2)   The coaching centre had a number of students from middle and lower middle class families. The average fee for 12th class mathematics coaching is Rs 2,000/month which is 3-4 percent of an average lower-middle-class household income. As per the coaching centre faculty, mathematics takes more than one-third of the study time for an average commerce student.
It is totally inexplicable to me why on earth 12th class commerce students need to study topics like calculus, integration and vectors. They should rather be taught simple arithmetic like compounding, time value of money, etc.
Many students opt for mathematics as a subject because many graduate and professional courses mandatorily require it. It is also yet not clear why students of B. Com (Hons) need to learn complex mathematics.
The common perception is that mathematics gives unnecessary stress to the commerce students. Besides, consuming disproportionate time of the students, it causes a significant drain on the resources of the parents also. The worst part is that everyone knows that this is totally useless study for them.
(3)   A large number of students take coaching for English also. The examination system allocates 30 percent marks for English Literature. The coaching faculty told me that most school teachers do not understand literature and therefore not able to teach the students properly. Besides, none of the students who come for coaching are interested in studying literature. They just come so that we dictate them the answers to the "important questions" that are likely to come in the examination.
In these circumstances, would it not be better if literature is taught as a free subject (no examination) with the objective to make students better human beings who are sensitive, civilised, compassionate, aware, and tolerant.
With a huge number of unemployed, underemployed, unemployable and employed in disguised youth, rising socio-economic inequalities, burgeoning aspirations, increasingly shrinking blue-collar jobs, stagnant wages which are awfully short in meeting youth aspirations, we are staring at (for lack of a better word) Latinisation of our society -- drugs, crime and sex becoming a way of life for the youth who finds it hard to find meaningful occupation and lacks resources for professional training and education.
Checks and balances
The rising number of cases of petty crimes, drug-related crimes and arrests, sex-related crimes, daylight robberies and cybercrimes provide ample evidence that we are moving fast in that direction. For now, perhaps the religion and traditions are providing some checks and balances, but this resistance may not last much longer. Once we slip into the abyss, it may take decades to come out. Remember, the Naxal movement that started in 1960s under similar circumstances is still alive in some parts of the country.
The government must immediately undertake a total and comprehensive review of the education and training ecosystem in the country.
The circumstances, in fact, warrant that the syllabus for each class after the 8th standard ought to be designed as if that is the last year of study for the respective students. The syllabus and training must prepare the student for the job they will get if their studies end after that particular class.
Vijay Kumar Gaba explores the treasure you know as India, and shares his experiences and observations about social, economic and cultural events and conditions. He contributes his pennies to the society as Director, Equal India Foundation. The views are personal. 
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