The educational system in India has been a product of historical discourse. Starting from the Gurukul age and spanning into the present digital age, we have traveled many miles. In the traditional system of education, choice of primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions was limited as they were fewer in number. In the modern system of educational pedagogy, NBA accredited colleges have proliferated. The rise in the number of these colleges can be attributed to different types of education policies that we have followed. Not only have we encouraged autonomous institutions but we have also facilitated the development of numerous colleges that are affiliated to universities.
The traditional model of education
The traditional model of education that was followed in India was a product of Colonial rule. It all started in the late 19th century when the British felt the need of developing a class of people that would cater to their administrative needs. The promotion of education in the English language was given preference over the vernacular language. According to some scholars, this eroded the fabric of vernacular language in the country which continues till date. Although a large number of institutions like Asiatic Society and Fort William college were developed for training civil servants, the outreach of these institutions was largely limited. Consequently, only some of the beneficiaries from the middle-class were able to enter the civil services and a large percentage of civil servants came from outside. It was in 1854 that the British came up with Wood’s Despatch Act. This is regarded as the Magna Carta of English education in India. It focused on vernacular education at the lower level or primary level and a mix of English language and vernacular language at the secondary level. English was to be promoted as a medium of instruction at the tertiary level. In this way, the growth of education occured in India through the download filtration model.
The 20th century model
As India gained independence in 1947, the educational model was slated for a drastic change. It was in the Nehruvian era that the idea of Indian Institute of Technology was conceived. These institutions were deemed to facilitate the growth story in the education sector. Different kinds of ITIs were set up to facilitate skill development. The limitation with this model was its prevalence at the national level and the lack of penetration at the grass root level. It was in 1968 that a new education policy came up and suggested the development of different types of NBA accredited colleges so that education becomes more decentralized in nature. This education policy was revised in 1986 to review the growth of institutions in the last two decades.
Post globalization model
The educational model in the post globalization era synchronized with education of the developed countries. A policy framework was conceived in which Indian institutions would collaborate with foreign institutions so that innovation becomes more visible. In the post globalization model, the Indian system of education witnessed a paradigm shift as education became more privatized. Globalization served the Indian education system in three major aspects. Firstly, it facilitated more creativity at the primary level of education. This was perfectly in line with the Reggio Emilia model that was followed in the west. Secondly, it facilitated vocational training at the secondary level. This was in consonance with the practical model of learning that is followed in most of the developed countries. Thirdly, it facilitated an increased collaboration between the Indian education system and some of the leading universities of the world. It was in this context that student exchange programs as well as faculty exchange programs became much more prominent than ever before.
21st century model
The education model that we followed in the 21st century was consolidation of the existing educational policies that we had pursued earlier. Technology was given much more consideration than ever before. The digital model of learning became much more prominent. Smart classrooms gave a new lease of life to the education system that was lagging behind as compared to the developed countries. The aim of education became much more progressive and focus was on innovation as well as skill development at an early age. The Kasturirangan Commission was constituted and it facilitated the birth of draft national education policy in 2019. Different recommendations and suggestions were sought from various stakeholders. These suggestions were incorporated into the draft policy and the new education policy witnessed the light of the day in June 2020. The new education policy sought long-term vision for reforming the education system at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. It also gave focus on the bottom up approach rather than the top-down approach.
In the post pandemic era, we have realized the potential of online educational systems in facilitating the process of self discovery at an early stage. Needless to mention, online educational systems have technologically outsourced the process of teaching and learning. The evaluation systems have also witnessed a paradigm shift in the form of CBT examinations. In addition to this, digital skills have become much more prominent than ever before.
Henceforth, the future of education would be greatly shaped by new online learning methodologies and pedagogies.