Education, the solution to most of the problems afflicting the society isn’t always easy for its aspirants. When the whole world is focussing on literacy, which at its barest, is the ability to read and write sentences, it never focuses on higher education which is very instrumental in the augmentation and progression of the society and in turn the development of the country. In India the blame is laid on the paucity of funds towards higher education, the number of dropouts in professional colleges and the dearth of experience in these educational institutions, but the biggest reason “eligibility” is always discounted. The Right to Education is clearly for the minors and then on every step further is filled with obstacles in the name of eligibility, age and non-availability of seats.
It’s baffling that a huge percentage of students drop out despite being found fit to pursue their course after a plethora of examinations resulting in the crashing of the dreams of these young minds. The biggest reason has always been the lack of interest in the subjects chosen by them. The desire to learn, the passion to achieve is always limited to a very smaller percentage that goes on to realize their dreams that they chalked up from a very young age.
Till the tenth standard, a student studies all subjects, ranging from language, Science, Mathematics and Social science. Once he completes his tenth board exams he is forced to make the most contentious decision of his life. All of 15 years, the country he lives in qualifies him to be a minor and incapable of voting to decide what is good or bad for the country. Now he is left to decide to carve his future, that not only has serious implications to where he would end up in life, but also on how his decision would impact the country at large. At the age of 15, he rarely has a choice. Family, elders, friends, counsellors, employment prospects and future technology all play a major part in making this decision. Mostly it supersedes his passionate choice. The choice that he makes is rarely reversible.
Assuming he chooses “Commerce” that virtually ends his prospects to study Science, Mathematics or any engineering subjects. This despite the fact he studied Maths and Science for 10 long years. So if he were to realize in the next two years of his error in choice, he has no place to return. He should trundle along in the process of getting better in his choice, or drop out in pain and shame. Assuming he still graduates in his wrong choice he spends the rest of his life in a job that he always wished he wasn’t there. If he still wishes to try his mettle in any other subject of his choice the ghost of eligibility will stare at him.
The student isn’t to be blamed. It’s the system, the system that decides if He/She is good enough, based on the criteria of eligibility. All eligible students don’t always complete the course that they enrol for. The students who enrol in a particular course go through rigorous examinations before they graduate. Students who fail in these processes don’t graduate. When you have such a foolproof mechanism in place to ensure the quality of students coming out of such institutions why do these institutions insist on eligibility? Why can’t a commerce student study medicine if he believes he can. Why can’t a science student study Chartered Accountancy? Why can’t a literate 18-year-old mechanic, who is definitely more knowledgeable than the student, who enrolls for a seat in mechanical engineering, not study engineering? If a student can pay his fees and has the desire and mental faculty to study, why not? What is more essential than these to complete his course? Why do institutions hanker on “Eligibility” which has never provided the desired results?
Age and Eligibility should be done away with and institutions should welcome any aspirant who wishes to study and excel in the stream of his choice whenever he wants. The focus should be more on making the process of evaluation stricter before and after enrolment and not harp on eligibility. If there are fewer institutions the onus should be on starting many such higher educational institutions and creating more seats for eager candidates. This form of open education system would spiral interest in studies and encourage innovation and research. Our country will witness tremendous growth in every sphere as there would be more committed professionals working in their respective fields with passion and there would be very few people who are disinterested in their jobs because of their wrong choice. We should free education from its clutches of “Eligibility” and let all learn what they believe they can. A happy and successful individual forms a happy family. Happy families mean a happier society and a strong, flourishing India.