“By getting small children accustomed to spiritedly copying the teacher’s words, teachers undermine the democratic ideal of individual freedom and equality.” Wrote professor at Delhi University and a former director of NCERT, Krishna Kumar in one of his columns in a popular tabloid. The statement was mentioned in relation to his opposition to the popular practice of chorus recitations in schools till date.
The article besides this statement mainly argued the plight of teachers training or teacher’s education which makes individuals in process of becoming teachers empowered and capable to teach after the completion of their course.
Coming back to the first statement which drew my attention, where the writer mentions about democratic ideal of individual freedom and equality. I completely agree to the remark he makes. But this also brings me to this point where I feel like questioning the entire Civic Education of the country or Political Science as it is renamed as. If promoting democratic ideals and making good citizens was the motive of our education system then civic education would not have been looked down as just a simple subject that can aggregate your overall marks.
At the school level Civic Education or Political Science is just seen as a easy subject which can help one score well. Its textbooks does not have the content to some extent to transform citizens into better ones nor is it taught in the manner where it will serve this purpose. Parroting and learning just for exams is the attitude that effects this subject as well. To make things even worse after school if you opt for humanities i.e. Arts you will be dealing with the subject if you opt for it specifically or in some way in the compulsory papers that are offered in the course. However if you opt for Commerce or Science this paper will not bother you at all. The question that I would like to ask here is, aren’t these students citizens first? Isn’t there a need for them to learn about how to become better citizens and contribute in making the country a better place?
I think there is a need to introduce some kind of an intervention in the current system where at least some modules of their course every year can introduce them to the various important aspects of civic education till they graduate and postgraduate irrespective of whichever subject that they opt for.
The importance of a good civic education system in making responsible, informed citizens needs no reiteration. Thus, it becomes even more important for a growing democracy like ours which has new participants every five years to be responsible and educated enough to take part in governance and its related subjects. Politics don’t exist in vacuum, everything is political and we will have to deal with it. It is not that an engineer or a business man will never require to get into the political realm. In fact as a student of political science I believe everything comes under the purview of politics and governance and therefore it becomes even more important for an individual to study political science.
A healthy civic education syllabus backed by appropriate teaching, will help inculcating the sense of responsible citizens in the generation next. I wish civic education is taken more seriously in the country because inculcation of these ideas of democracy will only give us a better India in the years to come.