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The Indian Culture And Modern Education System Theology Religion Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Theology
Wordcount: 5444 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Education in ancient India was considered important by the society and was given to the three upper classes namely : Brahmins , Kshatriyas and Vaishya. Education in ancient India had a deep impact in the achievement and advancement of the early society and over all development. The poor were not given an opportunity to improve their lot in life. Females were also denied an education by virtue of the “fact” they would get married and so an education would be “wasted” on females. In contemporary society people have realized that an education translates into opportunity and hope for the future. The ability to get an education, to foster creativity and curiosity, to seek answers will allow mankind to continue to grow. They try to encourage all children to reach for their fullest potential. Teachers are better qualified. No longer can a child, barely in their teens, become a teacher. The brick and mortar classroom is fortunately a thing of the past. An exploration study will be done through contextual inquiry using secondary data and primary data will be collected through Focus group techniques and observation study. Managerial conclusions and suggestion will be made based on the descriptive study. This paper will discuss issues how such a development can lead to challenges to global economy.

Key words: ancient learning, education , technology , culture , globalization, automation


The Indian news media has been aflutter for the last few days, since the release of the results of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Secretariat’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which ranked India 72nd out of 73 countries. The PISA results are based on data collected from some 500,000 odd students undergoing 2-hour tests. The tests are meant to conduct comparative analyses, across vast international contexts, of 15-year-old students for “reading, mathematical and scientific literacy.” India “failed miserably,” ending up just above Kyrgyzstan, the media has scornfully noted, causing India’s performance to be variously labeled “embarrassing,” “shocking,” and “disappointing.” In the second most populous nation on the planet, with the second biggest educational system in the world, it seems that the preferred way to bring clarity to a massive, murky educational landscape would be to let statistics paint the picture cleanly and efficiently. 

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Presumably every generation, since the beginning of human existence, somehow passed on its stock of values, traditions, methods and skills to the next generation. The passing on of culture is also known as enculturation and the learning of social values and behaviors is socialization. The history of the curricula of such education reflects history itself, the history of knowledge, beliefs, skills and cultures of humanity.

As the customs and knowledge of ancient civilizations became more complex, many skills were passed down from a person skilled at the job – for example in animal husbandry, farming, fishing, food preparation, construction, military skills.

History of Indian Vedic Era of education system

The first millennium and the few centuries preceding it saw the flourishing of higher education at Nalanda, Takshashila University, Ujjain, & Vikramshila Universities. Amongst the subjects taught were Art, Architecture, Painting, Logic, mathematics, Grammar, Philosophy, Astronomy, Literature, Buddhism, Hinduism, Arthashastra (Economics & Politics), Law, and Medicine. Each university specialized in a particular field of study. Takshila specialized in the study of medicine, while Ujjain laid emphasis on astronomy. Nalanda, being the biggest centre, handled all branches of knowledge, and housed up to 10,000 students at its peak.

Indigenous education was widespread in India in the 18th century, with a school for every temple, mosque or village in most regions of the country. The subjects taught included Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Theology, Law, Astronomy, Metaphysics, Ethics, Medical Science and Religion. The schools were attended by students’ representative of all classes of society.

Education was widespread for elite young men in the 18th century, with a schools in most regions of the country. The subjects taught included Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Theology, Law, Astronomy, Metaphysics, Ethics, Medical Science and Religion.

The current system of education, with its western style and content, was introduced and founded by the British during the British Raj, following recommendations by Lord Macaulay. Traditional structures were not recognized by the British government and have been on the decline since.

Public education expenditures in the late 19th and early 20th centuries varied dramatically across regions with the western and southern provinces spending three to four times as much as the eastern provinces. Much of the inter-regional differential was due to historical differences in land taxes, the major source of revenue.

Lord Curzon, the Viceroy 1899-1905, made mass education a high priority after finding that no more than 20% of India’s children attended school. His reforms centered on literacy training and on restructuring of the university systems. They stressed ungraded curricula, modern textbooks, and new examination systems. Curzon’s plans for technical education laid the foundations which were acted upon by later governments.

Meaning of Culture

According to dictionary, meaning of the term ‘culture’, it is -an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior of a group that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations,the customary beliefs, social norms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group;

Features that reflect Culture – Culture includes within itself all the following features collectively like

Sophisticated language as medium of expression; arts and sciences as forms of human expression;

Thinking process as the way, people perceive, interpret, and understand the world around them;

social activities;

Smooth interaction with others fellow-beings; and

Spirituality as a path to salvation of soul,

All these qualities together and way of life transmitted through generations for the welfare of people, expressed through language and actions are included in culture

Culture of India

Cultural richness – India presents a fascinating picture of cultural richness, which is mainly based on Vedic literature and philosophy.  Civilization of India is one of the oldest alive civilizations of the world. Because of its tolerance and capacity of internalizing alien influences, its culture has been able to be one of the oldest, continuous and uninterrupted living culture of the world.( The other three being Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece)

Many principles and cultures developed in the past, within India as well as elsewhere in the world, had created such a wave that swept over the entire world for some time. An anti-wave, replacing such waves, emerged soon. It wiped off the previous influence. The Vedic culture and its basic tenets, however, have been proved to be an exception in this regard. It happened due to basic tenets of Vedic culture, which have always been very close to every Indian.

Vedic culture

The word ‘Vedic’ is derived from the word ‘Vid’ meaning ‘Knowledge’ and signifies’ ‘knowledge par excellence’. The Vedic culture came into being due to intermixing of the culture of Aryan invaders, who came to India in waves, with the culture of indigenous tribal people of India during 2nd century BC to 650 AD. The Indian culture is identified with the whole of India. To foreigners, it represents the ancient culture in its eternity. It mainly originated and flourished in northern parts of India and later on spread throughout India.

Origin of Vedic culture

The origin of the Vedic knowledge and its culture can not be traced in any single founder; neither can it be confined in one single authoritative text. Its sacred knowledge has been handed down from time immemorial, earlier by verbal transmission and later on, in written form by the ancestor to succeeding generations.

Never ending process – Vedas teach that creation and quest for knowledge is a constant process, without any beginning or an end. The Sages (Rishis and Munies) were believed that even Vedas were not the end for quest for knowledge or prescribes any final absolutes.

Strength of Vedic culture

The strength of Vedic culture is proved by the facts: –

Despite centuries of foreign rule over 75% of Indian population remains Hindu.

Had it become obsolete, it would have given place to other religions and cultures.

It influenced almost all other religions found in India.

Basic tenets of Indian culture

The basic tenets of Indian culture, which kept its continuity intact, despite numerous foreign invasions, migrations and assimilation of various groups, are as following:

‘Principle of Varna’ – Doctrine of Varna has given the Indian Society a stable, sustainable social structure. In the past, it had assigned duties to different groups according to their natural endowments, instincts and qualities. 

Principle of ‘Karma’ – Knowledge is supposed to be necessary for giving “Karma”, its due meaning, direction and value. Ignorance is considered to be leading to futile efforts destroying direction. 

Principle of Dharma – Principle of Dharma defines the duties and inspires people to do their jobs well, as all worldly honor and spiritual happiness were vested there. It assures the people that proper performance of one’s work, whether high or humble, whether of a priest, warrior, Shudra or yogi are equally important for the society and were, therefore, right, respectable and worth pursuing.

Sanatan Dharma (Concept of Eternal Values)- Sanatan Dharma (Concept of Eternal Values) nurtured the basic instincts of human beings over nature, after a deep study of natural instincts, inherent attributes and natural behavioral pattern and taking care of the basic physical, mental and spiritual needs of the human beings at different stages of life.

Traditional Education system :

The education, educators and Scholars of Vedic period are known for their commitment , consciousness and culture. Guru Vishwamtra and Guru Dronacharya are setting examples for today educators. Arjuna , Rama , Eklavaya have been remembered for their education principles. They studied in forest away from own state home or “rajmahal”. Today such examples are rare.

Benchmarks set by women as scholar or educator

Hindu civilization is unique in this respect, for here we find a surprising exception to the general rule. The further back we go, the more satisfactory is found to be the position of women in more spheres than one; and the field of education is most noteworthy among them.  There is ample and convincing evidence to show that women were regarded as perfectly eligible for the privilege of studying the Vedic literature and performing the sacrifices enjoined in it down to about 200 B.C. This need not surprise us, for some of the hymns of the Rig Veda are the composition of twenty sage-poetesses. So let us briefly review the lives of some of these great women. Few of them anecdotes are as follows:

Maitreyi was the wife of the great sage Yajnavalkya. She had a higher regard for spiritual knowledge and devotion to God than did Katyayani. The Brihadaranayaka Upanishad relates that finally, the sage Yajnavalkya wanted to renounce householder life and accept the sannyasa order of life, and divide his possessions between his two wives. Maitreyi then questioned to herself what greater thing her husband must have found if he is willing to give up his present status in householder life. Surely no one will give up his position unless he finds something better. So she asked her husband if she had all the riches in the world, could she still attain immortality. Her husband said certainly not, it is not possible. All the happiness and conveniences from wealth will not lead you to God. So Maitreyi then asked why she should acquire wealth if it is not going to deliver her from future rounds of birth and death. She requested that he tell her about the Supreme Being, for which he was happily giving up household life.

Therefore, Yajnavalkya explained to Maitreyi all about the divine knowledge of the Self. He informed her that no being in this world has any capability of being dear to another without the presence of the soul within. Even to enjoy the beauty of this world has no meaning without the soul within our own body, for the soul is all that we are. Understanding the depths of spiritual knowledge is the way to attain moksha, liberation from the continued rounds of birth and death. Thus, Yajnavalkya took sannyasa and Maitreyi attained supreme bliss by hearing her husband’s discourse and by diving deep into this spiritual understanding. In this way, Maitreyi showed how all women can achieve the heights of spiritual understanding simply by careful listening and practicing the Vedic path.

Gargi was the daughter of Vashaknu, and was also called Vachakni. She was born in the line of the Garga Gotra or family line, she was called Gargi, a name by which she became well known. The Brihadaranayaka Upanishad explains that she asked the sage many questions on spiritual science and became highly educated in this way. Once in the court of King Janaka there was arranged to be a debate on the spiritual sciences. He wanted to find out who was the person who knew best the science of the Absolute, and that person would receive 1000 decorated cows with horns plated with gold. None of the local brahmanas complied because they were afraid they would have to prove their knowledge, and may not be up to the task. However, the sage Yajnavalkya told his disciple to take all the cows to his place, which started the debate.

Recent anecdotes of women in India advocates formal education to a girl child as follows:

Devi Ahalya Bai Holkar, the queen of Indore (Madhya Pradesh) has set an excellent example of efficient administration. Her contribution to encourage free trade and the concept of the welfare state is very admirable. 

Jijabai was not exactly a warrior herself but was the mother of Shivaji, one of the great protectors of the country and its religion. She was the guide who shaped his mind from his early years. She was the embodiment of self-respect. She nurtured her child to fight and bring back Hindu Rastra and became a constant source of inspiration to her heroic son.

Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi was one of the most brave and legendary of warrior women of India. The city of Jhansi was an important center in the 18th century, but in 1803 the British East India Company took over control of the state. The last raja at the time died without a son in 1853. The British had passed a law that allowed them to assume control of any state under their patronage if the ruler died without a male heir. The Rani of Jhansi, however, did not like this enforced retirement and preferred to rule on her own. So she was ready for the rebellion at Jhansi when the Indian Mutiny began. Since then she has been a heroine of the independence movement of India.

Meaning of Education and It’s Kinds

Education is the most efficient and effective way of teaching and learning the basic and advanced skills and knowledge. Being the foundation of our society, education encompasses our lives by stimulating our minds and molding them into intellectual ones. In simple words, education enables us to learn different ways of learning things and doing them. As compared to the yesteryears, education received by today’s students is more structured and conceptualized. While there was no formal education system in the primeval period, the modern days have come up with different types of education classified according to a person’s potential and age. Given here are some kinds of education followed by most of the countries.

Formal Education

Formal education comprises of the basic education that a person receives at school. The basics, academic and trade skills are exposed to the person through formal education. Thus, this form of education is also referred to as mainstream or traditional education. Beginning with nursery education, a person learns the various aspects as he advances towards primary, secondary and higher education. While nursery, primary and secondary education are received by a student at a school, higher education, or post-secondary education, is generally disclosed at a college or university.

 Informal Education

Informal education includes educating one through informal communication and reading books. In general, informal education is edifying someone outside the basic form of education, that is, in schools, and without the use of any learning methods.

Lifestyle and Education

Lifestyle is expressed in both work and leisure behavior patterns and (on an individual basis) in activities, attitudes, interests, opinions, values, and allocation of income. It also reflects people’s self image or self concept; the way they see themselves and believe they are seen by the others. Lifestyle is a composite of motivations, needs, and wants and is influenced by factors such as culture, family, reference groups, and social class. It is outcome of education from various formal or informal sources in a person’s life.

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Digitization of education via ICT

One of the world’s most serious problems is the widening gap between rich and poor, wherein a small percentage of the global population enjoys unprecedented affluence amidst widespread global poverty that may actually be getting worse. One aspect of this disparity in wealth is the digital divide, the enormous differences in access to modern information and communications technology (ICT). Millions across Africa, Asia, and Latin America struggle daily to survive in dire poverty, while others in the industrialized world enjoy the conveniences provided by modern communications technologies, work in offices made more efficient and effective through the use of new technologies, and take advantage of new educational opportunities afforded by ICT.

One of the most unfortunate by-products of the digital divide is its negative impact on educational efforts throughout the developing world. Digital technologies provide exciting new opportunities for students in the industrialized world to obtain large amounts of current information on almost any topic, to communicate their thoughts in dynamic new ways, and to work more efficiently than ever before possible.

The Higher Education scenario in the Southern States of India has scaled new heights. In all spheres of education, the knowledge par excellence being imparted, has encompassed not only generic degrees but also vocational and technical education. Several government initiatives, public-private partnerships, and industry-institution collaborations have proved to be an icing on the cake. With the escalation in educational achievements, Digital Learning magazine brings initiatives and achievements, impact and challenges.

The Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) came into existence on 20th May, 1988 through an Act of the State Legislature to advise the Government in matters relating to Higher Education in the State and to oversee its development with perspective planning and for matters connected therewith. APSCHE, the first of its kind in the country, set up as per the recommendations of the National Education Policy 1986, is primarily a coordinating and liaisoning body between the University Grants Commission, the State Government and the Universities. It is the general duty of the Council to coordinate and determine standards in institutions of Higher Education or Research and Scientific and Technical Institutions in accordance with the guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission from time to time. 

India is going to experience a paradox of nearly 90 million people joining the workforce but most of them will lack requisite skills and the mindset for productive employment according to a report in DNA. India has about 550 million people under the age of 25 years out of which only 11% are enrolled in tertiary institutions compared to the world average of 23%.

The really critical aspect of Indian public education system is its low quality. The actual quantity of schooling that children experience and the quality of teaching they receive are extremely insufficient in government schools. A common feature in all government schools is the poor quality of education, with weak infrastructure and inadequate pedagogic attention.

What the government is not realizing right now is that education which is a source of human capital can create wide income inequalities. It will be surprising to see how income inequalities are created within the same group of educated people. Let me illustrate this with the help of an example:

Let us take P be an individual who has had no primary or higher education. His human capital is zero and hence it bears no returns. Let Q be an individual who completed his MBA from S.P Jain college and let R be an individual who completed his MBA from IIM Ahmadabad. The average rate of return for an MBA student is 7.5% (hypothetical). Q gets a rate of return of 5% and R gets a rate of return of 10% due to the difference in the reputation and quality of the management school. Let the income of P, Q and R be 1.In a period of 10 years, P will be having the same income as he does not possess human capital. For the same time period Q will earn an income of (1+0.05)10=1.63 and R will earn an income of (1+0.10) 10=2.59. Now let’s see what happens when the rate of return on human capital doubles. Earnings of P will not change since he does not have any human capital. Now Q is going to earn (1+0.10)10=1.63 and R is going to earn (1+0.20)10=6.19. Flabbergasting! As soon as return on human capital increases proportionately income inequality increases. With return on human capital doubling, Q’S income increases by 59% and R’s income increases by 139%.

Issues and Challenges :

In an analysis of the situation, I have categorized these problems into eight broad areas, from “lack of money” to “too many instant Indian experts

Lack of money / high cost:  By far one of the most pressing problems is the unavailability of money or inadequate funding of Indian education programs or systems. The demand far exceeds the supply, and available monies are only for the most basic educational needs of the students . . . “the traditional curriculum.” Without adequate funding, the ideology and philosophy of Indian education become so many words. Very small amounts, if any, are available for innovative programs and ideas. Not only is technology in short supply within developing countries, but the costs for Internet service are often signi¬cantly higher than they would be in an industrialized country. In terms of percentage of annual per capita income, we may know how the monthly fees for Internet connectivity in poor countries are prohibitively expensive for most of the population.

The irrelevant curricula: just what do we mean by the often-repeated phrase, irrelevant curricula? My definition is that it is schools not doing their job in meeting the needs of their students-especially Indian students.

Lack of qualified Indians in Indian education: By far the most glaring problem is the acute shortage of qualified Indians in Indian education. Materialistic gains, incentives and opportunities entice the qualified Indian educator away from this challenging field. There is much hard work and many challenges in Indian education: isolation, poor or inadequate facilities, eager but academically deprived students, but one’s ingenuity, creativity, patience and forbearance are put to a real test in facing these and other challenges.

Insensitive school personnel:  It is tragic that this exists in the 20th Century. If school personnel are truly educators, it behooves them to learn about the people they are teaching: To fail in this task is to fail to educate. The burden of this responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the educator, and the exercise of that responsibility is long overdue.

Differing expectations of education programs:  The thinking, attitudes and experiences of the non-Indian are the base of the value structure rather than the aspects of Indian culture. Thus the educational perspectives of the Indian are not considered. The Indian views education as providing him with immediate practical skills and tools, not a delayed achievement of goals or as means for a future gain.

Lack of involvement in and control of educational matters: The Indian has not been able to express his ideas on school programming or educational decision-making. When they have been expressed, his participation has been limited and restricted. If problems in Indian education are to be resolved, the Indian citizen must become involved. The dynamic systems point up the fact that Indians can handle school matters. It is time that more Indians became involved in such control.

Difficulties of students in higher education: Colleges and universities need to establish programs which can deal effectively with the problems and needs of the Indian student-if he is to remain in school. In general, the Indian student has an inadequate educational background as he may have been looked upon as less than college material in high school. He has unusual adjustment problems and usually inadequate financial help. It is time that more colleges and universities attempt to solve these development factors and provide a more successful educational experience for the Indian student.

Too many instant-Indian education experts: To the detriment of Indian education and its growth, each day sprouts more “instant Indian education experts,” who do more damage than good. Usually, these experts have all the answers: they have completely identified the problems and have formulated solutions, but they leave it to the Indian to implement. Again, the Indian is given something to implement which he has had no part in formulating. These experts usually depend on superficial, shallow studies done in one visit to a reservation or school, or they depend on one or two conferences with Indians who have little or no knowledge of the critical problems confronting the Indian generally. Indian education can well do without these experts who cannot be reasoned with or who feel they know what is best for the Indian. The following critical factors may be responsible for current prevailing situation:

Critical Factors

Total Responses(%)















Source : Global Information Infrastructure Commission Survey (2001) www.giic.org/#survey

Managerial recommendation / Strategies:

The basic thrust of government education spending today must surely be to ensure that all children have access to government schools and to raise the quality of education in those schools. One of the ways in which the problem of poor quality of education can be tackled is through common schooling. This essentially means sharing of resources between private and public schools. Shift system is one of the ways through which common schooling can be achieved. The private school can use the resources during the first half of the day and the government school can use it during the second half. It is important to remember that the quality of education is directly linked to the resources available and it is important for the government to improve resource allocation to bring about qualitative changes in the field of education. Common schooling is one of the ways in which government can use limited resources in an efficient way and thus improve resource allocation.

Another reason for poor quality of education is the poor quality of teachers in government schools .Government schools are unable to attract good quality teachers due to inadequate teaching facilities and low salaries. The government currently spends only 3% of its GDP on education which is inadequate and insufficient. To improve the quality of education, the government needs to spend more money from its coffers on education.

Most economists feel that the only panacea to the ills of the public schooling system is the voucher scheme. Under the voucher system, parents are allowed to choose a school for their children and they get full or partial reimbursement for the expenses from the government. But however, the voucher system will further aggravate the problem of poor quality of education in government schools. Such a system will shift resources from government schools to private schools. This will worsen the situation of government schools which are already under-funded. Moreover, if the same amount given as vouchers can be used to build infrastructure in schools then the government can realize economies of scale. For example- The centre for civil society is providing vouchers worth Rs 4000 per annum to 308 girls. This means that the total amount of money given as vouchers is Rs 12,32,000/-. If the same amount can be used to construct a school and employ high quality teachers who are paid well then a larger section of the society will enjoy the benefit of education. A school can definitely accommodate a minimum of 1000 students.

An Indian student presently is subjected to an educational system geared to the needs of the non-Indian student without any concern to unique problems and background of the Indian. Yes, the Indian must live in the white man’s world, but if he is to become a productive member of the human race, the schools must develop programs to meet his needs.

Another aspect is the stress of the English language in the system. If educators would recognize that the English language is not the mother tongue of most Indian students, educational programming could become more relevant, meaningful and rewarding to the Indian student,

If curriculum experts would include courses reflecting the positiveness of the Indians’ contributions to the greater society, another correction would be made. It is not difficult to understand why the average Indian student has a negative self-concept: he is taught in a foreign classroom, by a teacher who is literally a foreigner, and in a foreign language that he comes from a people who were bloodthirsty, marauding killers, and that the only good Indian is a dead Indian. Correct this image by eliminating these teachings, and replacing them with more positive characteristics.

Summing up :

1. First we have to consider what a student needs in future to get a good college and a good job.

2. The education must consist of the practical knowledge of the entire subject.

3. Since today’s situation, English becomes necessary language and Hindi is our national language so we should keep both in mind and teach it equally like in every school either it is government or private school both languages should be given equal importance. A school may make criterion that before lunch students and teacher must speak in English or after lunch they must speak in Hindi. Through this way we can easily learn and speak English without forgetting our mother language. Foreign language should be taught after teaching proper English.

4. Su


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