Education – Modernization vs Westernization
By Srikant Mohanty: Long ago, Swami Dayanand Saraswati felt that Indians needed to study English in order to present their problems in the world platform. During pre-Independence period, his initiatives led to the formation of Dayanand Anglo Vedic society that later spread the ethos of Indian culture making English as the medium. Modernization process of the education system passed through successive stages but retained the true spirit of Indian heritage for some years.
Patterns of study changed in the schools and colleges of India as per the percentage of passing. Unemployment grew in high percentage in India because lack of options for alternative career modes. Especially eighties and nineties were the decades, where unemployment in the cities and villages in India sky-rocketed that led to criminalization in the society.
Those were the days steps for modernization in the education were only taken in the context of introducing softer norms, which could lead to a higher percentage in passing rate among students. For instance, 10+2 study pattern in the schools and colleges was largely aimed at higher percentage of students attending colleges. It was ironical that in the eighties noticing a number of students failing in English, the education department decided to bring down the passing marks in English to 20 out of 100 in the vernacular-medium of schools. This process of modernization backfired in the face of government as the same students failed in the colleges, exclusively in English.
The days of nineties brought changes with the arrival of information technology. Mushrooming growth of institutions imparting technical and professional qualification came in to existence and it was the time, by and large, the process of westernization began among the students. Engineering colleges, which were built up in the corners of the outskirts of the towns declared in the prospectus of studies – “swimming pool and gym for the students”.
Gradually, with the employment prospects available in the foreign nations, the spread of westernization became rapid. It was evident from the dressing styles of the female students that almost did away with the traditional “salwar kameez” and “saris”. This went on to the extent of imposition of dress-codes in the schools and colleges.
“Take the instance of new breed of actors even in the Odia film industry. You will know that they are completely westernized. Western foods, alcohol, dresses, and living habits that center more on consumerism and cynicism have brought the worst consequences. The results are suicides, pre-marital sex, and depression among the students”-says Sushila Rath – a housewife.