[When Yitzak Rabin, its former prime minister, was visiting China in 1993, he was asked: ” How has a tiny nation like yours, which is severely short of resources, managed to become global technology leader? Rabin’s reply was : ” Because we have seven world-class universities”.]

Education is one of the primary needs of human being in society. Mahatma Gandhi once told the only sin in this world is ignorance. It is not difficult to understand and realise the truth of it. An uneducated man is afflicted with all sorts of ills, and net result is that he cannot live and let live effectively. Lack of education jeopardise his own existence, as well as the existence of the society. In an uneducated environment, there is hunger, ill health, joblessness and perennial poverty—all the essentials for a bad quality life.

As for example, Europe is highly educated, their standard of living, and life expectancy is high. People of Asia and Africa is poorly educated responsible for their sub-standard living, less life expectancy, terrorism etc etc…..inside India, Kerala is highest in education and the result is that all indicators of  high quality living is highest for them. In case of Bihar and MP, education is poor and the net result is  that they live a poor quality life.

Education is important, but unfortunately, one has to spend money to get education. A part of the expenditure is borne by the Govt, the rest, by the student. Basic infrastructure for education is the responsibility of Govt of the country. Developed countries of Europe and present day China afford to spend a respectable % of their GDP on education, underdeveloped countries and India spend less than 1% on education.

In our country as a rule conscious parents struggle hard to arrange money for their wards’ education, often by curtailing essential expenditures of life. These poor people know that education is costly, but ignorance is costlier in terms of the price they have to pay all through the later life because of ignorance. Parents frantically pledge everything to get their wards educated, and the teaching community out for money earning, mercilessly exploit parents’ desperateness for educating.

In this corrupt country, schools do not teach, students throng to coaching classes and parents have to pay hefty fees. Most of the parents cannot pay this fee in a normal way, they have to sell land and other belongings to fund the expenditures due to education. Coaching classes mushroom throughout the country, it has become a big business. Teachers has forgotten to become Gurus of our tradition, they are selfish business men out to amass fortune in a short time capitalising on the student. In this whirlpool parents gasps for breath, they have to make a lone fight with none around to rescue them.

In this bleak environment, digitisation brought in a good hope. Many computer applications have come up, and available in you tube dishing out very rich learning material. Some are free, others are paid but cheap like Biju’s. This apart, many teachers from around the world publishes independent lectures on every topics in their unique ways in you tube, and what is most important, those are mostly free. Those are very systematic videos teaching every topics in every subjects in a colourful audio-visual way. Same topics is delivered differently by different people, which can be played multiple times in their convenient space and time to learn the subjects. Never before access to education was so easy, I feel envy for them considering my time when I grew up struggling, my father unable to support my education.

One such application is KHAN’S ACADEMY and is available free throughout the world in the net, for classes from class I to Graduation in many subjects. The creator is Salman Khan, an American Bengali, he himself with a few most outstanding professors took part in making and publishing the said videos. Presentation is so careful and meticulous that material is understood well by the students. In contrast, what is delivered in lesser standard schools or coaching classes charging high fees are much inferior, yet Khan is free, only thing is that many are not aware of this cheap way of high quality learning.

Children of Bill Gates have also learnt from this source, and appreciated the course material. One more important thing about Khan is that while our Indian system in howsoever perfect manner education is imparted, unknowingly drifts to rote learning, Khan focuses on comprehension only. If you are a parent encourage your children or any other self-motivating students of neighbourhood to use this learning material, by this you can save them spending their money on coaching classes.

There is another opportunity open to aspiring students to educate themselves sitting at home, is EDX–founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX is an online learning destination and MOOC provider, offering high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions ( more than 90 partners) to learners everywhere. Students come from every country in the world.  Whether one is interested in computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, writing, electronics, biology, or marketing, EDX have the course for you.  EDX is the only leading MOOC provider that is both non-profit and open source.

Not only this, Govt of India, introduced NPTEL–national project for technologically enhanced learning. Under this our Govt prepared lecture material for engineering and other mainly undergraduate courses, by IITs, IISc, and those are regularly transmitted over the internet, totally free of charge. Any student, teacher/ professor may use this high class learning material for their own use. I have seen this learning material is far better than those given by general teachers in our school, college and university, and certainly money guzzling coaching classes. Parents and students—are you listening????


Author: Your useful Books.

An online seller of books. Lives in Mumbai and Kolkata.