youth unrest and commercialization of education
There are four reasons why every nation regards the advancement of its youth as its primary duty. The first is that the youth possess vigour and inventiveness. It is in their strength and in their inventive genius that the hopes of a bright future are centered. The youth have to imbibe every principle for growth, physical and intellectual. Educational institutions have to be started to emphasise principles for work and service. The surroundings have to be congenial and suitable for initiative and adventure. The second reason is that the youth is always willing to experiment. The older people are conservative in outlook and reluctant to depart from their traditions. It is only the young men and women that can learn from past defeats and start experimenting on new ideas and new fields of action. Thirdly, it is their thirst for new ideas that directs them to positions of improvement. Every society would have remained static but for the new ideas that are brought into circulation. New ideas give rise to new thoughts and actions; they become harbingers of a new society. It is the dynamism of the youth that holds out hopes of bright future for every nation. Fourthly, it is the philosophy of power pursued by the youth that is responsible for social change. Every dynamic young man aspires for a position of power, but few of them succeed in getting it. Most of those who get into power drift with the society as they become engrossed in carrying out their duties and responsibilities. It is only young men and women of high intellectual calibre to whom power is denied that involve themselves in fight for change and become ultimately responsible for revolution in any field.
There is no doubt that vast changes have come about in the pattern and types of students admitted to the University.’ During the British days, University education was the privilege of the higher middle class students. Colleges were few and life in the colleges was expensive. The number of colleges has increased beyond imagination. There were only 23 or 25 Universities before 1947. Today the number of Universities including Institutions of Technology enjoying the status of Universities, is about 86 or so. So with the expansion of facilities for higher education and growth in the number of universities in different parts of the country, the problems relating to life and aspirations in the University campus have undergone revolutionary changes.
A careful analysis of the numerous changes that have come about in University life would disclose that there are four factors that have directly or indirectly contributed to these changes. Firstly, the country has progressed from dependence to independence. There has been a change in the political set-up and political life in the country. These changes in the political field have affected our public life which needs scrutiny. Secondly, changes in the economic conditions of the country have contributed to development of new trends. Thirdly, the social and demographic changes are also responsible for change in the life of University campus. Fourthly, educational conditions in the country have also given birth to new aspirations as also frustrations. In order to have a comprehensive and correct assessment of the present day conditions of the University youth, it is essential to examine each of these factors in an objective manner.
The change brought about by economic conditions in the life or aspirations of the youngsters are no less powerful. Though there is industrialization in the country on such a wider scale than before, the lot of the common man does not seem to have improved; the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Communism is spreading in the country without any constructive effort to improve the lot of the common man. Capitalism is cried down indiscriminately; no efforts are being made to increase productivity in different fields so as to enhance the national income. The result of the present trends in the economic field has only spread dissatisfaction at all levels. The Constitution guarantees social, economic and political justice. The socialistic pattern of society has been advocated as an economic doctrine without accepting its challenges. Equality in the economic field at all levels is not possible and to my knowledge no country has so far succeeded in establishing such equality. There are variations in the levels of intelligence amongst people in the country; naturally there are bound to be variations not only in the area of their achievements but also in the national significance of their contributions. Modern civilization has multiplied means of comfort and luxury engendering dissatisfaction amongst all classes of people. There is no limit to human wants. It is necessary to devise methods for growth of national wealth. What we are doing today by indiscriminate legislation is distribution of existing wealth. In other words, we are merely trying to distribute poverty without conscious efforts to multiply national resources.
Such situation in the economic field has led to an unexpected rise in the strength of poor students. There was a time when the youngsters thought of traditional avocations, almost hereditary in their families. Such of them as have received the benefits of modern education look up for employment under the Government or private agencies. In the past the number of the educated was limited; so were the avenues of employment. There was not so much unemployment as we notice today. We are faced today with problems of mass admissions to schools and colleges without reference to individual capacities and aptitudes. We produce educated young men who have to remain unemployed for want of jobs. Uncertainty of the future in the matter of earning a living has tended to create frustration and disappointment. It is very natural that every young man and woman receiving education should think of the future after he or she leaves the portals of the school or college. But the picture before them is bleak; only a few can be certain of their future.
The economic unrest can also be traced to social and demographic changes in our country. The increase in population has been so fast and so rapid. No doubt we have been exploiting, since independence, our national resources and other means of technological production. But the increase in population has been most disproportionate. The growth in the national income has not kept pace with the growth of population. The country therefore is poorer today than before. Poverty means discontent and therefore conflict.
This laudable hunger for knowledge without proper guidance and counseling has led to new problems. The young students choose only such courses of studies as have greater job opportunities. While the object of such choice is understandable, the choice of courses of studies unrelated to aptitude and intellectual capacity, leads to wastage of public money and manpower. No effort can be fruitful without proper aptitude; more hard work is not enough. Besides, choice of subjects which need intellect of a high order for mastery, can reward only those who are intellectually competent. Choices made in disregard of aptitude and intellectual competence are often attended with failures in examinations. These difficulties can be overcome to some extent by suitable provision for students’ counseling and guidance.
Every student starts his career in anticipation of a degree which ensures him some job and money. He is sure to be disappointed when his expectations fail him. Psychologically, failure to achieve the expected results causes a shock and dries up all initiative for incentive to hard work.
It leads to deterioration and loss of respect for attachment to learning. Frequent failures make young men lose their interest in studies and develop in them a sort of inferiority complex. Such students begin to feel that their parents, friends and relatives have no respect for them; inwardly they feel that they had forfeited the sympathy of the elders. Then they would have nothing but discontent and restlessness.