Rajesh Kumar Varadharaj is a Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) participant from India who is studying information technology at Edmonds Community College. The friendly faculty and engaging classrooms at Edmonds have impressed Rajesh. In the blog post, he shares some of his observations of the differences between the U.S. and Indian education systems.
A good education system should help students learn not only about academic subjects, but also teach about people, society, and how to survive in a competitive world. I believe a successful school system should include active learning so students can think critically about subjects, reading, writing, discussion, problem solving, analysis, and synthesize. From what I have observed so far, the U.S. community college system meets this standard.
The Indian school system only teaches in a passive rather than active manner. Many students fail to retain the actual information in their long term memory and just memorize the information up until they have to recite it on an exam. I have observed that in the American school system, learning is more hands on and personable; teachers accommodate the learning styles of their students.
Sometimes I jog around a nearby high school and notice that none of the students wear a uniform. This is foreign to me because in India uniforms in schools are mandatory and strictly enforced. One of the reasons people wear uniforms in India is to compensate for the status differences between students.
In comparison to the U.S., availability of technology is very scarce in Indian schools. Indian schools usually do not have computer labs, Wi-Fi, eLearning tools, and fully-wired and stocked libraries. Some Indian schools have access to these types of things but the management does not always manage funds properly.
Another difference that I have noticed between American and Indian schools is that physical education classes are encouraged in the American school system whereas physical education is not an important part of the Indian school system whatsoever. In American schools, students can take many courses related to sports. In India, only core academic classes are encouraged and mandatory.
I have found that the environment in the U.S. community college classroom and campus is welcoming and the faculty is friendly and approachable. I have never been as comfortable in a school environment in India as I am here. The instructors are not only willing to answer all of your questions, they encourage questions and are available to students even outside of the classroom.
Other things that make the community college so much more than just a school, are the labs, eateries, greenhouses, digital recording studio, an art gallery, theater, child care center, gym, sports field, transit center, utility buildings and an overall feeling of community on the campus. I couldn’t ask for a better college than this and I hope that one day the Indian education system will be similar.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.