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Unveiling Challenges of Indian Education Through Cinema

Aug 2, 2023 | 0 comments

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Aug 2, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


India is the seventh-largest country in the world and covers about 3 million square kilometers. She has the 10th highest GDP worldwide with an estimated value of over 1.9 trillion. However, the per capita income is as low as $ 1.592. Among the problems that India experiences are its poor education system which impacts severely on the per capita income levels each year. India has an unfavorable education system to her people and it has impacted negatively on the socio-economic lives of the residents. There has been a concern over the education system for decades. Several films have been produced to raise the issue for years which influences the prevailing socio-economic problems. This paper seeks to discuss the prevalence of the unfavorable education system in India, with specific reference to the video produced by FMF where the male actor tells the story about his country’s education system. This paper will also comparatively discuss the manifestation of the education system in the popular film, “The three idiots”. This shall be done in an in-depth manner.


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Issues raised in the short video “The three idiots”

In the video by FMF, the actor explains how unreliable the Education System of India is. In the clip, he expresses his dissatisfaction with the system in a rather intriguing way. The actor reveals that he quits studying in an attempt to find other ways to demonstrate his mental capabilities. The film raises several issues which are a clear depiction of how the education system has played a role in the demoralizing of its citizens. For instance, there is an over-emphasis on a specific line of discipline in the whole of India’s education higher learning institutions; this poses a threat to the thriving of other experts interested in other bodies of knowledge. The short video also raises concerns for the need for a reformation in the discipline preference of the general society. Society is inclined towards the development of scientific knowledge as a tool of modern development.

The social sanctioning of scientific disciplines

In the social context, the Indian education system denies its citizens the freedom to choose other disciplines of interest. The over-emphasis on scientific development favors only those top students who demonstrate excellence in the sciences. Indian societies have the mentality that all students should pursue science and become engineers in the future. As seen in the short video, the actor reports that his parents, neighbors, friends, etc. begun talking him into taking Science in his upper studies to pursue Engineering. However, at the beginning of the film, the actor reports that he failed in his examinations. The news of academic performance failure is often not received well by parents and guardians; so the actor goes ahead and states his decision to quit studying in a discipline he rather not desired and announces his decision to live a free life, chilling in the park, waiting for the rare opportunity of other people to discover his ideal capabilities.

Disinterest in education

The actor expresses his unwillingness to continue studying in his institution of higher learning. Magnifying this aspect, Kunal Chalwa reports in his article that most students in India find school boring. A survey conducted by ASER in 2017 revealed that 34% of male students drop out of school because they lack interest in the study curriculum. The Pearson Voice of Teacher Survey also reported that 45% of teachers in India admitted that their learners were barely actively engaged in the routine classes. Most students are usually poor in math and algebra at tender ages. However, the Indian curriculum requires young learners to understand these subjects already. The system portrays some level of extreme emphasis on science contrary to the mental capacities of the students according to their level.

The three idiots

The film “The three idiots” features three college friends from both modest and rich family backgrounds. The three students pursue a course in Engineering and all live in one hostel in the Imperial College of Engineering. Farhan, born in a poor family desires to pursue a course in wildlife photography but is unable because his father wants him to be an Engineer. Similar to the short film mentioned above, Farhan’s family is hardly interested in their son’s disinterest in Engineering and rather chooses to struggle in poverty to finance his education in engineering. Raju, on the other hand, comes from a middle-income family but wants to pursue Engineering, not because of passion but to change the economic status of his parents. Rancho comes from a rich family and is obsessed with developing machines. However, his obsession invites him trouble especially when he repeatedly conflicts with the Engineering professor over controversial issues, unrelated to his academic aspirations.

The privatization of higher education

The high cost of higher education has been recognized as a major factor that contributes to the poor education system in India. With their low per capita income, it is challenging for most parents to afford to educate their children. More importantly, India implemented the legislation that required the privatization of institutions of higher learning. This led to an increase in investment by private sectors in higher education (Kingdon 3310). They became competitively profit-oriented, creating a high demand for education in India. However, India reports less domestic enrollment as compared to the high number of foreign students. In the film, the professor is aware of the backgrounds of his students and when he threatens to expel Raju from the college unless he talks to his colleagues Ranchu and Farhan. Unable to betray his friends, caught between saving them and letting down his family, Raju opts to commit suicide. However, it was an unanticipated move.

Student stress and suicide

Stress is a common issue in Indian schools. Stress implies mental pressure exerted on the mind of the learners as they make sense of the world around them in school environments. Conditions at schools are different from those of their upbringings. From a social perspective, stress is known to discourage progressive activities. A 2015 research in Kolkata revealed that 63% of learners exhibit stress arising from academic pressures. A stunning 81% reported examination-anxiety stress (Chawla). In India, stress begins during the application to colleges since only a few are usually accepted in the high-rank institutions. Secondly, parents have been discovered to be the other contributors of stress to learners as they exert pressure on their children, with an over-emphasis on academic excellence at the end of their studies. This stress often yields depression, anxiety, and the farthest extremes, suicidal impulses as seen in the film, “The Three Idiots”. At the college level, youths are in their stages of self-realization and are vulnerable to self-destruction when confronted in stressful situations beyond their limits. In real life, the issue of student stress has been debated several times. The Prime Minister, Modi, attempted to help by writing a book advising on how to counter stress.

Lack of resources

Institutions in India lack basic supplies. There is poor infrastructure in India which allows for the prevalence of a poor education system. Mostly, primary schools are deprived of basic resources. There is insufficient electricity coverage in India which makes it harder for schools to implement modern technological systems. Additionally, most schools lack toilet latrines hence exhibiting poor hygiene which impacts directly on the health of both the learners and the teachers. Teachers are also lowly paid because there are scarce resources. Many articles have been written by scholars to address the issue of inadequate supplies. However, it remains to be a problem today. In the Indian film, it is shocking that the best professor in the college is unable to provide standard maternal service for his daughter Pia, who delivers successfully with the help of the genius Rancho. Rancho modifies a sucking machine from local equipment while the professor watches in faith that the delivery works. It is rather questionable how a highly reputable character in society is unable to acquire medical attention for his daughter in the life-threatening process of child delivery.


As seen in the films, India is indeed experiencing a wide range of problems in her education system. However the humorous aspects of the films, it is important to note that they both depict the actual situation of Indian society. Most importantly, the mindset of people has poisoned society by leading people to believe that science is very important in one’s academic life. At the end of the film “The Three Idiots”, all the three friends succeed in their ultimate goals, contrary to what their parents forced them to do. This indicates that most students are dissatisfied with their enrolment in scientific disciplines and have other dreams but unable to pursue them because they prefer not to conflict with their caregivers. The short film gives an insight into what most students really want compared to what they receive from their education systems. It is a clear indication that India has to reform its curriculum and learning protocols to make a better society.

Work cited

Chawla. K. 2018. “Major problems with the Indian education system” Accessed at https://medium.com/@chawlak/major-problems-with-the-indian-education-system-a9fafcf49281

FMF. Nov. 17. 2017 Youtube. “Dear Indian Education System” Indian short film. Accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa-2KbM_cXQ

Kingdon, Geeta G. “”Private schooling in India: Size, nature, and equity-effects.” Economic and Political Weekly (1996): 3306-3314.

Modi. N. “Exam Warriors. Kindle edition.” 2016

The Three Idiots. Dir. Rajkumar Hirani, Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani, and Omi Vaidya and Abhijat Joshi. Comedy-Drama 2007

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