Soon the movement spread to all countries of Europe. Followers of this movement do not respect the establishment or the society. They move about freely and do what they like without any inhibition. Nothing is taboo for them. They naturally come in conflict with the people of older generations, who still believe in respecting the teachers, parents, religious and other leaders, etc. This has also led to a “Generation Gap.”
The situation in India is no better. Newspapers in India are foil of reports of students’ strikes, demonstrations and rallies. Sometimes students resort to violent methods to give expression to their anguish. They gherao the Principal of a College or the Vice-Chancellor of a University they burn city buses, bring traffic to a halt and pelt stones at the police. They resort to violent means on the slightest provocation.
The power of the students was seen when the V.P Singh Government decided to implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission by reserving 27 per cent of jobs for the socially and educationally backward classes in the government, public sector and all those private organisations which are supported by public finance institutions in addition to the already existing reservation of 22.5 per cent for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes without taking students into confidence. This caused unrest among the student community and led to violent demonstrations throughout the country.
The student unrest in India is attributable to a number of causes. First of all, the partition of the country led to large scale migration of families and a great setback to the joint family system under which children learnt to respect their elders.
Secondly, students had fought for the freedom of the country under the inspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and Pt. Jawahar Lai Nehru. But after India achieved its independence from British Rule, on 15th August, 1947, the students were left with no worthwhile cause to fight for. It is no wonder that such students who have no aim to achieve go astray.
Thirdly, the spread of education created a scientific temperament among the students. They developed the habit of questioning and reasoning to arrive at the truth. But the educational authorities and the bureaucrats wanted nothing short of unquestioning obedience. This led to frequent clashes.
Fourthly, the shortcomings in the existing educational system and student demand for upgradation of syllabi to make it more practical oriented have given rise to unrest among the students. The education system does not create a sense of nationalism and patriotism. The system is highly theoretical with the result that after completing their education, the students find that they are not equipped to pursue any profession and earn their livelihood. The examination system is also faulty. It does not test the merit of a candidate. It places premium on cramming because only a candidate who can cram like a parrot can hope to pass.
The system of education is also very costly. There is overcrowding in classrooms. Teachers are not able to give individual attention to their students. Moreover, teachers are busy bettering their own prospects. They do not have any missionary zeal. Students naturally feel despondent, dejected, frustrated and restlesV over this state of affairs.
Fifthly, political parties are also responsible for contributing to the students’ unrest. Instead of leaving the students free to pursue their studies, the political parties exploit students for political purposes. Every major political party draws its strength from students and has a students’ wing.
Unemployment is also one of the causes of students’ unrest. Even after coming out from the college, they are not sure about their career. They have to do professional courses in order to make themselves capable of getting some job. The Government should try to give more jobs to the people in order to cure this defect of unemployment.
Students’ unrest can be removed by reforming our educational system. No doubt efforts were made at formulating a New Education Policy in 1986 to improve the educational system in the country. Vocationalisation of education was done. But it failed to cure all the defects and weaknesses existing in the sphere of education.
It should be the duty of the Government to give top priority to remove the existing unrest among the students and only then will the country be able to tap the power, enthusiasm and zeal of students for constructive work.