Thursday, May 10, 2012

We don't need no "EDUCATION"

You only need to score marks they said, being first is everything in life they said. The sad state of Indian education has been pointed out in many movies and articles. It basically concentrates on the psyche of Indian parents to decide their child’s future and the future is limited to either being an engineer or a doctor. The problem though according to me lies much deeper than that, putting aside the sad state of the education system in our country; I feel the main problem lies in the fact that we have completely misunderstood what “Education” is.

A girl studying in sixth class has been topping her class since she has learnt to spell the word school. She never steps outside her house to interact with kids of her age nor does she indulge in any type of frivolous activity as she has been told all these things are just “time waste” by the elders. Firstly she wants to be a doctor, you may point out that she is after all only in sixth class, what does she know about being passionate about doing something? Is it then ok for her parents to scare the little girl to the point that she regrets thinking she ever wanted to be a doctor? Isn’t life all about doing what you wanted to? Is life only about choosing the guaranteed way to success which comes quickly and lets you get settled early in life? Secondly, the girl is now being made to learn subjects a grade higher than hers so that she can just give her exams and skip a grade and start off with the next grade immediately. The sad thing over here is the people making the decision for her are educationists and are actually proud of the decision they are making to kill the soul of a lovely innocent girl fast tracking her development in the process making her skip the joy of attending school and enjoying the learning moments which lasts forever.

Here is where education especially that in school plays a huge role. Education must be about shaping of a human personality, building character, teaching how to make decisions and make you strong enough to know how to take risks and face failures, but it has all ended up being a tool to just score high , really high in so called tests and exams and Olympiads and what not. Yes by the end of the tenth grade, this flower will bloom and all it will have to show is a few beautiful pictures of it appearing in the newspaper (read : 10th class state first, 12th class gold medalist) and accolades of how perfectly her future is shaping up but will this flower learn to face the wind , enjoy the turbulences , feel a bee sting on its petals. Will she ever learn the fact that her parents are there to help and guide her and not to decide for her? Can anything replace the beautiful bond of trust a child shares with parents by letting them decide everything. Do you want to use this and end up making the kids a zombie.

A heinous crime is being committed where the essence of education is being questioned. People are completely misunderstanding what “Getting Educated” stands for, all that is going on right now is education is given a label of just scoring ridiculously high marks and not learning and applying what you learn. Scoring high is not a crime, in fact this article is not a question against people demanding only high scores from their kids but what I want to say here is, Is scoring high and topping everything called education? You may be brilliant at what you write on paper but can you call yourself “EDUCATED”. I have often heard people tell, “Here education is just a rat-race”. No it is not unless you make it to be. Once you enjoy what you learn it is never a rat-race. You people are making it a rat-race and then complaining about it.

The same people once told me if you don’t score after a few years you will see people much less deserving than you being your boss, at that moment you will realized how wasted your life is, you will feel like a failure. I have started working now in a pretty good place doing what I was passionate about all my life. I stand out in what I do. I just concentrated on learning what I liked and doing what was required. I learnt to be really good in what I liked to do and yes I see people who are in the same field, in fact forced to be in the same field who don’t want to be there bossing over me but I never felt that pang of jealousy or sadness, when I see them I get this famous lines from scent of a woman in my mind

"There is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is... no prosthetic for that. You are executing his soul"

Even though they have the position, the respect, the money, a car, a house they don’t have that happiness. I am already more happy than them. That for me is what life is all about, happiness, hunger to do something and treating work like play. Their souls have been executed and they will never find a prosthetic to replace that.

I took the advice given to me as a guideline but in the process of learning discovered it was wrong, that is what education all about. It is not about doing subjects a grade higher by putting immense pressure on you, it is not about having to score by rote learning and then vomiting on paper; it is not about doing things that turn life into a rat race, it is not just about learning the things that will help shape your career. It is also about learning more about what you love, it is also about learning to build character, integrity, facing the crossroads of life, questioning and discovering what life is.

This is an appeal not to misconstrue what education is, don’t let those kids amputate their spirit. Don’t throw them into a vicious cycle of over-performance at the cost of actual learning, let them enjoy what they discover, give them time. Life is not a rat race unless you make it so for them. Let them enjoy their childhood because they will never get it back. At the end of the day remember a naturally ripened mango is always tastier to those artificially ripened in a short period of time.


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