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Re-gauging The Meaning Of Education

"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today." - Malcolm

Human hands and Robotic mind

The problem with the current educational system is the mass assembly production of degree holders with no real value. The focus is always on mechanical transfer and recitation of facts through rote learning. The stress is on scoring maximum marks, making the learners 'Marksists'. The evaluation and marking pattern being variable and subjective, doubt comes never to reveal the real worth and intellectuality of the student. Unemployment is a soaring problem these days. It is because of this depreciation in the level of education. Students are made to learn arbitrary details which may or may not have a correlation to reality. At the end, we get individuals whose minds are cluttered with futile not to mention strikingly same facts, with no worthwhile life skills. The school and university passouts at present have prescribed testimonials but struggle to cope with competition challenges. In the future machines will do the menial work and humans would be entrusted with creative jobs which need an out of the box thinking, are we ready for that? As Oscar Wilde said "Who wants a cynic, who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing".

Creativity on a Terminal stage

Ask a random first grader to name a word which starts with 'A' without batting an eyelid you will get an 'apple', wonder why they would not say 'aeroplane' or 'Assam' or 'Arjun'. Our system, if not anything, makes us all conformists. Being paleo-conservative and status quoist in nature, our education system strengthens and reinforces existing societal values. The learners are expected to be carriers and pallbearers of fossilized wisdom and knowledge. The learners usually accept all that is handed out, without learning to be discriminating and without learning to apply their minds to tell the chaff from the grain. Such people later prove to be liability for the society, as they cannot differentiate between preconceived notions of right and wrong. After finishing their years at school and university, they begin searching for the next teacher, one who can dictate them what to think of different matters. They easily yield to rabble-rouser's sermons, not surprising that rightist or extremist forces are on the rise worldwide. The stress of excelling in the exams has made reading very perfunctory and monotonous. These days when a student attempts an answer, he is more concerned about whether it will fetch him more marks than if it is what he consciously thinks. Performance of a work, sans interest, affection and devotion is a short recipe for disaster waiting to happen. Accidents like collapse of structure are a result of such alienating education.

What can be done?

Our education needs to be re-oriented to ensure that our children are able to discover themselves fully, by exploring all the intrinsic talents and faculties. As Albert Einstein said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid”. The innate features of each person must be correctly recognized, so that these are flowered. A person growing in accordance with his talents will not only bloom into a satisfied and successful human being, but also contribute to the society to the fullest of his capacity.

Each child is unique and has a skillset which cannot be matched by anyone else. Parents should understand that forcing children with the burden of their expectations will do no good to them. It is also a collective responsibility of the society to value all jobs equally so that children have an open mind towards all fields. In the fast evolving futuristic world of Information Technology, it has been suggested that most of the jobs shall soon be taken over by machines, robots and artificial Intelligence.

With only certain work requiring manual labour remaining left out, in times ahead there will be need of more intellectual rumination and contemplation, so a swift revaluation is certainly a critical requirement.

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