“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
Ankit is a 19-year-old MBBS student who always had a flair for writing. There is a deluge of classic novels like Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations and To Kill a Mockingbird on his bookshelf. “I was always desirous of being a writer as a kid. But my parents, relatives and even my teachers made me understand that there is no scope for writers in today’s fast-paced world. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life struggling and begging money from my parents so I decided to take up a respectable profession so that I could earn well and stand on my own feet.” said the young lad with a tinge of disappointment on his face.
When asked if he was content with his decision and enjoying his studies, Ankit had no answer. His silence was enough to reveal the fact that his decision was an outcome of societal pressure and not thoughtful consideration. Just like Ankit, there are millions of students in our country who are victims of a pointless rat race. If you have watched the movie ‘3 Idiots’, you must be having a clear idea of how our education system advocates this stultifying rat race and crushes the originality of students under the pretext of imparting ‘knowledge’.
We cannot refute the fact that our country is experiencing a burgeoning education crisis. It is said that education is not the learning of facts but the process of training the mind how to think. In a system where rote learning is encouraged, students only study to score good marks and this results in poor long-term retention of the material which is forgotten once the exams are over. The practice of cramming has been discouraged by educators throughout the world but our system propagates it openly. In his book ‘The Curse of Education’, H.E. Gorst stated that “as long as education is synonymous with cramming on an organized plan, it will continue to produce mediocrity.” This probably explains why India has failed to be the hub for technological innovation despite of having the most number of engineering graduates in the world.
The following flaws of the education system need to be fixed if we wish to see our country turn into a place that nurtures great minds and not incentivizes a mindless rat race.
Reward Thinkers And Not Crammers Or Rote Learners:
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” A mirror shows you something you already know, while a window helps you broaden your horizon. Education begins at home. If parents decide to shun the popular belief in the society that only a doctor or an engineer is respected in the society and can earn enough to lead a happy life, it could mark the threshold of a revolution in India.
Why do we focus so much on teaching our children to be salaried people and not leaders or innovators? This country certainly needs thinkers, innovators, artists and entrepreneurs and children should be encouraged to take the path that they find interesting and not the one that the society believes is apt for them.
Understanding That Every Child Is Unique:
Not all children love Maths or Science. Some are more interested in Art while the others take great pleasure in musical lessons. Some kids learn faster while some are comparatively slow. Some have great visualization skills while some prefer learning with the help of images and videos. Does this mean the ones who are interested in art aren’t talented enough like the Math geeks? Well, unfortunately this is what many teachers believe.
By differentiating in the classroom, our teachers make us believe that the ones who score good marks are the achievers and will achieve rewards while the others are incompetent and must work hard to be as good as the achievers.
If we want a change in the education system and prevent brilliant students from walking towards the altar of sacrifice like sheep, we must make sure our teachers are skilled in the art of dealing with different types of children. We need teachers who opt for a creative approach of teaching and are willing to focus on skill based education by encouraging originality among children.
Taking The Help Of Technology To Take Education To The Next Level:
We need to create education more interesting if we wish to truly impart knowledge. The syllabus needs to be up to date and should include technology as an imperative part of it. Chapters that focus on technology should be taught in a facile and non-intricate way so that students don’t opt for rote learning but grasp lessons which will help them in the long run.
We need to make use of technology and internet in making education a fun experience, even in remote villages. The need for revolution in the rural part of the country cannot be ignored.
Gone are the days when students and teachers were satisfied with a classroom filled with just a blackboard, chalks and textbooks. There is an alarming situation calling out for a change in the education sector as children need to be tech savvy and should be taught in reference to the future.
If you are student who is stuck on the horns of a dilemma and is confused whether you should chase your ambitions or follow herd mentality and do what the rest of the world is doing, just close your eyes and listen to what your heart has to say. You might crack exams like IIT JEE or AIMPT but does that mean you were born to be an engineer or a doctor? Is that what you’ve always wanted? Or are you taking this path just to please your parents?
Remember, the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams and if you have the courage to pursue them, nothing can stop you!