[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Thoughts on Education

For anyone who is going through the Indian secondary school system or who has gone through it in the past few decades know how much gruelling it has become for children to live up to the standards.

How can you blame a kid who has scored 84% and still could not get into a good college or career? Is 84% a bad score? Ridiculous and unfair. It just scares the shit out of me. What will be the state of children in 10 years from now? Will we set the expectation at 99.7% to get into a medical school because more than 2000 people score above 99.7%? What will be state of the mind of a young? Who is to blame for this? Should we be proud of such a system? Can we do something about it?

It is likely that a boy or girl will be devastated, drained and brutally murdered within his mind, when he or she passes out of 12th Std. It is not surprising that many students give up, in some cases their lives, trying to compete. It is not a question of talent or desire or ambition anymore. However, there is some hope if parents, students and the policy makers stop and think about it. And changes have to come in from all directions and unfortunately they have to be in sync with each other (impossible isnt it?).

The educational institutions and the corporate world should work more closely. Every college curriculam must have defined career path into the corporate/industry. Outside of the engg, medicine, law and CA most other students of BA/BCom/Bsc/Diploma etc have no clue about what kind of job they would be doing after college, let alone knowing a clear career path. With no choice, most of them somehow pursue a PG in their respective curriculam. And after that, for most of them, teaching and for some research is the savior. Again, not by choice. Perhaps, there should be a portofolio for education ministry that is responsible in researching and defining a career path for every curiculam. Even better, every department in every college should have a person responsible for doing this. I want to emphasize, finding a job is not important, but finding the right job is important. People are still making a career out of any job they get, but whats the point in studying BE Chemical or BA English (especially those studying out of their own will and interest?) when you know you wont land in a job related to that?.

Parents should nurture their children’s natural talents and should REFRAIN from forcing them into any specific career or curriculam. Of course, this pattern has been changing in the recent past, but a majority of the parents still think and act with a mentality of their kids being a doctor or engineer and the likes. Right from the age of 10 or so and around when they are 6th Std, children should talk freely about what their interests and likes are. Here I emphasize chosing a career should NOT be taught. Our duty is to give them the information they need, let them decide based on what they already know. That doest mean every kid can decide on her own, but assistance should not be forced into rather should be taken by them when required.

Sports, Music, Art and other such so called ‘Extra Curricular’ activities should be encouraged as main stream career options right from childhood. Of course, making it big in sports or music isnt any easier. But keeping few more doors open for children from the beginning will loosen them a little bit instead of pushing them hard into science and math. Only a few motivated and risk taking middle class parents encourage their talented children into these activities. Most middle class parents still insist their children to concentrate more academics and less on sports or arts or other creative activities. But the fact is it takes no less effort to build a career in sports or arts and so they also deserve attention and dedication from the beginning. Otherwise, we will only end up finding charted accountants playing club tennis matches and diploma holders singing in kovil orchestras.

Awareness should increase. Confinement to few narrow beliefs, ideas or goals is self-defeating. Children should be exposed to as many things as possible when they are young enough to learn them faster. They should be taken to libraries, movies, parks, towns, cities, art shows, exhibitions, clubs, swimming pools, foriegn countries, tv shows and anything or anywhere that will provoke them to question and think. Be patient with their curiousity and answer them. Wth every answer they learn. Of course, with every oppurtunity we miss to show or expose them to, we might be robbing a great career for them. We should cultivate the art of reading and writing as early as you can. They should be helped with selecting the right movies to watch, right books to read, right cable broadcasts to watch, right comics to read. We should also encourage them to learn more than one language. Lets not confine them to a boys school or girls school or religious school or boarding school etc, let them see the world. Of course, we have remain optimistic that they dont go in the wrong direction, but let them take a wrong step. Failure teaches faster than anything else. Just a trusted and dependable soul around will keep them from giving up.

Creativity is the key. It should be nurtured irrespective of the language or sex or aptitude or economic status. Creativity comes by just doing one thing: Encouraging. Its a character that we all have got naturally. When we talk we are creative. When we write a sentence we are creative. When we drive a bicycle we are creative. Being the person we are and doing the things we like the way like and trying to improve on them is all nothing but creativity in its purest sense. Taking it to the next level is the key.

All this is not easy and wont happen in a day or month or even in a few years, but it is all still a matter of attitude and perspective of general public that just needs one tipping point.

The debate still continues as i read and think more…

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply