A weapon called Education
Education is a lifeline for human beings if we know what it means. We have been blessed with the capability to process information, learn from experience, convert information and inferences into knowledge bases and use the same for educating self and others.
If education were to be faithfully used for the purpose of understanding the natural processes, draw inferences from historical events, learn from empirical evidence of policy successes and failures, India would be, not just one of the richest destinations for seeking knowledge, but also probably one of the best countries to live in. Indians have such a huge treasure of historical knowledge and continues to have such diversities and achievements to learn from.
But unfortunately, even before we realised the path we were taking, we got engulfed in the material aspect of education and consumerism. Sure the plundering by the British, the partition, the pauperisation of the many a people, some of whom had to start from the scratch to make a living, jeopardised the reach of Education to the masses.
But then what can justify the degeneration in the Education system that we see today? Why did Education become solely a means for earning money to enjoy material things? Why did Education become only about scoring a certain percentage? Why couldn’t education empower all rather than make low scorers feel small and weak? And why did education become a means of propaganda of various sorts? Why did teachers forget that teaching is about building a new generation and not about earning more money for a luxurious life?
There is a need for Educationists and Policymakers to take stock and make Education the weapon that it is and not a means of survival, a need to bring back the respect for the teacher that there used to be, a need for a child to know that there is a teacher for whom boys and girls are the same as are the rich and the poor as are the people from different communities, ethnicities and religion. One way to achieve this could be through a curriculum overhaul to bring about a true balance between rote method and activity-based learning. And in this balance we hope to find students memorise important lessons and apply them in their daily life; a balance which allows teachers to use their expertise and methods to help children learn; a balance which encourages students to read and express themselves through writing; a balance which will help the group share and live the vision that all human beings are equal irrespective of gender, caste, religious belief, sexual orientations and so many other differences that we are born with.
When we have a generation growing up with the right set of beliefs and convictions, we will have a vibrant, educated and knowledgeable society. And once that happens, maybe the determinants of happiness for an individual will also be a mix of personal factors and social factors. Now, wouldn’t that be our ideal India?