“Education is a state controlled management of echoes”
- Norman Douglas
That one sentence speaks volumes about how the educational system functions today, not just in India, but all over the world. Students cease to be learners but become mere transmitters of information. Although some teachers may encourage individuality and take effort in inculcating an awe and love for the subject, instead of just telling the contents of it; would inevitably result in learning: not forced or rote learning, but a complete understanding; true knowledge; which would be all the more reinforced by the powerful individual love for that knowledge.
On giving much importance to the need to excel, have educational institutions far diverged from their very foundation? Rather than importance being given to acquirement of knowledge, importance is instead given to transmission of knowledge. In fact, ‘knowledge’ would be an inappropriate word here. The content then functions as mere information. 1‘Information’ that a student momentarily possesses and has no uses whatsoever in their life. Where then, is the utilitarian aspect, a much essential part of knowledge? Is education really doing more good than bad?
Most people are not really and genuinely interested in studying what they are studying. Surely a degree without any meaning to it and any interest to the person concerned is of no use. One particular example of this, which is being observed more and more these days is the profession of a doctor. Some are forced to do Medicine and obtain a degree. Can a patient trust a doctor who is not at all interested in being one? They would not have any intrinsic motivation in saving lives, lives that lie on the thin line separating Life and Death; lives that lie in the hands of an uncaring doctor.
Unfortunately, many children are still being forced into the fields of medicine and engineering. Parents must ponder upon this decision while keeping in mind the best interests of the child. These need not necessarily centre around the amount of money they earn!
Another argument comes to my mind, an argument which I have with myself everyday. And always, it is the same situation which sets this argument going. I see obviously educated people (talking on their phones in English, carrying a laptop, reading a book, and even some reading a newspaper) throwing litter on the road! And every single time this happens, I am amazed at their capability to do so. They may be able to predict the future of economy, explain the most complex phenomena, create hypothesis, even understand the complex structure of the human mind and body, and yet cannot get into their minds the most simple idea of cleanliness. Is education and rote learning killing common sense?
Humanity. Something seldom mentioned in textbooks, but should, ironically, be one of the most important characteristics we possess. A child will learn how to integrate in math but will be utterly dumbstruck when required to integrate a group of people, their friends or family. Which is more important?
People paint a picture of how machines may come to life and take over the world. I paint another: what if humans lose all humanity and become machines, destroying life all over the world? Which picture seems more likely? Which picture would you aid in painting?