Is education wrongly understood?

 

Author: J. Vignesh

 
 

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
― Mark Twain

 

This quote captures in gist the very idea of writing this piece. Education is not totally what one learns in schools; in fact what school does, in most cases, it gives the false impression that education in its most ideal form is just marks. Well, if you feel so, you are far from the right path, in fact you are a waylaid traveller who unfortunately will never find his way back to civilization, because education in its most nascent and pure form is blissfully finding and discovering the joy of learning. You should not expect returns in this journey; the journey is a reward in itself.

The very idea of marks as an indicator of one’s intellectual prowess is revolting, as it is said you cannot persuade an elephant to climb trees, similarly every child/individual is gifted in a different field. We, as is claimed by the society, are “modern” and it is the expected inherent trait of being modern to accept the fact that ‘everyone is special’, but sadly the society has struck to the old view that marks and grades mean how talented one is.

Schools which are supposed to be the temples of education have done very little to change this view. There are tests, exams, Report Cardassignments, projects et al that push a child to believe that whatever his/ her talent at the end of the day, marks rule the roost. Marks are not sacrosanct, it is the knowledge.

“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.”, thus exclaimed Da Vinci, this is the case with most students, they study or rather read for the sole sake of marks, but the whole idea behind the lessons that is to enlighten and impress the student to make him/ her yearn for more is lost in the process of mugging the lessons up. We, as a nation, are facing a dearth of quality researchers due to this very reason. The assumption that ‘ultimate result of education is to earn’ is a joke that has been taken seriously by the society.

Ask a true lover of learning what it means to him/her to be ‘educated’ and not surprisingly, marks will never be the answer; because after some time a ‘true lover’ will understand grades are just a sad distinction that the society demands to set apart ‘brilliant’ people from those ‘not so brilliant’. The very idea behind knowledge is to set one a class apart. This statement might sound elitist but it is not so, it is merely a hope that if education is taken in its right sense, any society will be a class apart and better than the rest. This also might seem like a utopian hope, but then, all that is left is hope in this sorry state of affairs.

What we need immediately is a way to distinguish students based on talent and not just marks, and before that we must digest the fact that the old system is creaking and must be quickly changed so as to avoid further damage (it has already caused enough). Students who are talented in various fields must be given the confidence that their talents are important and this must be done right from the grassroots level i.e. schools. Secondly, the options to choose from, with regard to higher education, must be widened so as students who want to choose an amalgamation of different fields have the freedom to do so. Thirdly, research must be given the support and encouragement it needs. Fourthly, we need to change the presumption that education in vernacular languages is useless. English, true, is the global language but in no way are vernacular any less. We have to find a middle path which imparts English and other languages equally in the curriculum. Lastly, we need to work on changing the view that ‘marks are everything’ attitude. Education needs to be the right importance it requires and the view that marks alone matter is undoubtedly not the respect that education requires.

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A Poem dedicated to the ‘hopeful’ renaissance of Learning

There will come a day

As blissful as the beautiful flowers of May,

Where we shall stand together and say,

Education is all we want and marks.. Nay!!!

The mysteries of the nature

Will find answers in research mature

Music and dance will be accepted in all its brilliance

And marks-a nuisance

We need renaissance

Yes, a renaissance.

We shall see a tomorrow

In the libraries which hold solutions to every sorrow,

We shall see a tomorrow

In the probing questions of the youth

North West East and South

We shall see a tomorrow

Where happiness is illuminated by knowledge

With neither a scuffle nor a sledge.

We are Hopeful

As hope is our only virtue

That has remained true

And lo and behold, comes change out of the blue.

We shall exchange marks in lieu

For enlightenment

 

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