TODAY -

In search of Mr Keating and others: A simplistic take on Education

Rajkumar Panthoiren *



The cursor blinks right at me, as if mocking with sheer delight and telling me, "Boy, give me words, give me words." I submit. And here begins the splash from my cesspool of somewhat suppressed and long forgotten idealistic yet true self.

It is an irrefutable fact that among all the professions and pursuits, teaching (and consequently the quest of learning) occupies a pride of place, and this has reasons. Teaching and its implications are something you cannot just brush aside. Here, the formal education system is referred to, which in our country is steeped in systemic flaws and biases. It has long been felt by enlightened individuals that measuring the ability of different individuals using a set of rigid parameters is inconclusive, misleading and harmful. In the current system, marks are overemphasised to the extent that it has become some sort of a badge of reputation and worth.

Again, certain professions are put on a fancy pedestal. In Manipur, it is often seen that large chunks of 12 Science students right after their Board examinations rush to medical and engineering coaching centres (for this 'Crash Course' and that, where majority of the students ultimately crash) and sit in the said examinations. Some really earnest ones make it, but the truth is that most are there just to give a shot so that if lucky, Lady Luck would bless them. So, that laughably is nothing different from buying a lottery ticket in the hope of hitting home run (yeah, who doesn't love money?)

The thing is that most parents perceive securing a seat in a medical or engineering college for their sons and daughters as hitting their own sort of home run. (Have they ever asked this question: "Son (or daughter, as the case may be), so what are you good at? What are your plans?") Now that this is a lottery where everyone is allowed, why not give it a shot (even though one might not possess the requisite level of competence to face such public examinations where only the genuine talents succeed)? That's their justification.

The biggest downfall of this "lottery" is that those students (and they are quite a number), who are hell bent on getting selected but never are, get themselves admitted in some non-functional college to avoid academic break. Such colleges have earned quite a reputation for themselves; I believe the reader is well familiar with the names. (My question to the Education department of the state government is: How can you let these fraudulent colleges even exist, let alone admit students, right under your nose?)

The students of these colleges (are they students at all, really?) write their exams using their guidebooks and also employ a very productive team work aided by the esteemed invigilator, who faintly resembles a teacher (but is not). The result: Year after year, hundreds of students pass out as graduates without ever having opened a single page of their B.A. /B.Sc books. And not surprisingly, most of them (empty brains, if truth be told) would go on to become even private school teachers, government employees and so on (that's the famed 'connection leiraga twba' stuff in work, where merit is just a term) even though their employability is highly questionable. The moot question is: Can we expect anything substantial from them? I don't.

All this clearly reflects the sickeningly narrow mentality of our society as a whole. On a more positive note, it has to be acknowledged that there are another crop of parents who are more open minded (and I dare say, stronger) in the sense that they support their children when they choose unconventional career options, be it fashion designing, music, theatre, journalism, film making, etc etc..

If Ratan Thiyam had been forced by his parents to waste three (or more) years of his life trying to succeed in medical entrance exam (or whatever), would Manipur have been fortunate enough to be enriched by his theatrical and artistic contributions? Would his creativity have flourished? The answer would be an assuring 'NO.' Well, I can state many more illustrious Manipuris, but the point being we need to widen our vision of the horizon, and start looking for new avenues. Yes, we do need doctors and engineers (ones who solely chose these fields by choice, aptitude and passion, not by family preference. I do not want to die because a half-talented doctor generously prescribes 5 tablets instead of the required, say, 2 tablets!) But, mind you, we also need top-notch singers, actors, writers, painters, teachers, thinkers...

At this point, I am reminded of that damn beloved 1989 Robin Williams movie 'Dead Poets Society'. The character of Mr Keating played by Robin Williams essentially encapsulates the noble and inspiring qualities a teacher should possess. Who can possibly forget how Mr Keating shared to this bunch of bright, impressionable students his infectious love of poetry and life, and through that taught them not to conform always but to strive to find the true calling in each and every one of us. In one iconic scene among many, he prods his students to "seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary." "Carpe diem!" in Latin, that is.

Sadly, the notion of an inspiring or even a life-changing teacher seems to be lost on us. It's as if we no more believe in the once revered relationship between a teacher and his students. We hear from our elders stories of dedicated teachers of yore (of Manipur, yes) who used to regularly home visit their students to keep tabs on them and to share a cup of tea with the parents. Such was the warm, cordial and loving relationship! That era has gone, and now if you look at a typical classroom, it would unfailingly give an impression of a robot teaching (more like dictating to) a bunch of robots. It's that mechanical. Sorry and very sorry.

On a personal note, I still remember the personality and leadership qualities of Sir Mathew from my High School days. He is the only teacher till now who has left an indelible impression on my young mind. Well, not quite because I do have Miss LouAnne Johnson, Mr Braithwaite and Mr Keating and....

And they whisper ceaselessly," Dare to be yourself. Dare not to conform. Dare to be different. Settle for nothing less than extraordinary. Find your voice, your calling...

Carpe diem!"
I hear them.
Do you?


* Rajkumar Panthoiren wrote this article to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at panthoirk94(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on April 17, 2015.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.


LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Dzukou Valley Landscape #6 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Is sports dwindling in Manipur's education
  • Startup Acceleration Program for NE
  • Applications for Agri Innovators & Startups
  • Focus on pre-production - Manipuri cinema
  • Harassment of Laishram Herojit
  • Coconut oil for summer beauty
  • Consultative Meeting on RIIN
  • Crossing the two lakh barrier
  • Marathon @ Yaoshang Sports : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Conference on Algebra & Applications
  • 14th April, 1944: Its significance ..
  • Investigation regarding Lamhainamdi incident
  • Demise of passionate filmmaker, EM Kay Jeet
  • World Art Day at Manipur University
  • Human rights organization NCHRO
  • Mount Koubru caught in a storm
  • Friend or foe
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Athoubasinggi Numit tributes #1 : Gallery
  • Application : Medical Financial Assistance
  • The Power of Prayer
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives
  • What issues will decide 2022 Assembly poll
  • Sajibu Nongma Panba Shopping : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Importance of film preservation: Cine Dialogue
  • Decline in number of Cinema Halls
  • Moment With My Pen :: Poem
  • Michelangelo in my drawing room
  • Get vaccinated call
  • Nongpok Ningthou Phoudamba #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba (Meitei New Year Day) :: Book
  • Golden Jubilee of Manipuri Cinema : Report
  • Think it differently
  • 2nd wave poses an increasing danger
  • Interesting twist to pending ADC elections
  • Yaoshang Sports @Laipubam : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Of Nambul River & Prof Rajendra Ksh #2
  • Lok Adalat at various places in Manipur
  • Covid-19 Survey : for science community
  • A Slave or A Master ! :: Poem
  • Spiritual flight journey
  • Workshop on NEP at Lilong
  • Old Manipuri Movie #2 : eRang Classic
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Yurreipem, Zingyo, Changton: eMing
  • can the dignity of menstruation be increased
  • Incentivize vaccination for success
  • Need for Flexible Education in Manipur
  • MoU with Film Heritage Foundation
  • Unwanted deafening silence
  • Hun : Thadou biggest cultural festival
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Licypriya addressed UN Youth Forum 2021
  • Status of women in the 21st century
  • ..we will fail to achieve Health For All
  • Monolith at Manipuri cinema Golden Jubilee
  • Complaint filed to MHRC on Sanaton death
  • Indifference to the fast spread of virus
  • Abridged Translation of Sanamahi Laihui #2
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Ningtham Kummei @JNMDA #2 : Gallery
  • Career in Poultry Science
  • Form independent investigation commission
  • Need of actions to control air pollution
  • Politics surrounding call for ADC polls
  • Nongpok Ningthou Phoudamba #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Journalists' Sports Meet #2 : Gallery
  • COVID test a must for all incoming flight
  • World Autism Awareness Day 2021
  • Architects @ Makok Technologies, Keinou
  • Bridge :: Poem
  • Second wave spreading swiftly
  • Yaoshang: Cooking Competition : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • World Veterinary Day, 2021
  • What is it in the name? Famous 'Michaels'
  • The Last Night :: Poem
  • Rehabilitating drug users
  • When Money matters, sincerity is out
  • Cultural Fest of Manipur #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Mai-Own : Produces from Manipur #3: Gallery
  • 'Manipur Model' of Homestays gets booster
  • Manipur Lokayukta: Today's Imperative
  • Second wave could delay economic recovery
  • Give teeth to war on drugs
  • Thabal Chongba @Bamon Leikai #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • The Joy of Easter Sunday
  • What's happening in Myanmar
  • Easter : A strange & unique celebration
  • For One To Faithful :: Poem
  • Executive member : Physics Academy NE
  • Abridged Translation of Sanamahi Laihui #1
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Relief @ Rajaimei, Senapati : Gallery
  • The Ultimate Sacrifice
  • ST demand may become redundant
  • Addiction to drugs & alcohol
  • NHPC visit 510 MW Teesta-V
  • Creating space for super spreader
  • Day 3: Yaoshang Sports Meet : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Journalists' Sports Meet #1 : Gallery
  • World Autism Awareness Day 2021
  • Cut Money: The Virus of Illfare in Welfare
  • Vigyan Vidushi : Physics for women students
  • Mulling over the absolute
  • Arrest of former Salai Chairman
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Champion in Natl Thang-Ta C'ship
  • Yaoshang Pichakari : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn the Manipuri script
  • We are all Human ! :: Poem
  • Adequate nutrition for productive society
  • ADC elections assured, but when? ATSUM
  • Thabal Chongba @Bamon Leikai #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • April Calendar for Year 2021 : Tools
  • Marathon Race- Kanglei Sports: Gallery
  • Paradise found. Paradise made.
  • AR organises anti drug awareness campaign
  • Fire @ Shirui, Ukhrul [Mar 29] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang MeiThaba @Kwakeithel: Gallery
  • Relief at Rajaimei & Tumuyon Khullen
  • Mask up to beat the second Covid wave
  • Yaoshang MeiThaba @Bamon Leikai: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Promotion of science @Senapati : Gallery
  • In need of a savior: the wailing of Myanmar
  • Science Awareness Programme at Senapati
  • World Sleep Day 2021 #2
  • AR interacts with ex-servicemen
  • Journalists' Sports Meet- Opening : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Film Preservation & Archiving Workshop
  • Fullmoon :: Poem
  • Appeal for assistance to Myanmar victims
  • Holi colour can cause dangerous side-effect
  • Training Program on Mushroom Cultivation
  • On Equality
  • Saroi Khangba @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Mai-Own : Produces from Manipur #2: Gallery
  • War on drugs & sports movement
  • Yaoshang (Holi) Festival :: Book
  • Will advances in TB outweigh Covid-19 ?
  • Expecting Rs 14567 crore from the Centre
  • Still making waves in the the year 2021
  • War on Drugs: The uncheck loopholes
  • Junior Men & Women Hockey : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Account Assistant @ Amber & Arthur, Imphal
  • Principle of Self Determination & Peace
  • A Poem's Story
  • NDPP delegation visited Assam
  • Climbing cases in the last few days
  • Human Rights issues & Tangkhul Women #4
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • World Water Day Water
  • The Night :: Poem
  • Demand to book Lamhainamdi incident
  • Five Films for Freedom, LGBTIQ+ campaign
  • Touch stance with look at past 'mistakes'
  • For a little bit more
  • Mai-Own : Produces from Manipur #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Lamjing Meira Episode 1 - AMAND Ladies
  • World Sleep Day 2021 #1
  • Science Awareness Program at Wabagai
  • Towards Special Agricultural Zone in Manipur
  • Office Bearers- Manipur Soccer Futsal Assn
  • Of forest and water in the world
  • Chingu Paokhollei Leirang - Ingellei
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur: Team champion, Natl Bodybuilding
  • One Midsummer Dream :: Poem
  • Public auction theory & policy
  • BJP likely to retain Assam
  • Imagination: Not a child's play
  • Climbing cases across the country
  • TAPASYA Foundation day #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Of Nambul River & Prof Rajendra Ksh #1
  • Khengjang-Yangoulen Fish Conservation
  • Workshop on NEP 2020 at Manipur Univ
  • Cyclist Philem Rohan reached Bengaluru
  • Delhi Citizens extend solidarity with Myanmar
  • Create ADCs first ultimatum
  • Saroi Khangba @Imphal #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Measures to contain COVID-19 in Yaoshang
  • Science Education @ Chandel : Gallery
  • Consultants @ The Property Geo, Imphal
  • The Myanmar crisis & our options
  • Whither Homeland... :: Poem
  • Course in Kinanthropometry
  • Awareness of science education in SC school
  • Understanding value of 'Time' & 'Money'
  • Human Rights issues & Tangkhul Women #3
  • Book- 'Critics forum Manipur' : Gallery
  • Realization in the dark :: Poem
  • 39th Orientation Program at MU
  • Gauri Healthy Heart Mission at Kakching
  • State of democracy in Thailand : Discussion
  • Disturbing reports of deaths
  • Stop sand mining from River bank
  • Sharungbam Rameshor: Yuva Puraskar
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Brewing Bio Entrepreneurships in Manipur
  • Mayasvi festival of the Tsou of Taiwan
  • Accountants at R-Square Design
  • Myanmar Memories
  • Staring at second wave of the virus
  • Inauguration and Launching Galore
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri #2: Gallery
  • Causes & solutions of unemployment
  • Where Fate Leads :: Poem
  • 'Dry fish' from Chittagong
  • Education for CWSN
  • ST demand: Gearing up for stir
  • Gadgets matters
  • Houses @Yangkhullen, Senapati : Gallery
  • World War II, INA & Manipuri Literature #3
  • Is there a perfect referee in football ?
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • The way to equal future
  • The magic of Coriander in skincare
  • From a high of 426 to zero
  • So far so good
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #20
  • Mushroom training @MayangImphal: Gallery
  • Rih-Ngai Fest @Kakhulong : Gallery
  • Imphal City from Nongmai Ching #2: Gallery
  • Aries Haoneo Kuki : Singer Profile :: eRang
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2021 #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 vaccination [Jan 16] #2 : Gallery
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar :: 2021
  • 'Zehara' - Manipuri Movie :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS