TODAY -

The beauty and efficacy of Education

K Pamreihor *

Science Exhibition for Inspire Awardees 2012 at CC Hr Sec School, Imphal :: 9 to 12 May 2012
A Science Exhibition at CC Hr Sec School, Imphal in May 2012 :: Pix - Bunti Phurailatpam



The future of a society lies in innovations, new ideas and ground-breaking approaches. And only the intellectual can champion the path of innovation. Thus, society must change its attitude toward education. Here the Chinese proverb runs... "If you want to think one year ahead plant rice, if you want to think 10 years ahead plant tree, but if you want to think 100 years ahead give education to people."

Whether the education in our society truly fulfills the objective or rather it just helps people meeting their needs of a decent lifestyle. The true goals of education transcend much beyond just getting degrees, but aims to develop the intellect of the learners. It seeks to liberate the human being form parochial mindset. Education is not just a tool to earn money to make the ends. It is the way to liberate the mind and soul of person.

If education is measured in terms of years of schooling, teacher-pupil ratio, enrolment rates and holding degree may not reflect the quality of education. The real product of a true education system is a rational mind which works toward building an intellectual society, reflects the impact of the social, cultural and economic phenomenon of our society. The education tends to promote competition among the pupils instead of developing attitudes, but today it is highly focused towards scoring mark in examination rather than building concept.

The education system being a much broader aspect than literacy is heavily influenced by social, cultural and economic system. Literacy or simply learning to read and write by itself did not count as education. By education it means an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man-body, mind and spirit. The aim of education ought to be to teach what is useful and practical. Literacy is not the end of education nor even the beginning. It is only of the means whereby a man and woman can be educated, so 'literacy in itself in not education'.

Ironically, in order to perform their social duties people tend to take job early age, get married and settle down. Earning money instead of developing intelligence is now treated as the yardstick to measure success in our society. However, the quality of education means, it stimulates creative thinking, developing problem-solving skill and life skills and laying emphasis on practical application of knowledge.

Sadly parents today are overzealous in shaping the future of their progeny. Every examination for youngster is a traumatic experience because of the surveillance by guardian. Winston Churchill said, "They are more interested in knowing what I do not know than what I do know. While I would have willingly displayed my knowledge, they sought to fathom my ignorance."

Have we inadvertently brainwashed students by blowing out of proportion ranks and grades as sole yardstick of schooling or colleg(ing). Child-centric system of education has been replaced by exam-centric system of learning. Has it not reduced schools or colleges to mere talking shops where a relentless grinding replaces rejuvenating teacher-pupils dialogue? Perhaps, creative thinking is decimated, convergent thinking is promoted and student participation eliminated.

In this process the excitement of discovery, the exuberance of experimentation, the ecstasy of participation in debates and above all, the eagerness to read for fun and enjoyment seem to be sacrificed at the altar of sharping one's skill in responding to anticipated questions with tailor-made answers. Education is a catalyst for development; it is the essential tool of transformation as it inspires a person to become better. It is a lifelong process of learning and developing self-discipline, guides the evolution of mankind towards a higher civilized society and an instrument for personal empowerment and a critical means for social transformation.

Education is sought not only as it confers higher earning capacity on people but also for its other highly valued benefits, it gives one a better social standing and pride, it enables one to make better choice in life, it provides knowledge to understand the changes taking place in society and scientific advancement. Moreover, the availability of educated labour force facilitates adaptation of new technologies. Investment in education is considered as one of the main sources of human capital. The big question now is why do our parents spend money on education? Here, human capital formation is the outcome of investments in education. Investments in education convert human being into human capital. Likewise human capital represents enhanced labor productivity.

We can argue that colonial education created a sense of inferiority in the minds, we tends to charm the west, appreciating everything that came from the west. Perhaps, we need an education that could help society recover the sense of dignity and self-respect. Colonial education crippled our society, distanced us from our social surroundings and made us strangers in our lands speaking a foreign tongue, despising local culture.

Mahatma Gandhi argued that "education ought to develop a person's mind and soul."However, learning should improve the moral character of individual, it would make them truthful and honest, it also instill in people a sense of duty and commitment to work and could develop the skill required for life. Unless we put away all quarrelling amongst ourselves our society will never make any progress. It will be unity to serve our purpose, and then will not be me here and you there attitude.

"Many things we need, can wait, the child cannot. To him, we cannot say 'tomorrow', his name is today." Said Gabriella Mistral, an Chilean poet. So is the education. The beauty of education lies not in degrees and diplomas but in its qualities.


* K Pamreihor wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a Doctoral Scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
This article was posted on January 08, 2013.



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