Education with poor vision

Sep 26, 2022

Human practice and human nature are diametrically opposite to each other. After building something very seriously with hard work and passion, the same is dismantled or abandoned sooner or later. The change in the human mind makes everything new today an old one tomorrow. We say every material becomes old. It is not the material that becomes old but our state of mind that runs out of time.

Look at our education system. Most of us learn too many things by spending years after years in classrooms. Nevertheless, most of what we have learned could not help us. It was after many decades of scholarly thinking that an education system was developed. If there is a western influence in our syllabus, we become falsely prouder. But it was the western dictations of what we must study that shattered the quality of our education. We could realise it only much later.

We believed education would make our life better, especially the western model. There was nothing wrong with such belief.  Education has been a part of civilization. However, even religions had an educational bias, though they have corrected it. Today, an uneducated person is considered less than a human being.

Modern education reflects the character of modern life. Education fundamentally aims at overall skill development, after setting an elementary standard with language and simple arithmetic. In the earlier days, people were satisfied with vocational education, like learning carpentry. As the generations changed, people rushed to learn science, technology, commerce and various other subjects. Colonial India had a pedagogical system that could give only school and university certificates. Most of the students passing out with university certificates prove themselves inefficient to take up any job. Barring exceptions, the brightest of the students feel being left in a lurch. A self-revision about their capability brings them self-humiliation.

Lord William Bentinck legislative action in 1835 and Thomas Macaulay’s Memorandum on Indian Education brought an absolute English orientation to India’s education. They succeeded in creating many generations with an English superiority complex, thereby redefining the connotation of education. They had their purpose clear for India, which may be different from other British colonies. India paid a heavy price for it. By the time we realised the fallacy of the British framework of education, the crippling effect on us was almost complete.  Before correcting the English fault lines, we tried to expand the inevitable social infrastructure through private intervention, opening the gateway for commercial exploitation.

Education has become a true business. Religious establishments and castes found their shares in the business. Influential politicians also have made their positions. Not because of any commitment towards the society they entered into the business of education, but for the attraction of land parcels at a throwaway price. But that is not the primary challenge of education. The insurmountable challenge lies in how to equip our education with foresight so that we show enough wisdom. The challenge is insurmountable because of the more rapid depletion in the quality of education, especially in the days of online schooling. The absurdity of our planners percolates down to the wards. The best example lies in the decision of reopening the schools at the time the third wave has begun to sweep only to close all the schools again.  Online education has already inflicted hardly-repairable damage on children. The business dimension of education warns us of an ensuing social disaster.