Respected Education Minister,
Tough time is back, eh? That’s what you must be thinking. A poor lad crushed barbarously under the education system arrives ones again with some heedless questions, isn’t it? Well, not today. I am just writing to tell you a story and point out some possible ‘wrongs’ in it that could have been ‘rights’. Pointing out the ‘wrongs’-isn’t that something I did in our last encounter? Fortunately, this time I have brought the ‘rights’ too with me. Let’s hear the story first.
I’d like to begin it with oblivion-“Once upon a time”. Once upon a time there lived a boy. An ordinary one, the ones you see on footpaths and buses every day. Let’s give him a name-Loser. Loser got his first bicycle when he was three. While other kids went to school in their parents’ car, loser had his own companion to carry himself-the bicycle. He somehow enjoyed his two rides every day. As time passed, loser grew up. There is a fact about life which is very easy to ignore-a drastic change is about to come in our lives when pencils get replaced by pens in our compass boxes. That’s what happened to him. Loser finally reached class tenth. By now he had started feeling a strange enticement towards cycling. It was something that de-stressed him. He loved the puff of fresh air that would hit his face every time he went on a bicycle. It was a feeling his heart knew very well.
As soon as he reached class tenth, a major change occurred in his life-a change that his brain could not digest. All the posters of his favourite cyclists were invaded by formulas containing lots of creepy Greek symbols. Physics, chemistry and mathematics-the three walls that chocked him more and more each day. A big blow dawned upon him when he reached class twelve. By now, it was clear that his passion was cycling. But his parents had other plans about his life. They wanted Loser to become a doctor. Reason? Same as every parent has-a rich future. Loser’s legs had enough cells in them to drive a cycle for miles, but his brain was unable to digest ‘cells’ (biology). The rest of the story goes as it does in lives of millions like Loser. His passions dumped themselves in the same oblivion that started his story-“Once upon a time”.
So that was about it. You must have enjoyed it, after all it was your system which won in the end and a poor ordinary student lost, as it happens every time. You must have noticed numerous wrongs in it, still let me introduce them to you one by one.
The very basic problem I see is the inclusion of the marks in the scenario. The problem arises when we give so much importance to them that they almost define everything for us. 78,33,65,46, really? Is our self-worth limited only to the grade we score? No, Mr. Education Minister, mind you-we are not numbers. It really sucks when those two damn digits printed on my sheet decides the love and respect I have for my parents. How can the guests who visit my house decide the kind of person I am based on what I score? And even the kind of effect I will have on their child, for that matter. So save us from this timeless trouble. So here it goes-Moral number 1 : A stupid letter printed on my grade-sheet is not a measure of my character.
The next problem I see is the kind of mind-sets parents have injected themselves with. Why are they too blind to see anything but engineering or medicine? Why should a child be made to slaughter his own dreams to live their parent’s? With due respect to all the parents, please stop being the life insurers of your children. They know what they really want and it is something beyond luxury. They say you go to school to learn. Well, whenever I went home from school, my mom never asked me “what did you learn?”; all she ever asked was “how much did you score?”. And scoring low meant less care and affection towards them. Well, a child’s love for his parents is not a sensex, which changes every week with different numbers. Secondly, believe in your child when he says he wants to pursue something that makes him feel alive. There is much more to life than the amount your child will earn at the end of thirty days. The possible solution I see is organizing counseling sessions for parents. So here it goes-Moral number 2 : Dear parents, please don’t use your children as a reflection of what you couldn’t become.
A major contribution can be done by teachers in this regard. Although I am skeptical to admit it-certain practices done by teachers can have the deepest impression on a child’s sensitive mind. For example, public mockery of a weak student, reading out answer sheets of failures. Well, they don’t know what a failed student is already going through. He obviously doesn’t require those few words of demoralization from his teachers. I think the results should not be an entity of public display. Marks are just the ability of a student to mug up few pages of a textbook and venting it on a sheet of paper. And education is not about learning of facts; we have Google for the same. So here it goes-Moral number 3 : Marks are nothing more than memory of a student on a given random day under unknown circumstances, so let’s not value them more than they should be valued.
Everyone including the system, the parents and the teachers can help to make the system better. The big question is-how can the most seminal part of this system i.e. students contribute? Well, more than anybody else, you yourself can pull yourself out of this sea of mediocrity you’ve been floating in. Contribute by truly educating yourself, but for that discover the true spirit of education. Education is making yourself familiar to the possibilities of your own self. So here it goes-Moral number 4 : Education is having enough brains to realize that your possibility of your own self should not be chosen on the basis of the number of zeroes your salary would contain.
Another salutary change is to introduce something called as ‘freedom of subjects’. Why can’t I study mathematics, music and photography together? Why are our subjects so congregated? It’s like a postpaid mobile plan; there are bunch of services and if you choose service A, service B would have to be tolerated mandatory as it’s in the plan.
And this last thing is for you, dear sir. We are done pillion riding this ridiculous system that makes sure each student’s creativity is slayed. Everyone has that one teacher in their first grade who tells that each one of you is special. After spending a decade in this system one realizes that how wrong he was. Nobody is special in our system. Our system is so versatile that a cyclist, a musician and an actor can be judged by same set of exams. This is the reason India keeps on producing a lot of followers but not a single leader. We need brains that react to something out of the box and synthesize any new set of information provided to it rationally. We don’t need a well-trained mind, we need a well-formed mind. We have enough people who can answer ‘why’, now it’s time we produce people who can ask ‘why not’.
Yours in pain,
Poor Indian student
PS: Sir, you saved Velverde Alajandro (one of the best cyclist of 2015) from one hell of a competition because cyclist Looser is now doctor Looser.
Post By : Falan Vachhrajani