We don’t need no education

2 million years ago, few apes met to discover fire. An hour passed. The friction was working out fine. Oxygen was abundant. There came a small spark! Things were warming up. The apes started to enjoy it, when suddenly a bell rang. It was time for them to invent the wheel! These apes were asked to make the remaining fire on the  next day.

Recently, India ranked second last among the 73 countries that participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment, conducted annually to evaluate education systems worldwide by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Secretariat. The 15-year-old Indians students who were put, for the first time could beat only Kyrgyzstan when tested on their reading, math and science abilities. The Chinese students came first in the contest.

I am not much bothered about outcomes. But, the process certainly bothers me. The education system that the British devised for us was destined to make us conforming, obedient, unquestioning labourers. The fact that our schools resemble factories is a proof what we do with our students. The activities change on a bell’s toll. Now they have to study Maths. An interesting topic starts picking, when suddenly, a bell rings, and these students are compelled to study Hindi. These students pass out of school in batches, just like end products of a factory. No wonder, in-spite of holding one-sixth population of the world, India is far behind in fields of research.

Well, the driving force behind evolution is free thinking alone. It is high time we revise the system that has been used as a tool of social control, political and financial power, and a training ground for factory recruits. With the advancement of Internet, the linear way of learning is loosing relevance. Let’s jump into the newer domains of non-linear education. Let’s start with mentoring our children, cousins, niece and nephews. If you can’t walk into a classroom to alter a child’s education, then just find some time to teach them out-of-the-box-skills. Let’s inspire them to read, experiment, explore and ask questions before we run out of answers. Let’s drive them to bump into failures before our indifference towards them results in their collective failure as a generation.

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3 responses to “We don’t need no education

  1. Indeed sir. What’s called “education” in our system is simply schooling to control the “herd”. Individuals can’t be taught in a one-size-fits-all box. Great insight my friend.

  2. How do you conclude that the “The education system that the British devised for us was destined to bring shame to us”? And what’s the problem with bell tolling for a class change?

    The current period-based education system arose as a result of the necessity for mass education – in 19th century Britain as much as in India. The model may be flawed, but it has certainly produced results.

    How did we arrive at our life expectancy 67 (from 29 at independence, and with the population tripled), small pox and polio eradicated and so forth?

    Because education provided at school doesn’t mean educating children at home has to stop.

  3. Pingback: A nation can’t run faster than its education | Sourav Roy

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