— Submitted by Aakanksha Sharma
When I talk about education, what is the thought that comes into your mind? Is it going to school, then college and then capable as per industry standards so that you get a job that may or may not pay well or as desired? Do you look at education as a means of finding that perfect job that is suitable for your family or sounds fancy to mention at get togethers or parties? Do you also look at education and attaining education only through expensive private schools in the name of quality?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Education is “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.”
Ponder over the words, “systematic instruction”, what do you think systematic means? In order for a system to exist, there must be something that is unsystematic, hence unruly. We all live in the world of rules, organization, system, government. A large part of the education system is controlled in nature. Who decides what one should learn and what one should skip? Who takes a decision based on what is good for the people and what is not?
Education is an institution built on standards that are etched on to the minds of the people according to their acceptable way of functioning. Anything that steps out of the line is “uneducational.”
We have also largely come to a place where we cannot differentiate between education and literacy. How will you differentiate between them? We can go by the generally accepted meanings or we can also choose to make our own versions, and mostly, we choose to stick to the latter.
Education is also a concept that has been marketed and advertised perfectly. There are two types of institutions that have been marketed so well that it will never run out of business. One is education and the other religion. I bring religion here because I have the same views for it like I do for education.
Education is supposed to be the foundation on which humanity finds its cornerstone and not a propaganda to manipulate and usurp a free thinking mind.
This mind is a bird but what controlling does to it is not only harmful but catastrophic.
If going to a fancy college and university, attaining Summa cum Laude or Magna cum Laude does not make one a good person at the end of the day, that education for me has failed in all its ways. What we attain and how we implement it in our lives is exactly proportionate to the granduer of that same institution.
Now what the government says is emulated in the books the children read and that in turn affects the world globally. Oil spills, off-shore drilling, wars for oil have all brought down the conditions suitable for anybody to live in peace. The world threat is so high that people are being asked to evacuate the country that they have lived in and called it home and for what? Just their ethnicity and beliefs. If you compare 2017 America, you will not find many differences between 1939 to 1945 Nazi Germany. United States of America has a very srong education system yet in modern day we are struggling to find peace and to fight for peace. The fact is also that every war starts with a demand for peace. Incoherently, not every educational system practises peace.
If we look at India, we will see that India is the largest and the fastest developing nation producing tech wizards, academicians, scholars, researchers, scientists and business people. The half of San Jose is filled with such Indians running companies like Google, Microsoft and Pepsico. ISRO is another celebrated institute of India. The stigma that India is still attached to regarding career choices, regarding the choice of education is what keeps the country from achieving its zenith. There has to be a breakthrough here. Pursuing to become an engineer, doctor or a chartered accountant is good but it is not the ultimate goal. What we focus on is following a path that has always been there, doing what has always been stationary is fine, it will give one a financial security, it will provide monetary gains but there will not be challenges, there will not be breaking of stigmas that is mandatory for the country and on a bigger picture, the world. This is what takes me back to where I started this. Education is not supposed to be something that doesn’t let you become who you are destined to be – an individual, as a citizen of the world, as a gaurdian of the society and a protector of the ecosystem we all share.
What good is this education really if all our focus lies on economic stability at the expense of one’s life? If we all pursued enhancing quality of living through being a good person, if we focused on being good to one another the same way we cared about who we feel is our own, if we only dissolved the lines between the self and the other, there would be no wars, there would be no pain. World hunger would be something of the past. What are we doing really with what we seem to have achieved? When the world starts dancing to the same tune of what we teach our children at home, we would not have to worry about homeland security.
Being a person of quality and a mediator of love and peace is what should be important. What now looks like Plato’s Utopia is not too distant only if we focused on what we should do and act on.
That is the day my idea of education will not be an idea anymore but something that everybody nods in agreement with for this is how I feel the world should be in a bigger picture.
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