Education teaches us many things; character-building, knowledge-dissemination and career-building to name a few. But the paramount one ought to be ‘teaching how to learn’.
For when we know how to learn, we will be able to identify, decipher, assimilate and deploy our learning.
Ironic it is then, that it is our educational system itself supported unwittingly by the parents, which is one of the key culprits hindering us from excelling at the art of learning. Let’s look at how.
- It propagates herd mentality
Our Education System is as prone to ‘following the trend’ blindly as is Social Media and Fashion. For a few decades after India’s independence, Government Jobs symbolised the epitome of a good career choice. Next came the phase of Engineers and Doctors, and children were groomed to study science streams and crack one of these. With the opening up of the economy, the MBA became the buzz word. And in more recent times, it’s being left behind by the new poster boy, Entrepreneur.
With everyone rooting for the same profession, the country’s work-force will always be in a state of imbalance, GDP will always have high sectoral dependancy and mediocrity will flourish.
- It advises us to play safe
Ask a parent what they want for their child’s future, and 9 out of 10 times the answer will be ‘a safe and secure future’. Whilst there is nothing wrong in that wish, the problem is that it automatically closes many doors to different possibilities.
If Alice had not opened the door, she would not have entered wonderland.
Life is an adventure. No risk, no gain. By wishing ‘a safe-n-secure future’ we are wishing away the possibilities of a bigger, brighter and in many ways a better life for our children.
In the endeavour to reduce Uncertainty, we eliminate Possibility. A life without possibilities is a life unexplored, with its true potential staying untouched.
- It kills innovation
Innovation comes from thinking-out-of-the-box. Sadly, our education system teaches us to think very much within clear cut lines. There is no room for experimentation. The focus of our syllabus is purely on the dissemination of facts – how things work. It doesn’t encourage questioning the whys and wherefores but instead mastering verified theories and laws.
This is more so in the India educational system and therefore, it’s not surprising that the IT industry flourished because of labour cost arbitration rather than innovation.
In the current scenario, our IT industry which is to a large extent fuelling the economy is in great danger of becoming obsolete with other upcoming developing nations offering better & cheaper services to global businesses.
- It propagates caste-system in Careers
The second biggest concern that’s raised by students in the LIVE MasterClasses of my Mentoring Program is ‘how to crack IITJEE, NEET, CAT’. It is a widely accepted notion that these are the three most preferred careers, with the others following on.
This is the equivalent of racial discrimination in education & careers! Why should one career always be better than another, and more so, why for everyone?
Unrealistic expectations of parents, undue pressure on kids, and fuelling society to run a rat-race, are some of the obvious pitfalls of grading careers. Furthermore, we teach our children that the key measure of success is salary, money and display of wealth. The subtle but persistent degradation of society due to the wrong definition of success is leading us to become a less ‘happy’ nation, with fewer of us finding the real meaning of life and living purposefully.
- It tells us who we should be rather than who we could be
Schooling is supposed to vitalise our brains, open up our senses and give us invisible wings. Teachers are meant to teach the art of learning, the beauty of subjects, the essence of life. Parents are there to love, nurture and guide until the little birds have the confidence to fly off on their own. Society is there to arm us with support and create a sense of community.
Instead, the ‘system’ is cramming us with facts, forcing us to choose from fixed paths, limiting our choices in life, naming a single yardstick of success, creating unhealthy competitiveness, and to cut it short – limiting us.
It’s time we revamp our educational system to teach how to learn rather than train how to complete the syllabus; it’s time to teach our children to dream big, live fearless and trust their intuition; it’s time to build a society that thrives on uniqueness and individuality; it’s time to teach ourselves to follow a purpose that calls us from within rather than chase the success we were taught to achieve.