I go to college, spend my time there - just like how I spent more than 10 years in school. You know but sometimes I ask myself ‘What did I go to school for?’ and the fun side of me always answers with stuff like screwing around with friends, getting teachers angry and just all around fun kind of stuff - that’s what it says I went to school for, and it doesn’t regret it, not a bit. But then my serious side trickles in with “I went to school to learn, to educate myself, to gain knowledge” But then I ask myself, what did I actually learn at school, especially from the teachers? Yeah, of course I studied maths, science, geography and a whole lot of other subjects. But I’m still not convinced ‘cause according to me most of that was just boring, hard repetition - the teachers told us, we repeated it and then when we had it all mugged up, we wrote it in our exams and most of the times we had pretty marks and grades. But that’s not learning, is it? So, I go ahead and ask myself again for one last time - “What did I really learn from school, from the teachers at school?” And,..I’m sort of unable to clearly answer, to just tell that I learned. Why? I don’t really know. Maybe because almost all that I learned or almost all of what teachers taught us is how to properly mug up, how to score marks, how to score better marks, how to be better than others, how to win the race which according to them, is life itself. You know, most of them they never really had us learn, never had us want to know just for the sake of knowing it, just because we were curious and not just to score marks in stupid exams.”It’s out of the syllabus.”, they say.”Don’t try to be oversmart.”, they say. But I never wanted to appear oversmart - I just wanted to know, that’s it. That’s really it.
I still remember that some of them said,”Do only what you’re told to do.”One of them even told me “Don’t think.” And I’m still wondering how do I stop thinking and what she really meant. Now I may be stupid, but isn’t the whole point of education or schooling or learning to think outside of what you’re told to do? To try things, to do new things - isn’t that what education is all about? Or at least that’s what every school has to say in their admission brochure.
OK, now let’s also look at something else, still related to schooling, still related to education. We say that these values - of equality, of freedom, of freedom of speech and expression, of being indiscriminate, of secularism - we have them at the heart of our country, of our democratic country and also at the heart of our educational system - that’s what we say. But the truth is in fact, quite opposite really. The guy who scores more marks is always in the spotlight of the teacher, he’s always the smart guy - the guy who can do something with his life, something good and fine. Everyone else are just dumbfucks - stupid students who don’t do exactly as the teacher says.”They’re just gonna sell vada pavs, that’s all they’re ever gonna do, they are only that capable.” - that’s what the teacher says of them. Now tell me how that’s an example of equality, of giving equal opportunities - it simply isn’t. I mean that just because one guy can score a lot of marks in some subjects doesn’t mean that he’s gonna be an awesome person. And it doesn’t mean that people who don’t score that well, or fail at those subjects are gonna be stupid people. From what I see, whatever we are taught from childhood is really to make scientists and engineers and doctors of ourselves. But not all of us are equal so all of us can’t be them - no, we really can’t be them. Sure, 'everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree - then it might well spend it's whole life thinking that it's stupid', even though it’s not. Likewise, the guys who failed at those subjects at school might be really talented artists, writers or even poets. Some might even grow up to be inventors. Some might even invent a profession or a job category of their own. Maybe those students disobeyed, but all of the people who ever did great things in their lives did the same - they disobeyed, they rejected authority.
Right & Wrong. From our childhood, we are taught what is right and what is wrong. We are taught that we should never drink, we should never take drugs, we should never go chasing beautiful women(now, how’s that wrong?), we should not enjoy life(I particularly hate this one) and on and on and on.Now that maybe right. But none of them ever told me why. They just said that’s right and that’s wrong. That’s all really, no reason given. But that just cannot be. Because there is no real definition of right or wrong. It all just depends on something or another. Just because something was right or wrong for you doesn’t meant that it’s gonna be the same for everyone else.
Education is supposed to open up our minds instead of closing it - that’s what education is supposed to do. But that’s really contradictory of what kind of educational system we currently have in function - we forcefully stuff our own or somebody else’s thoughts into someone who may be completely different. We fill up their minds with junk a lot of times, stuff that is unnecessary to them. And we strive at doing that. But only you know what you are truly capable of, not someone else. So it’s best to stick what you believe in to be right - rather than fall into dogma and live our life according to other people’s thoughts or opinions. Living our life based on what other people tell us is just plain stupid - but paradoxically that’s exactly what we are taught to do at school.
Sometimes, I feel that education that we have is a manufacturing process - we go to school where we are polished for Junior College and then we are fitted with the necessary parts and sent for higher studies and then we get a job and then we spend the rest of our lives there. And those who fail in between are thrown out of the system - just like how bad parts are thrown away in the manufacturing process in a factory. In the school or college assembly every morning we all stand together adjusted according to height, like in a factory. But education isn’t a manufacturing process Goddamnit!, it isn’t. It’s about understanding. It’s about knowing and it’s about being curious. It’s about learning.
In ancient times, greek scholars used to gather in a sort of a school of that time and think. And that’s what they did - Think. And they produced more scholars in that short amount of time than the present educational system produced in these many centuries.
So yeah, that’s what I think. We’ve a screwed up educational system. Where students are told to obey like slaves. But I’ve never been one who obeys blindly. I’ll always disobey when I feel from my heart that it’s better to disobey.
Through years of practice and hard work, we’ve successfully built an education system which places too much emphasis on learning the things that are already known to man and too little on inventing and discovering new things. Good work, India. Good work.
Now, all that I have said might be disrespectful for some of the teachers because I argued. But education should make you think and make you argue and make you ask questions – that’s what education is supposed to do. Sorry, but sometimes I forget that speaking your heart out is disrespectful. Sometimes I forget that our educational system is failed.