As per Albert Einstein’s educational philosophy, education is not about learning facts, but training the mind for thinking about ideas. It is what remains after one has forgotten what he has learned in school. The ideal purpose of education should be to create the capacity of integrated learning and an ability to use the knowledge intelligently.
If we talk about the bigger picture, education works as a catalyst in reducing poverty, improving health, providing employment, eliminating gender inequality, and overall creating a sustainable planet. Along with skill development, education also helps in inculcating human values.
Though the million-dollar question is – Are schools enough to bring the ideal purpose into reality? As students, as parents, as educators, do we strongly feel so?
Educational Psychology is vital in today’s complex education system as this branch designs new methods of learning for students (Sir Johann Herbart is the father of this field). And it emphasises on improving and inculcating the areas of social, emotional, and cognitive development as this is the need of the hour. As 21st-century educators, parents, in this widely diverse, global world, we need to have the life skills become an integral part of students’ education. We should be able to create a drive in the students and devise a curriculum that maximises their learning potential and allows them to explore untravelled paths.
Education in India
History of an old Indian university system
Nalanda was the oldest university system in the world. The secular institutions, alongside monasteries, used to teach practical education such as medicine. Their curriculum also entailed Vedas, logic, Sanskrit grammar, and Samkhya (one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy). The university is located in Bihar.
While we were good at what we were doing in terms of providing the right and meaningful education that was pertinent to those times for our lifestyle, but when the British were ruling India, everything got transformed into corporate-level education.
They needed clerical people, administrative people, and hence they introduced English and started the corporate education system in India.
However, after about seven decades of freedom, did India improve its education system and make it pertinent to current needs?
Schools should motivate children to aspire their dreams
Sir Ken Robinson (author, speaker, and international advisor on education) once told in a session an instance from his life – Mr Paul McCartney was in the same school as him. However, he did not know him then. When Sir Robinson was writing his book ‘The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything,’ he interviewed many people. One of them was Paul McCartney – the English Singer and Co-lead vocalist of a band, The Beatles.
During the interview, Mr Robinson asked Paul that if he enjoyed the music at school, to which he refused. He wondered if the music teacher in school ever gave him some hint about his unique talent. Paul refused.
In the same music group, there was another person named George Harrison, the lead guitarist of The Beatles. So, Mr Robinson inquired from Paul if any music teacher praised George. Paul again replied with a no.
The crux is that music class was filled with a lot of passionate musicians or half of the Beatles band, but there was nobody to recognise them.
Despite this, the education system is still the same.
Changes required in the Indian education system
It can’t be denied that the Indian government and institutions are working hard to introduce many positive reforms to the existing education model. However, a few issues which must be taken into consideration remain. These are:
Evaluation system based on a written exam
Marks/scores/grades still play a crucial role in deciding the brainpower of a child. Due to which the pressure of getting good marks remain high on them and often led to underperforming.
The evaluation of a student shouldn’t be done based on a three-hour theoretical exam. Instead, the marks should be given on class activities, participation in projects, communication, task completion, leadership skills, and extracurricular activities.
Lack of respect and equality to all streams
Often it has been noticed even in the 21st century that most parents don’t want their kids to choose any other subjects apart from Science and Maths. There is a myth that subjects like commerce and arts are easy to grasp and don’t need much effort to qualify. Along with that, the other misconception is – people who take these subjects aren’t intelligent enough. Therefore, it becomes a matter of respect.
The truth is if you like the subject you have chosen and are passionate about it, be it arts, humanities, commerce, communications, etc. you will succeed in life in terms of fame, money and making a valuable contribution to the society.
The significant portion of our education system is still based on rote learning. The students who can’t mug up are left behind. Hence, the inclusion of conceptual knowledge (understanding concepts with live examples) is necessarily required in our education system.
Absence of customised learning
Schools need to understand that a square peg can’t fit in a round hole, which means the mass education system may not work for everyone. Each student has its absorbing capacity and should be handled accordingly. Some students may learn fast, while others can’t. Thus, in a class, a teacher should focus on every student, which is humanely not possible. The solution can be the adaptation of technology such as Artificial Intelligence or Chatbots that can become the helping hand for the teachers and students in knowing where they need support, what subjects they are interested in, how they can learn difficult topics, etc.
The motive of education transformed
The idea that stuck into parents’ minds because of colonial rule is that the real purpose of education is to earn money. But each one of us should understand that the real meaning of education goes beyond making money. All successful leaders of today have higher Emotional Quotient(balancing their emotions and thinking clearly in pressure) than Intelligence Quotient(pure logical brain). This statistic is precise and needs to be considered when imparting education to students.
The bottom line
Education is more than just a school textbook or a final term grade. It’s about sparking a passion that drives you forward in life and makes you the best possible version of your self. Effective education teaches you how to hone your mindset positively, improves your communication skills, and, most importantly, enables you to help others and become a good citizen.
As James Truslow Adams said –
“There are two educations; one should teach us how to make a living, and the other should teach how to live.”
Hence, the ideal education should cover both the aspects – academic and lifestyle. Where academics is all about curiosity and gathering knowledge, lifestyle education should teach skills related to negotiation, facing failures, time management, and making an impact.