Thursday, April 10, 2014

What's the ultimate aim of education?

I am sure everyone ponders over this question at some point in life. A child in school probably thinks of in-class time as a waste of time, considering that she has a lot of exciting things to do outside the four walls. A teacher in the same classroom is concerned about completing the prescribed content and schedule within the limits of time. The parent at home is mostly at ease with the fact that the child is in school while he goes on with his daily chores.

The one entity that gets impacted more than anyone else, and that, unfortunately, has the least power to influence the whole process, is the Society. The human civilization has, over the ages, come to terms with the fantasy that education (or, simply, bringing up a child) is an individual's responsibility. To be fair, states do put in a lot of emphasis on making their presence felt by controlling the essentials, namely, the finances and the "rules of the game".

What happens at the end of one's education is something that hits the society like a fireball. You get people who don't want to work on something, but they must- for whatever reasons! You also get people who are not able to cope with the real-world pressures and display behaviours that don't exactly gel well with others. The education that was supposed to produce "good human beings" suddenly begins to look as if it had all the right things in place, yet without a heart. In some countries, I am told, schools begin with social etiquettes and then with the alphabet. I wonder if they "fail" a child for not passing the first phase. What does a child do if she can't fathom the "selfishness" in her demanding the cookie of her brother? Or what does a teacher do on seeing a "hyper-active" child trying to jump over another child in the class and hurting himself in the process?

Do we really have a choice to not make good human beings more than anything else? And who should be doing this more than anyone else in the whole cast? Should we hold someone else accountable when a young male in the streets makes obscene overtures towards a girl? Or when an adult hits a child at the roadside because the child was "tampering" with this expensive car's side-view mirror? Or when a religious "jagrata" in the neighbourhood keeps you from sleeping peacefully for the whole night?

I fantasize about a day when brain-mapping technology would advance to a level when it identifies a suspect behaviour in a child at the age of four and provides help to its hapless (and often, defensive) parents. Until then, we need to help the society in bringing up the right next generation into its fold by giving preference to "bringing up" than "educating".

(Also published simultaneously on my other blog on Unschooling at


Rajneesh Salwan said...

Your 'dream' of advances in science and technology, up to a point that we are able to single out problem children at the age of four, remind me of a movie named 'Gattaca'. I feel different on this issue. Life is more vibrant with all the different colors. We do not want a generation of docile obedient geeks. Society needs to absorb whatever an individual has to offer. It only makes it richer and lively.

Anirudh Phadke said...

Rajneesh, good to have your views on this. How are you doing, buddy?

As for this statement, I meant "negative" traits that can jeopardise a society's growth. For instance, a terrorist, a murderer etc. Why shouldn't we try to correct any attitudinal roots (if there is anything like that!) in childhood? No harm in thinking science fiction, right?

Mr.Kunal Saha said...

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jalal nachiyar said...

I strongly believe that child has to be brought with good values which is needed to be good human beings and a good citizen.I also observe that moral education in schools becoming more as a one more exam to marks in a grade sheet rather than a hour to give them some thought about self ,family and society and so on.Though technolgy and science grow up,if one doesnt know to use for good purpose end of the day we read news about educated theifs and terrorists in this world!