I’ve been pondering over this subject for a fairly long time now. Every time I tried to put my thoughts together, I had to abandon them for my thoughts would take me back to school days and I’d start thinking all over again- Schools: are they giving Education or learning to the generation that is being taught to live the future. On which platform- success or Values, and the vicious circle would gladly tease me into non completion of my article.
I therefore changed the approach. I decided to start with Schools. What do they dispense: (I have very deliberately chosen the term Dispense to carry my article forward and for the discerning reader to comprehend my thought process) Knowledge or Awareness or Learning or all of them? or none of them ? Because all this can come with a smart phone / laptop etc and an internet connection.
Google and You tube will give you all of the above. So what is it that schools give which you do not get from Shri Google of Ms YouTube.
(Owners of the brand/ service kindly pardon me for assigning a gender to your enterprise for there is no malice or offence intended at all).
To quench my thirst about “what is it that schools give”, I decided to visit some of the school web sites. What impressed me were the catchy one liners of publicity e.g. ‘Education beyond class rooms, World Class Education, Rooted in Knowledge, Beyond Academics, Into the future, beyond the future…. etc, to name a few.
I have nothing against the coining of slogans. It is a creative talent, to attract parents who wish to impart expensive schooling to their kids, but what I failed to discover was education in that schooling. Or , my idea of education. One realises that it has become a part of our business genre to market every thing. And in the process education also is fast becoming a marketable commodity.
From the time I learnt to read and write, “ Build Ye High & Build Ye True “ dominated every other aspect of living. This was the school motto. There was no marketing slogan and every parent who could afford or dreamt a value laden youngster in their family would vie for that school. For education meant the endowment of curiosity in a pupil to learn, to question, to criticise and to accept criticism, to fight, to fail and to rise from there. I’m afraid, education today is – to mug, to slog, to crack (an entrance exam), to stop seeing the games field after 8th standard, to be self-centered & to be successful at the end of the day.
At the cost of what? Who has the time to impart values. “Sanskaar”, as it is called in Hindi. Since it is still not a marketable commodity, it is not sold yet.
The other day , around Lavelle road in Bangalore, I stopped the car abruptly, parked, with the engine running walked across to lend a hand to a ‘visually not so practically empowered person’ to help him cross the road. My daughters, both wondering ask their mother- “what’s wrong with him” ?
The mother understood, because she is from the same brood whom values were imparted during schooling.
I had to painfully tell the girls, that there are no sessions on “Moral Studies” these days, and this value was added to my insignificant life 50 years ago. It has come in handy today.
The glossy brochures of schools do never tell what they “Dispense” One look at the school kids gives out the truth. I have visited plenty of these worthy institutions & very honestly do I submit, that they don’t give more than what Google Sir ! or You tube Ma’am” deliver.
They give you the mantra of success. Success that is defined in material terms at the cost of all emotion. They dispense all that can be bought for a price. The priceless part of education is still indispensable.
So what makes a person- Success ? or Values ?