-D K Hari and D K Hema Hari
Education, a Vehicle for Knowledge
An Education system is the knowledge delivery system for a civilization.
Education is a vehicle, a Vahana for Knowledge, Jnana.
An effective education should deliver comprehensive knowledge, comprising of
- Dhi – Intelligence
- Dharma- Values
- Daksha – Skills.
Unfortunately today, our Education system has been reduced to the level of just earning marks, and so much that this has is slackened the creativity of a student. There are set answers for set questions, which the student has to spill in the answer sheet.
In this light, a letter written by a student Subashree assumes significance, and closely resembles the educational thought of Rabindranath Tagore.
These letters reflect the thoughts running through every student today. It is however to be added that it is not the teachers who are at fault for the present day mess. The education system is what we need to change.
Many years back, the famous poet Rabindranath Tagore had conveyed the same idea.
Santiniketan, a town in the Birbhum district of West Bengal was established by Maharishi Devendranath Tagore, the esteemed father of Rabindranath Tagore. This town was expanded by Rabindranath Tagore, who converted it into a University town of Vishva Bharati University. Reflecting the vision of Tagore, it became the first recognized university of India, deemed as such, by the Central Government in 1951.
Having suffered from bad teaching in his childhood, Tagore’s focus at the Shantiniketan was mostly on Nature based education and open air learning.
No Creativity – Just Robots
In the present day education system, creativity has taken a backseat while students are stressed with information, stuffed into their head from text books.
It kills the questioning mentality of the child at an early age, destroying his unique ability to think and come up with his own answers. Children are made robots.
It is the elementary education institutions in India, where mechanized or programmed learning starts for children based on the mechanized and programmed teaching done there.
People who start lives, educated in such a mechanized environment are bound to get replaced, sooner than later, with robots and Artificial Intelligent system, which have a better work efficiency and are more suitable for volume production in mechanized industries.
The solution will be to create an education system with the following focus so that the future is equipped to ask such questions and find its own answers.
Recognize the uniqueness of every child, and his aptitude
Every child is different and has his own thinking capability and interest. We need to appreciate this diversity and mould the student accordingly. This ability to think is an asset which we should not destroy by giving readymade answers to questions.
Cater to the questioning attitude
From questioning, comes thinking, seeking and discerning.
The method of education should shift its focus
- from the storing brain
- to a questioning intellect
- to the thinking mind.
This will help bring out the potential of every student.
In ancient India, Questioning was given much importance. The Upanishads, the texts that accompany the Veda, came out of questions. They were the “Question and Answer” sessions between a student and the teacher or between two rishi, seers, recorded for posterity. But the questioning happened with an inquisitiveness to learn, to know, to discover the truth, than out of arrogance or desire to deride the teacher or the knowledge.
Prepare to move from Education 1.0 and 4.0
The present day Indian Education system is still stuck at Education 1.0, while the world has started exploring Education 4.0.
Education 1.0 is classroom based learning where teachers teach and students learn.
Education 2.0 and Education 3.0 are intermediary stages which focus on combining classroom teaching with digital technology.
Education 4.0 will be a move towards a wholly digital education system, as Internet has become a primary tool of information, work and lifestyle in present times.
The way hardware and software should match, the educational system should match the need of the times. We need to be prepared to make this urgent shift, if are to keep pace with the world.
But all these are only about the delivery mechanism, since an Education System is fundamentally only a Delivery Mechanism of Knowledge. It is the Knowledge that eventually matters.
What does one teach using whichever be the delivery mechanism?
Inculcate Human and Environmental Values
Ultimately Human and Environmental values need to be inculcated in our students from a young age by reviving the timeless rhymes, fables, Purana and other moral stories from folk and ancient India that had succeeded in keeping generations of Indians humane and morally responsible.
More on transforming our education system, in our book, “Future From India”.