World has come a long way since the two stones were struck to produce fire, thousands of years ago. Fire was an important discovery; it is indispensable in the present world. Thousands of inventions and discoveries have been made since then, but the discovery of fire remains to be one of the biggest feats of man. Many inventions and discoveries revolutionized the world. Fire was discovered only when man lived with nature and observed it keenly. Hardly anything was invented or discovered by a person after reading a book; on the contrary it is only after accomplishing a task that a book comes into being. Volumes of books have been written by eminent scientists. However the books, more than being a pleasure to read, are haunting for children and young boys and girls. Books of any other field are equally repulsive, because our young generation, with their young ideas and energy are imprisoned in classrooms by our educational set-up. They are expected to do wonders by simply reading books. Inventions do not take place in closed classrooms, they only are made in abundance, in the world outside.
Present day world gives stress upon the acquiring of education and this need of education is stressful for the present as well as the future generation. Young generation is looking at the world through the prism of books. They mature through experiences that are not their own. Children do not enjoy their childhood, because their childhood is enclosed in a white-washed room with no colour to lend it a charm. A three four year kid holding a bag stuffed with books of more than his body own weight is sent to school away from his parents can not enjoy the childhood and in the long run may not admire his parents. Children grow in their schools and not in their homes. Children are sent to schools; they come out of schools with great knowledge- knowledge about what others have done and what others feel-but they have no idea about what they can do? and what they think?
Rousseau’s famous remark “man was born free but is found everywhere in chains” fits very well with our education system. The education system that we have framed has trapped us and chained us. We cannot move about. We miss the other things that constitute life; after all life is not about one thing, it is about many things put together. We have limited our vision of education to the rituals of coming and going to schools, doing home work, rote memorizing and so on. Our education system gives us no time to observe the nature with its unlimited gifts.
Our education system encourages competition, which in most cases leads to the growth of negative qualities in the students. This system of Education has led to the division of people into classes. Educated youth prefer to stay idle than to do a job for which an uneducated is qualified. Education has become a profession oriented activity. Every educated person is expected to do something big in life. Students study keeping in mind some end and every bit is directed towards that end. They miss their essential life in this pursuit. And if they fail to achieve their aims, everything ends in frustration; because this system of education teaches them the importance of success but not the truth of failure. They fail to understand that life has much more to offer and they fail to understand that life does not end with their failure and they fail to understand failing in an academic examination is not actually failure, just like succeeding in an academic examination is not actually success. It is a pity seeing some youth ending their lives for failing in the examination. This surely is not where our education should lead us to.
Our education system has made education the only goal of one’s life. Our education is tormenting when it should have been a pleasure. Education stresses the need to stay healthy, but it is the same education that is telling upon the health of the kids. Students do not eat properly; they do not sleep properly because any of these things is considered to be wastage of time. Our education system has limited education to the cramming of books. Technology might have advanced incredibly, but our education system remains age-old. Books might be a great source of knowledge, but the real knowledge lies outside the books. A first hand experience is always better than a good advice. Nature offers a great wealth of knowledge, which we are ignoring by making the students go through the centuries old philosophies.
All this and much more are putting the students under tremendous pressure. The social position that education holds in our society affects the personality, behavior and thinking. Parents and other relatives stress their wards and put them into unnecessary competitions, without knowing their capacity and ability. All this has an adverse effect on the students. They are cut off from every activity other than education. They are made to cram books, day and night. This results in deteriorating health of young children. They do not enjoy their lives because it is monotonous, comprising only of education. They ultimately get distanced even from their parents. Amid all these problems, they learn nothing new; they only cram the age old concepts.
All these things hint at the need for change not only in the entire system, but also in our outlook. Education cannot prevail at the cost of health of young kids. Both should be complementing each other. A change in our mindset is must: we must understand that education is not everything. Things are possible even without degrees. The person who discovered fire was not very much learned; in fact many of the great personalities of the world were not. William Shakespeare, the greatest name in the field of literature did not have any degree to his name, Thomas Elva Edison was not much educated, still they had a tremendous knowledge and they were great personalities who contributed a lot to the world. Schools and degrees are not the only source of knowledge and definitely not the only means to greatness. This fact needs to be realized by our society. Our society needs to respect farmers as they respect doctors and engineers. Less degree holder (educated) should not be looked down upon, Every one is a human. Education should not be the only aim of one’s life. There are numerous things in the world to take care of and to enjoy. Education should be a part of all this, so that it becomes pleasant and not miserable. We need to realize the fact that education alone does not provide professional opportunities; illiterate people too have their meals. Let us not put the young generation under huge burden of expectations, let us realize that every individual has his own limitations, every individual is capable to some extent and everyone cannot perform miracles.
The above discussion should not lead one to the conclusion that education is useless. Education has its importance and a great importance. But we need to realize that everyone cannot study on the same level. Everyone has one’s special abilities and talents. Our education system forces the students to study only one subject. The student has no time to go through other subjects of study. They do not care about other subjects, or about other things. Their life begins and ends in books. They cannot enjoy the other great things that the world offers. Education teaches us the need for enjoying other things in life, but we have framed our educational set up in such a way that a particular course or degree consumes the entire time of the students and do not let them see around. Kids are forced to schools when they can hardly speak. They are tortured by their parents to read and write when they should have been enjoying their growth. Success is mandatory because failure is taken as a social evil. Thus to succeed students use their entire time in studying and adopt shortest ways to ‘success’. They are not taught to study but they are taught to cram. The examination system and particularly the evaluation system are flawed. This system has a very wide space for settling personal grudges. All these things need to be addressed and necessary remedial measures to be taken at the earliest, before it further affects our future. This type of Education should be taken as a part of life. The biggest thing that we need to realize today is that there is a difference between schooling and education. Once we realize this we can go a long way in making our lives better.
Author is pursuing MA in English at the University of Kashmir