ABC and the three R’s
Education is neither a measure nor an indication of common sense. Thus spake my dad. And any time you started doubting the statement, wondering “Hey, that just can’t be true“, he’d just point out a real life example; an educated idiot. Human life hasn’t evolved enough for dad to run out of examples to point at. It’s a philosophy that seems to last through the ages.
I can see that it’d be an easy error to read the last paragraph and conclude that I’m dissing education. Not at all. I’m just saying idiocy is too large an institution to get eradicated by education alone, unless it’s made into a major action movie and the part of Education is played by Bruce Willis with a machine gun.
In the real world, idiocy seems to be invincible. But education is a good starting point. Good education can help you think, question, and give some learning you can use to advance yourself. Education was never meant to be an assembly line that shoots out finished products. The best education does not leave the student fully aware/ knowledgeable. It leaves them thinking, and hungry for more.
The problem with the world today is not a lack of education. It’s a misdirected education. My closest friends would testify that I don’t really deal well with change. It usually takes me upwards of several months to get used to changes like, say, new seat covers on my bike. But I have to admit that despite my personal discomfort, there are good kinds of change. But it can’t be random. It took the board of education enough time to realize that they needed to revamp the system. The thing with our country is that once clarity invades an elected head, it is usually followed by sneak attacks of confusion.
It seems that they didn’t really know WHAT changes to make. They have some issues in mind, certainly, but are they taking a studied response? There is a need to reduce unnecessary burden on children. Check. But how do you go about it? You can’t be arbitrary here. You can’t just go around snipping off exams, marks, and books without thinking things through, unless, of course, you’re Freddy Krueger. Knee jerk reactions never saved anybody.
What I fear, and I confess it may be unfounded, is that we’re going to see micro-attacks on specific problems without analyzing their roots. Reducing burden by eliminating exams, simplifying evaluation, and beefing up reservation quotas are irrational short term solutions that ignores the larger picture. But then again, by the time the larger picture is unveiled, the committees and parties would have changed, wouldn’t it? “Not my problem” is, after all, the silent anthem of the country.
Our country started off with the three R’s of education, and now the government doesn’t seem like it’s offering even three hours of education. At least, not quality ones. I’m a bit rustic on History, but if I remember right, it dates back to our ancient under-the-banyan tree schooling systems. The three R’s of education included Reading, ‘Riting, and Rapping. As obsolete as these basic tenets are, we have to ask whether… hmm… Rapping? That can’t be right.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the image of old Dronacharya jivin’ to the beat, trying to teach students art and archery. The immediate image that pops into mind is that old tale about Arjuna’s bird eye view
On that branch way up there, you can see the eye
Of a sturdy little birdy, just a’ tweetin’ by
Tell me quickly Arjuna, as you steady your aim
Can you cap that spot, or sonny, are you lame?
I’m starin’ right at the eye, Dron, my man
And it’s all that I see; It’s all that I can
If I pop it now, I swear that bird is goin’ blind
And then I’ll do the mambo, sir, if you don’t mind.
With all the prescribed ‘Yo’s and ‘hoo’s thrown about for good measure. I like the image… I mean… who wouldn’t? But I still have this sneaking suspicion that I screwed up somewhere. But whatever the third R stood for, it’s quite immaterial. Pointless, other than serving as a testament to obsolescence.
We are going to have a whole host of radical changes in the educational system soon. From whatever I’ve heard so far from the sneak preview of upcoming attractions, I think some of them seem straight forward enough. But judging by the kind of knee jerk reactions we are typically shown, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have reforms that basically takes education a few notches down.
The essential tenets of a good educational system should be
- Teach what is required.
- Test to see what was acquired. and…
- Try not to rap the two lines up there.
Seems simple enough to me. But there’s nothing in life that’s so simple that a government body can’t find a way to screw it up. Flawed as it is, our current system has nevertheless given Indians a good reputation in academics. There ARE ways to improve the system without compromising on this benefit. Maybe they’ll figure it out. Maybe they’ll act on it.
But somehow, something tells me dad’s gonna have a whole new batch of real life examples to point at in the not too distant future.