Friday, November 14, 2014

The Education I Want

At one point in my life as a student at school I was a horrible student. At another point I was a very good student. But at the end of the day I was still the same student.

Recently, I started thinking about my journey in the Indian Education system and what I learned from it. I was at the receiving end of both extreme situations of the system. In tenth grade I was going to fail a semester and was a horrible student. In the twelfth grade, I was appointed and Head Boy of the school and scored a 93% in the annual exams.

I knew how it was to not be respected as a student and how it was to be a top performing student. It is unfair that students that do not do well are treated differently from students that do well in the Indian Education System. All this just based on their academic performance.

Why do I not have the skills I need to think freely or to work on my passion?

When I graduated out of high school, I realized I lacked the skills I required to become independent and to be able to work on a field I was passionate about.

I had poor judgment skills and lacked critical thinking skills. I still felt awkward in social situations and could not communicate what I truly felt effectively. I was good at following rules and taking orders, but not good at creating things myself. I had no practical knowledge about business and entrepreneurship skills. It surprised me that institutes in the Indian Education System did not give too much importance to these very important skills.

I was still a dependent thinker and had not developed my own unique thinking and perspective of the world. I had no time to look for self-knowledge within because there were too many exams, tests and events constantly happening around me.

I never asked myself this question, ‘Abhishek, What in the world do you want to do with your life?’

What are the three Main Responsibilities of Education?

This was a big problem because I always believed the three most important goals of the Education System were as follows:-

1.  To develop Independent Thinkers – By allowing the students to look within, understand themselves and be confident of who they really were.
2.  To teach students to adapt their skill-set to the changing needs of the world – As Adora Svitak, the youth education activist wonderfully put it, ‘The student of today is expected to be a combination of MTV, MIT and Wall Street, all in one package.’ Technological progress will create jobs we could never have imagined before. Thus Education must teach students to adapt their skill set to changing needs of technology.
3.  To help the student look within and bring out their own unique talent and highest passion – This can be done by encouraging young people to work on projects related to their passion. They must also encourage them to find ways to serve the people in their community doing something they are passionate about.

What is the purpose of going to school?

I looked at the Education I received from pre-primary school to my first year in college and noticed that the focus was very rarely on the above objectives.

It is a similar situation in schools across the world. Many of the lists of the top high schools  in the world, by leading publications, rank these institutions based on how many students get into the top colleges of the world and not the actual learning done there. In short the best preparatory schools of the world are the best schools of the world.

But what is the purpose of going to school? To get into a good college or to Learn and find out what subject we really want to study at college.

Nobody is asking students what they are interested in?

Nobody is asking these students if they are even doing a course they are interested in at the top university. If a smart student interested in graphic designing had gotten through the selection process for an IT Course at MIT. He is often asked to drop his passion and take the big university’s course up, though it is not something he is truly interested in. It is high-grade back up for the student.

Developing 21st century skills and finding my passion, were always given less importance than the exams and the process of getting into a top college. 

Was the system designed with my best interests in mind? I had to think hard...

Let us learn together
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