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Education system! Whole or holes!!!!!

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We are born, looked after by our parents, go to school, and spend years getting educated without having even the slightest idea of what its all about! By the time we realize its true worth, the opportunity is gone.

We get to appreciate our education only when we are asked to apply it somewhere! And all the schooling is wasted on the undue prominence on marks. In the rat race to obtain the highest all learning takes backseat and instead any means employed to enhance scores are encouraged.

And the sensitive child who ideally must feel friendly with his peers looks upon them as rivals. This could have a profound impact on their attitude. They look upon better performers as enemies and cultivate deep feelings of insecurity & hatred.  In fact, these days I have come to observe that during my childhood when I used to be good performer, many friends had hard time with their parents.
They were subjected to embarrassment because they couldn’t perform as well as me.  This has created a deep rift in their minds and they feel a sense of sadist pleasure when they finally see that they are presently in a much better materialistic position than me.

The point which I want to emphasize is that their happiness is based more on my failure and not their success.

Throughout my years in education, not even once anyone told me emphatically that the real purpose of education to be more informed, more balanced and create some value in the world, and marks are only the indication to outer world that you know something. Of course many people used to keep telling me this including my parents, but the bottomline was success must be guaranteed.

Henry Ford once said “Any customer can have a car painted in any colour he wants so long as it is black”. Indian parents seem to be very much in this line. Once in a while they would engage in some copy-paste wisdom of corporate world; but yes, you MUST succeed. Anything else is negotiable unless and until the performance itself is non-negotiable. And performance strictly translates into MARKS. Real freedom includes freedom to make mistakes. A freedom that excludes the freedom to make mistakes is no freedom at all.

I’ve known a person, who all the time used to philosophize in similar vein, used to give us lectures that any profession is okay etc…but finally when it comes down to his own son, goes panicky and cancels his official tours, supervises his son’s study personally and makes sure he get decent marks! Who is to blame?

System or parenting? Its kind of complex! They are a series of interactions amongst them, and the result is invariably unfavourable to child.

In the humdrum of gaining more marks, a child stakes all his chances on a single dice, and thus if bad; suddenly feels vacuous. He feels that is the end of road. The obsession with numbers doesn’t end here.

Once you show some talent, somebody remarks that such children must not be left alone and must be coached for some hi-level exams, adding that when all kinds of mediocrities manage to make it, it must be a cakewalk for you child.

And here begins the royal road to hell for the child. Parents take such advise seriously and invest huge amounts of money (often exceeding their limits) to make sure that the child gets enough exposure. And from here on begins his Herculean ordeal. He struggles relentlessly all day skipping sleep and works towards his goal.

Parents are not deterred least when the child doesn’t put up good performance, and such optimism is dangerous. He keeps on adding more stress to child in vain hope that he must outdo his colleague’s son etc. In few fortunate cases it clicks! Otherwise it breaks down.


This is carried on to the next level- job. Fancy salaries are so much a vogue these days that parents almost judge their level of success through the packages of their children. Their feeling of underperformance due to lack of opportunities is avenged through their child’s “victory”.

During my schooling, I was deeply interested in history and Maths (strange combination?). While in Maths, teachers were compelled to make allowance for my unconventional approach because I invariably arrived at correct answer; in history it was their turn to “correct” me. I used to read many other books and used to write some points which were relevant to the question but “out of syllabus”. Once, I questioned my teacher’s way of correction, he came out with a key (prepared by him) and told me blankly that if I don’t write that which doesn’t match with his key, he would be constrained to award me lesser marks.

And India’s system is the one which remarkably rewards mediocrity. Look at where India shines! IT industry! Amongst all my friends in IT (90% of them are in IT)! Most of them confess that their work is nothing better than donkey-work albeit with sophistry of modern world. Nobody even remotely plans to go for a startup and of all my friends, only one (who used to do coding right in 11th class; who in my opinion is truly qualified to be a IT man) is now an entrepreneur.

These people work for their European and American bosses and most seem oblivious to the fact they earn because they are considered cheap labour by the west. Even in this regard, China is fast catching up and once English speaking graduates increase in world, Indians would lose much!

All professions are not same. I admit. Even a mediocre failed actor of bollywood would be a known face and in all likelihood earning more than well-educated and skilled professionals. But what a professional elsewhere won’t lack is due regard and respect within his circle and also a appropriate compensation for his work. This is what is lacking in India.

Often my father used to compare few guys around who used to be toppers and used to implore me to justify his high investment on me, whereas others with far lesser investment were racing ahead. Infact I once argued with him, that few of them belonged to lesser known colleges where competition would be less intense; and since I was in good colleges, competition is more intense and subsequently my intelligence wasn’t enough to be a topper. He used to brush aside these saying “Where there is will. There is way.”…
Way for what? In one instance there were only few guys who got placed in college, and those unplaced were asked “See, they got placed…If they can, why not you?”. I immediately replied “If I got placed, then they would have remained unplaced…Overall it doesn’t matter The percentage of those unplaced remains same…issue is not resolved…Issue is that still a lot of population is unplaced….and that is more relevant”

Parents want super-successful professionals, child progenies and geniuses. Nobody wants a good decent child.

Parents often punish themselves severely for the non-performance of their children raising the pressures to unseen & intolerable limits! They feel that they have committed a sin for having begotten a child who’s mediocre. A more frequently seen abnormal behaviour is cutting off all social connections etc. And they indirectly punish their children too!

Very soon, the child gets the message pretty clear staring blankly into his face: BE SUCCESSFUL! Everything else is pardonable! But not this!

Why? Is it so bad to fail sometimes? Is it an unpardonable sin?

What I find most amusing is that parents narrate how they used to undergo so much hardship to get education! And how much they loved school!

I think its partly poor memory and partly diplomacy! Firstly what they have undergone was perfectly normal those days! All were subjected to similar environment! And love school? Haha

I think a child might get used to school, surrender his soul to it, get adjusted to it and might just overcome his feelings of hatred of school…but love school? Never…nobody does that!

Infact that is genuinely a compensation for loss the beautiful childhood!

Comments

  1. Man, awesome,
    the way you described your thoughts , its just perfect.

    you have just hit the point. I fully totally agree with you.
    I must say you must give this article to any daily newspaper, they will definitely ponder on it.

    very clear thoughts !!

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  2. @ expressing myself aka Harsh,

    Thank you so much for you kind words.

    BTW forgive my asking this, do we know each other?

    ReplyDelete
  3. 知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。.................................................................                           

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  4. 生活總是起起伏伏,心情要保持快樂才好哦!!.................................................................                           

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  5. 當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

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  6. 當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

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  7. 先為別人的快樂著想,是超人;先為自己的快樂著想,是凡人;使別人不快樂,自己也不快樂的,是笨人。..................................................

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  8. I read this article with a bit of curiosity, a bit of amusement and lots of sympathy.
    While it may be appealing to a section of readers, as it squarely blames the parents and society for every thing that is wrong, while absolving the main stake holders the students themselves, I found it appalling on many counts. While I could have easily rebutted almost all the points raised in this highly biased article, I chose not to, for want of time. But, I decided to take on only certain serious gaffes.
    Firstly regarding parents wanting only failure proof, super humans but not decent children, I wish to question the very hypothesis. Firstly failure is acceptable only within certain parameters. Some failures occur due to certain factors beyond human control (like ill health at wrong time) and nothing much can be done about them. Then failures are due to some mistakes. It is also okay. Then what is not okay? Repeated failures that occur due to repeated mistakes borne due to arrogance and unwillingness to learn from the same. Any high school graduate should know that when it comes to feeding him at a later date, the knowledge of periodic table is far superior to the knowledge of unpublished table of Bollywood ranking. If one does not know this it is a mistake. If one takes pride in this ignorance and fails to learn for years together then yes, it is an unpardonable failure. Then there is a world of difference between failing to get a rank, failing in exams and failing to attend the classes and exams. Since getting the rank is a relative measure it is pardonable. Similarly failing may be okay under certain norms including one’s incapability to understand. While with under preparation there may be a chance of failing are we not ensuring by not attending the examination itself? When you know you are incapable of passing on your own, then what is the idea behind not attending the classes and thereby refusing the only available help. Then the failure becomes unpardonable. And when the reason for this failure happens to be a twenty plus’s belief that keeping tabs on the bath room / bed room habits of their favourite film star(s) and chronicling his unofficial biography is more important than routine things like attending examinations and academics it becomes unpardonable sin. No wonder all the parents do not know how to handle such a situation. A twenty plus is grown up enough and is expected to take responsibility for his deeds not to blame the world and system all the time.

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  9. Looks like, I also knew the person in question and it is possible that, I may be knowing him better than you. In fact not only he cancelled all his official tours, but also even offered to resign a reasonably well paid job if it is the only way out. His only teenage child wanted his father on his side when he is facing his first annual examination (In all the earlier classes it was continuous evaluation and no single final annual examination). Why does the child need him? To be reassured what he has been told all the while, only efforts do mater and failing is okay (after all the efforts he put in) on every single day of his examination. The indulgent father and his employer accepted in Sept’09 that he would not be available for travelling during Feb-Mar 2010. However the professional commitments took him away in Feb. Then the child raises SOS and the father obliges. I do not see any reason to blame any one. In fact one should complement the son for believing in their parents and rising SOS (in stead of keep pushing it under carpet till it blows on face), the father for going to the extent of resigning the job in middle age just to reciprocate to the faith put in him and the bosses of the father’s company for understanding and respecting his family commitments even if it throws up a possibility of a four thousand millions rupees worth project getting delayed.
    If some one has to be blamed, they are those “Gyanis” who assumed that this exercise is similar to policing and baby sitting a reluctant twenty plus during his graduate level examinations.

    Commenting on parenting without being one is as adventurous as commenting on mortality of other’s jobs without ever even remotely doing similar one. It is sheer intellectual arrogance with out any intellect to believe that the people whose jobs at stake are oblivious to competition and their relative strengths while a google powered, easy chair journalists are better informed and concerned about it. Hope one should have tried to get the data of current employment status of those who made it big during Y2K problem. I don’t think any one is starving. Time is a great leveller. All the corporates are mortals. Anyone who professes love for history should know what happened to the “The East India Corporation”, the richest company in the world. All companies may die and it is only a matter of time. One of the main reasons for manufacturing sector shifting to China is their cheap labour. So what is wrong in having cheap labour? After all, it is our strength. For that matter quite a few MBA graduates get jobs only because they are not as expensive as their counterparts in IIMs. They would have remained unemployed for ever if ‘cheap’ is not the criterion.

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  10. About the jobs being mediocre, let me assure you 99.9999% (may add few more 9s if you please) jobs in this world are like that only. If every one does a mediocre job like brushing teeth properly, you do not need so many dentists in this world. It is all about doing things faster, better and more reliably. Better one accepts this fact at the earliest to avoid future disappointments.
    The best recipe for disaster is laziness induced non-performance covered up by misinformation induced superiority complex, and self sympathy induced blindness to truth.

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  11. hey madhav...firstly great blog ! I just wanted to tell you that u r certainly NOT a failure, as pointed out in the earlier part of your blog. Time will prove that. Trust me and have patience.

    Secondly, Henry Ford told about the cars being White and not Black.

    Enjoy life !

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  12. @ PDS

    This was written at a time when I was slightly disappointed with life in general and is not a complete reflection of what I usually think..

    But I sincerely thank you for your kind words...I'm confident of my ability to rise again and am grateful for the help offered.

    Henry Ford was quoted for cars being black....Pls refer...http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Henry_Ford

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  13. Well-written article. Maths and History is a unique combination I must say. I have known people who love only one of them. I myself belonged to that category as a student. ..:)

    ReplyDelete

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