Education – overrated.

By | January 12, 2009
Burdened by books
Burdened by books

I’ve always been strongly opiniated about the fact that education isn’t merely restricted to the letters you add to your name and the data you can mug up in order to attain those degrees and letters. Mugging up or by-hearting as we call it has been something I’ve despised from the time I started dealing with the harsh reality of not being a very bright student, or so they declared – average. An average student. Why? Like I said in my previous post, a B+ was the best letter on my score card and I was proud of my achievement because mugging up was the hardest thing for me to do. I couldn’t quite understand its need. Why should I mug up? I could never absorb the meriting system in school and shrunk away from any kind of competitive exams. These were ruled by the so called brighter blob of the mob that we were. A mob of culturally, intellectually and linguistically different people. The cream, I remember, consisted of a handful of kids who either had photogenic memory (lucky by birth) or the sloggers; those who burnt the night oil all through the year (academically forward by choice). I wouldn’t classify either of these two sets of people as “intelligent” though. These were and are kids who manage to vomit information onto the answer paper. Doesn’t make them anymore intelligent than what I am.

Intelligent, as far as I’m concerned are those kids who can reason. Those who can answer by giving solutions to problems and not spilling out solutions given by someone else. Intelligence is the watermark which differentiates people who can absorb, understand and radiate; contradicting the current theory that kids who have a good academic track record are intelligent. They are good with books, no doubt but thats just about where the comparison ends. I used to hate being in competition with any of these nerds. I have had my way with books and I’d want it to be that way. I have never mugged up and I will never do it in the future either. Its alright if that makes me a failure. I have my principles and I will live by them. Also, not to forgot, I have met very few people whom I consider intelligent and Sanket is one of them. We call him scientific Sanket, just for kicks. This is a guy you could turn to for reasons on anything and everything. Luckily, he isn’t the kinds who’d slog either. Thats precisely what I like about him. He’s plain intelligent. No more flattery. Another thing I’ve learnt from him is that intelligent people (the real ones) tend to be people who cannot accept the fact that they can be wrong once in a while, they are arrogant (mostly) and most of them think of you and me as pests. Just my hypothesis. Its alright if there are no takers to my thesis.

The education system we have in India has been flawed forever now and even though I see some improvements cropping up now especially in parts of Kerala, the overall dearth in intelligent people lead me to believe that we need an awakening. The possibility of which is very grim since we currently have a fatherhood of people who are from the immediate post-independance era. Thus, according to them, education is limited to what is taught in school, whats mugged up and puked out. Its in your head only if its in your scorecard. I’m hoping, from the pit of my heart that things change. Education be more interactive and thought provoking than what it is. There should be optional subjects of study. And as far as choosing a stream of study, a profession and everything along its path, this should be left upto the individual. All the parents must do is to support him/her in whatever way they can. I sometimes see the plight of little kids carrying bagpacks twice their own size. I’ve known of 12 year old kids who don’t play anymore because they have three competitive exams coming up and they have homework. So what about the simpler, more important pleasures in life as a kid? What about playing games, falling and hurting yourself, teasing and be teased, friendship? I mean, would all of this be limited to the walls engulfing the little ones along with stacks of never ending books? I shudder at the very thought of such a fate!

I’m sometimes amazed at how I achieved what I did. How did I ever complete 12 years of schooling and around 6 years of college (Junior and Senior) I have no clue of how I managed to get that Bachelors degree. I cross my heart and hope to die, I haven’t mugged up ever since I was like what 10. I still managed to clear and not only clear, I did average on most occasions. Until there was the time when I was the prodigal son who broke a fathers dream and instead of going into Engineering I turned to a stream I knew I’d never be happy in – Commerce. I had to do that cause I scored outrageously bad in my 12th boards. I faintly remember those years and I can’t stop smiling. There was this godly hand above me else I’d never have cleared academics. Dad still seems to dwelve in the possibility of me educating myself further. I always lose in a debate or an argument when it comes to dad because I can’t yell at him like he can. That’d mean I’m being disrespectful. After a certain point its just waiting… waiting for the collosal damage being done to whatever I’ve accomplished so far to end. Waiting in brutal agony. Sometimes, I think about ways in which I could make him happy. But then, guess what? There isn’t any. He seems to have given up on me. His son couldn’t be an Engineer. Pfft, loser. Anyway, here’s a public apology father. I’m very sorry I couldn’t accomplish your dreams for me. I wasn’t made to study a course which required a lot of money and dedication. I’m too much in love with life and I’d like to LIVE every second of it. I never wanted to be an Engineer. And yes, I couldn’t be one even if I wanted to be. I do not understand derivatives and integration and trigo. I don’t understand their purpose in my life. It was too much of a burden on me anyway. WARNING: no misconceptions here. I love my dad very much. I couldn’t get him what he wanted and I feel sorry about it but he’s my role model. I wish I was as perseverant as he is. I wish I was as awesome as he is! But dad, lets agree? Educated today is overrated and I’m a living testament to the fact that you can do well without an Engineering degree. Booyah!

-Anup

8 thoughts on “Education – overrated.

  1. Layman

    ooh!
    Strong words… and a bombastic post!

    I agree partially and disagree partially..
    Indian education is pretty good I would say.. it has a holistic approach towards academics which is why the dearth of optionals and specialization at primary levels..
    But yes.. the importance on marks and exams is over rated..
    And the value it is given for admissions to higher educational institutions..

    But then again a majority of students are at ease with the current system although the syllabus is getting bulkier by the year..
    Some students.. like you… and I don’t mean this as a sarcasm… have an affinity towards.. well which part of the brain I can’t remember..

    They should probably start thinking on lines of special schools for children who are prone to creative and artistic thinking..
    and the current system for the assimilators/reproducers 😀

    But my words kinda mock the regular student… they are important too I guess.. I mean that kind of an education is also necessary.. for eg; the IAS.. IAS aspirants re supposed to be walking encyclopedias.. why???? cos for the better performance of their duties.. they whould be aware of the world.. its problems.. its composition.. its nature.. its psyche.. etc etc .. all which requires good memory skills..

    So you see.. can’t completely agree or disagree..
    anyways.. nice post 🙂

    Reply
  2. Anup

    @Layman, discrimination isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the meriting system. Lol, that was a weird idea though to classify people. Special school? Dude, that makes me feel like shit! People like me are special no doubt but not cause we don’t score but just cause we don’t want to compete with sloggers. We are plain winners.

    And hey! I can very well do without the IAS’ and IPS’

    Reply
  3. Abhi

    Special School???? WOW!

    @Layman, do you want to suggest that students who dont slog and score good marks in their exams or even people who are not “walking encyclopedias” need to be in Special Schools???? Funny rite?

    I dont hink Anup here is even talking about memory skills, he is talking about the education system. Its just a question of where you inclination is, whether or not you are a good student DOESNT depend on your “Memory”, infact it depends on what you like and dislike.

    How would you explain a student and his memory if he is excellent in History but dull in Geography? If he can understand and memorise History, he can as well do the same with Geography. So its not about memory, it about his liking.

    And to be a good IAS and IPS you dont need to have “good” memory skills. You need to have an inclination towards that. Just to let you know, IAS’ and IPS’ officers dont mug up things, they need to understand the situation and the severity of it and act on them accordingly. And there has to be a lot of flexibility in their thinking there. And again I would like to strees on this: Thinking in not related to “good” memory skills 🙂 .

    So you suggestion of going to Special School because you cant do to well in the academics sound a bit exaggerated.

    ~Abhi.

    Reply
  4. Layman

    I guess the word “special school” got on everybody’s nerves.
    Let me explain.

    First of all apologies to everyone for hurt sentiments 🙂
    Was not at all my intention.

    By special I meant specialised schools. For eg; suppose a kid shows good talent for a special skill like say painting at a very young age. Now there are many opportunities to someone who can paint brilliantly.. designing, animation.. well I can’t state much cos I don’t know much. Just imagine how productive it would be if the syllabus of that kid included a week full of different varieties and aspects of painting along with the basic necessary subjects like math and geography!! It would be like saying.. Deepak, Monday you have story writing essentials.. Tuesday you have stories from all over the world.. wednesday you have other subjects.. and some movies made out of short stories.. on thursday there would be practical english lessons through plays and skits.. on friday there would be script writing..

    Ok. I got carried away … but you get my point right?
    You know a kind of school where children would love to go..
    And obviously if they love something marks, exams become secondary..

    I was in fact supporting Anup’s point that the current education system overloads students with facts and subjects they might not be interested and pressurising them with a system of exams that will get to the nerves of the nerdest of the nerds.

    I was only proposing an alternative kind of education. Of course it is ambitious .. but just my thought.
    Abhi – I think IAS exams DO need good memory skills. How else would you explain 99 percent of the aspirants taking an year or two out to cover the vast syllabus? IF the IAS/IPS was just a test of skill and capacity why do we have so many optionals with a vast range of syllabus?
    And less number of tests to judge the logical/reasoning/thinking/decision making capability of a candidate?
    The only palce where they do this is during the interviews which happens ONLY if you pass the prelims and then the mains!!!!

    I agree when you say they need to have good understanding of the situation and a good presence of mind. Yes.. that’s what the IAS/IPS officers need. But to get there.. well.. one has to memorize a lot of stuff., right?

    By this I don’t in any way imply that people who have lesser memory skills are not qualified for the job or anything. My only point of contention was that having good memory skills help. And our current education and examination system gives predominant importance to exam hall reproduction. Perhaps more than what it is due..

    Specialised schools where a child is taught to his ability (singing, drawing, speaking, writing) will enhance a student’s capacity to develop a passion at a very young age. It will help him to decide what he want to do in life unlike most of us who has to rely on parental/elder/external opinion to decide. We wouldn’t have to worry about exams cos we will be champs in whatever we do.. 🙂
    Hope I was able to clarify!

    Reply
  5. Anup

    *giggles* MY only hiccup was “special schools” from where we come Layman. Special schools mean learning institutes for the disabled, underpriviledged and/or impaired of one of their vital organs. You know? Like blind, dead, or whatever.
    Simple put, you could call them “better schools” than “special schools” and that’d resolve the matter.

    Reply
  6. Ruchi

    This is really interesting Anup.. nice work..
    yes its my first time tht m leaving u a reply, its not tht the other posts are not good enough.. or don’t connect to me.. this one really forced me to write after reading all the comments as well… so.. wat i wld like to say is -:

    Yes the system is not all tht gr8.. i agreee with all ur points.. n also i wld like to ask – Would a school going child really know wat his interest is?? or which way he shold proceed (eg taking up dancing or writing..etc) to go in tht direction later to pursue his careear? well i dont think so..we love doin all of tht and everythin else as children right??
    The thing is… the whole system is OverRated YES.. and it takes into account only the mark sheets without bothering about the overall development of the child.. imagine the topper of a class not having the nerve to cross the road and buy himself a candy.. or worse even be able to do basic thing’s required??

    Fortunately many schools have started taking this into consideration the proof being the development of r sibling being much better than r’s when we were their age. so its changin guys’s.. hang on..

    And lastly i wold like to say is
    I do not understand derivatives and integration and trigo too. I don’t understand their purpose in my life too.Nor m i a muggger..
    But i did it..I still duuno how!!

    All tht matters is not wat degree you hold.. or wat work you do.. All that matters is how u make use of it.. n lead a wonderful life..

    LOL

    i know the last statement was bad.. but being a first timer i guess its bearable..
    Tc buddy!

    Keep Stimulating ur mind n others too.. 😉

    Reply
  7. Layman

    Just one point ruchi .. the child wouldn’t have to decide themselves at the young age….
    for eg; some students show a passion for arts.. some for music… some might not show any at all.. but might be good at remembering stuff.. communicating well.. etc..
    All these are strengths..

    Specialised schools will capitalise on it.. not just restrict a student to specialised subjects.. it would be a general education plus honing in on the childs talent..

    something like balabhavan + normal school .. if you know what balabhavans are ..

    I know… it’s still a very improbable idea 😀

    Reply
  8. Ruchi

    Yes Layman I know wat strength’s are… n i agree completely with you.. but wat i also meant was, that age is too early to decide tht.. coz all children love to dance sing n things like tht.. some are exceptionally well yes,they can be trained in their respective area’s.. but it is normally seen that a child view’s actions as well as interests changes as they grow.. eg teenage..

    Also if the child wouldn’t have to decide themselves at the young age…. it is as good as where we started from.. It may be a panel but again its sum one else deciding wat you do coz ur good at tht..(like here parents wanted us to do something.. the reason if def diff..)

    lol anyways.. this can go on n on.. right?
    so it better be left at here..

    n yea, m totally in for
    something like balabhavan + normal school — coz i know what balabhavans are ..

    🙂

    Reply

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