Why Education?

Life is an unanswered question, but let’s still believe in the dignity and importance of the question.
Tennessee Williams

I hope I have not offended anyone with the title of the post. I sincerely believe in the dignity of questions. I also believe equally in asking questions with dignity with respect. Sometimes you see failure of present generation and cannot help but notice that it was for the fact that the past generation failed to ask a simple ‘why’ to their parents and grandparents and to all the learned people who lived along with them. A strong society cannot survive until it questions the existing rules, regulations & norms.

Let’s come back to the burning question here.

Why Education?
What is the meaning of education?
What is the purpose it serves?

Let us ask the question – what is the purpose of education?

Education, as I understand was meant to strengthen the society. Society consists of rich, poor and all the other divisions that we have managed to create so far, and because we are working passionately on dividing we will keep making more and more divisions as we progress. I, sitting here in Bangalore, can think of dozens of cases in recent past where the so-called elite, the educated people of the society, have committed crimes like murder of their own family members (read husband/wife) and numerous other crimes. Shockingly a lot of these were the highly educated people. Now after this if I ask myself, is education system a failure or a grand success. I do not have to think even for a split second what the answer should be?

If this was a small number of people we could have ignored, however, what I presented above was an extreme case. What we also see in everyday life is somehow the focus, the primary priority of education, has shifted to preparing people to build career but never any good amount of work is done to face the challenges of life. Where does this leave us? A society which is weak in character, that is because there is no character building exercise taken up in schools and colleges. If at all it is done, it is a mere formality. Worse yet, most of the parents are not trained enough to do this.

Someone rightly said – if you have to test a man’s character, give him a lot of money.

I am not saying having money is a crime, but I am surely saying lots of money and no character is a disaster any society cannot afford to take. And yes, I do not have to mention, young people today are earning lots as compared to what their parents and grandparents might have earned at their age. But what about character building exercise.

This is what Martin Luther King, Jr had to say about education.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

As we move ahead measuring our growth in terms of economy, GDP, capturing new markets etc etc; we cannot afford to ignore the most fundamental indicators of growth, i.e. education. We are moving in the wrong direction and in our case moving quite fast.

I leave you with this note from one of the giants whose imprints on time cannot be ignored.

Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.
Theodore Roosevelt

So, I think now I can ask a new question – Why this education system?

Best Wishes…
Harsh

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~ by Harsh Bhushan on April 9, 2011.

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