To start with, he does not have an accent, may not sound “polished” to many and is not conversing in English but can make a meaningful argument here, how he critically analyzes the situation and can articulate it well with such brevity in his thoughts is what our education system needs to focus upon.
For years, our education system has emphasized on producing “wrote learners.” Our policy still sticks to the “one size fits all” approach, which has failed to cater to the individual needs of intellect and creativity that humans are born with. Eh! Sounds very humanistic, but wait, don’t you agree with me? Do we not celebrate the diversity we possess as a part of this larger humankind, and by diversity, I mean the unique qualities and skillset we have. However, to develop and nurture these skills, we need a conducive environment that will support our growth, which, unfortunately, our country’s system still lacks. Although, we have aced the concept of “mugging things up,” we have forgotten how we would practically apply the crammed up information to our real lives.
I have always been an Arts student, and according to the standards of our education system, I scored pretty decently. At an early age, I realized that my personality, aptitude, and interest lie in being with and around people, studying different societies, cultures, and history, languages, the functioning of the human mind, etc. I chose to do things differently and wanted to see the world from a different lens, does it make me any less of a “smart person,” I don’t think so. But I feel the need to share that many of us (especially, folks from Arts fraternity) have always been subjected to the academic hierarchy existing in this country, and mind you, this hierarchy is based on merit.
A little confused, let me help you out here, topping the list is Science, meant only for prodigies, they are most respected in the Indian society because they always (and this is assumed) scored high and their intelligence is beyond comprehension, then comes Commerce-not prodigies but yes, may have scored well in exams, they are smart and know their figures well. Also, most of them end up running the finances of this country. At the bottom is Arts-last on the ladder and good for nothing, that’s it! It is assumed that they are least brainy, mostly described as “weak students,” those who are left without any other choice and have to be “dumped” in Arts because they need to get their primary education.
With the cut-throat competition that exists out there, it’s unfortunate that we discriminate our beautiful minds based on what we wish to study or how much we score. Be it Science, Commerce or Arts, whatever I choose to study should help me create standing for myself and make a decent living. My choice of subjects does not make my contribution to this society lesser than any of my counterparts. We have to understand that it is YOU who needs to tap into YOUR interests and understand where YOUR passion lies. Do not let yourself get trapped into “Log kya kahenge mentality” (what will people think)?
And to support this, we need an education system that does not define us based on our marks or subject choices. We need a system that shapes our intellect, helps us form opinions, enhance our critical thinking, it should help us better identify our emotions, and make us emotionally intelligent people. Education should be a tool for us to broaden our horizons and develop our mental capacities, make us socially aware and responsible, help us be intellectually smart, and make us what we call “street smart.”
With that archaic format that we have been following so far, this idea may seem a bit “utopian,” but it is not impossible. I hope someday there can be a significant shift in the trajectory that will help us reap the benefits of an education that makes us self-actualized and fulfilled and guarantee us a happy and productive life.
I would like to believe that my education will not enslave me; instead, it would make me wise, empowered, and liberated!