Real Education?

August 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm (Uncategorized)

Today I was reading an article where India has been called a ‘premature super-power’. A country where millions go without food everyday, we should be squirming in our seats when we are called a super power. Here is an interesting fact: India is ranked 9th in the World in terms of GDP (and 4th in terms of GDP by Purchasing Power Parity), yet we are ranked 139 in the Human Development Index.

I wonder why we were never taught this stuff at school. We had a subject named civics. We had a paper name GK as well. Yet, we were never asked to critically analyse the causes of poverty in India. Instead we were asked to memorise how the Vice President could be removed from the post and how many articles the constitution contains. We were pushed to develop critical reasoning as well, but in science and math. I wonder why the people who formulate educational polices chose to keep us in dark regarding this seemingly significant detail at an age where it truly could have shaped our minds to orient ourselves to public service and develop a compassion towards our unfortunate fellow Indians.

One reason could be that developing vocational and scientific knowledge was one of the key methods of overcoming this national burden of poverty. Had I not focused on my studies to clear competitive exams, and instead joined a political party youth wing to protest the Government’s attrocities, I would not have been a well employed person looking after my family. There are countries where political ideology is the food of the masses, and they are not doing too well. Instead focusing on skill-building helps the nation.

This reason, while frail, is valid. But now we are at a stage where we have a stable service sector which provides employment to people who manage to move to the cities. Now is the time to sensitise our children about the problems that plague our nation. The Right to Education act stipulates that 25% of all children in schools should be from the under-privileged society. This will allow children of the well-to-do to look at and understand the problems of the less fortunate. Whether this will widen the gulf, or bring the two classes closer is something that needs to be seen.

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