Thursday, 16 February 2012

Education – a tool to make robots or for all round development of human being?

”unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them

Is what Lord Macaulay said to the British govt to conquer India and YES they destroyed our “Gurukula Education System”, indeed we almost lost out self-esteem and we became what they wanted. But the more pitiable thing is that we are still in the same state and getting quite comfortable with it even after knowing the faults in this system. What does the current education system brings to us? Does it bring developments in the physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and ethical integration of the individual? So what’s the aim of our current education system?

Excessive homework, intimidating impositions, bossy teachers, and their harsh measures crush the tender children at the budding stage itself. Even maths sums, their methods that need to come out spontaneously, are memorised. About 10 year back when I was in school, different ways to solve problems/sums were thought but now sums and it steps are just being memorised like as they are Tamil poets (Seyyul). Their brain is totally exhausted with nothing left, except the imposed knowledge that is transient. The child's originality and all-round development are being nipped in the bud. Unless the commercialism is delinked from education, the capacity to think usually dies when a child goes to the present day schools.

Parents have a major share in this. Any school that imposes and insists on immoderate workload and incarcerates their students for a maximum number of hours is reckoned as an ideal institution.

It has to be appreciated that the modern Indian parent does have a very hard time, for modern Indian life itself has become much more difficult than it ever used to be. Surrounded by a plethora of potential threats and fears, they keep their children on track for those dreaded twin events — board exams and entrance exams. If all of their free time is taken up with tuitions and coaching classes for entrance exams, they are obviously compelled to channelise all their emotional energies in only one direction — the pursuit of academic achievements. However, by failing to realise that the brain, a truly extraordinary organ though a sadly underutilised one, requires a much wider range of activities to develop and strengthen it's millions of neural pathways, this approach inadvertently results in one-dimensional thought processes and early burn-outs since their brains have been trained to memorise but not necessarily think. However much you increase the RAM, you can't expect your Intel processor to function as effectively as its counterpart.

The current educational system is that it turned men into slaves, capable of slavery and nothing else. It deprived people of their faith and belief. Swami Vivekananda was very critical about this scheme of education. “He compared it to the person who wanted to turn his ass into a horse, was advised to thrash the ass in order to achieve this transformation and killed his ass in this process.” The excessive stress and untold agony caused by these schools will mar their mental growth. If this situation continues, we should cope with the hard reality that we are creating not the pillars of India but robots that oblige their masters. This is what Lord Macaulay achieved and sadly still achieving it…!!!

What to do? Our children should get attuned to the competitive world is the conviction of the literate as well as illiterate parents.

Swami Vivekananda points out that “the defect of the present-day education is that it has no definite goal to pursue. A sculptor has a clear idea about what he wants to shape out of the marble block; similarly, a painter knows what he is going to paint. But a teacher, he says, has no clear idea about the goal of his teaching”. The present education system has overemphasized the cultivation of the intellect at the cost of the general well-being of humanity. This disastrous trend should be arrested by encouraging all round development of human being.

Then here you pose a question, what do you mean by all round development? Education must provide ‘life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas’ the ideal of this type of education would be to produce an integrated person – one who has learned how to improve his intellect, purify his emotions, and stand firm on moral virtues and unselfishness. To illuminate and refine the mind is the real goal of education, and not the mere collection of data.

Play and activity are part and parcel of juvenile life. “You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the Gita” says Swami Vivekananda. Nowadays parents are planning to send their young kid to so called Pre-KG's at 2.5 to 3 years of age, (mostly to get free from taking care of their own kid and also to an extent socialise their kids in this busy world) think again!!! It’s not like our PAAL VAADI's where Playing, activities, experience, and social interaction were the main aspects of learning. We went their, to learn new words not to memorise and to repeat!!! So one has to think again, does your kid should really need to go to pre-KGs and KSs at the age of 3?? Why this kolaveri?

Much of Indian discovery and learning can be attributed to the metaphysical "gurukul" system of education, which encouraged observation, questioning, dialogue, investigation, respect for teachers and the environment. Learning through mistakes is one of the main basic principles followed in Gurukula system and PAAL VAADI not to punish them or impart the fear of losing by the grading systems as it’s followed in the current education system. The child should be allowed to commit mistakes in the process of character formation. He will learn much by his mistakes. In 1623 itself Europeans realised that our method of schooling was considered as unique and the best among all. Errors are the stepping stones to our progress in character. Strong will, is the sign of great character. Will-power is necessary not only to conduct the learning process, but also to strengthen one’s character.

The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of humanitarianism, and the courage to stand on ones own legs – is it worth the name?

The educational concerns related to a person’s interaction with society should receive due attention. In past we were bound to learn from our own village or at least with in our cultural territory, which was good enough to impart our traditional knowledge. In other words we didn’t require special teachings or guidance to learn our traditional cultural practices, like praying and carrying out our eternal duties to your forefathers but unfortunately in present days, those became foolish things to do. Like these our cultural identities should be thought in the current system.

Every society has its outer aspect called ‘civilization’, and also its inner aspect called ‘culture’. In both of these a child is molded and educated so that the beliefs and practices of his forefathers are carried on and not forgotten. Similarly, through education should make a child to learn a culture and his behaviour is molded accordingly, and he is thus guided towards his eventual role in society. In this process, several agents – such as his parents, peers and teachers are there JUST TO ASSIST him. The child should be HELPED in solving his problems himself but not to be teached /forced to overcome a problem. You cannot teach a child any more than you can grow a plant. You can supply the growing seed with the materials for the making up of its body, bringing to it the earth, the water, the air that it wants. And there your work stops. It will take all that it wants by its own nature. So with the education of a child. We have only to do so much for the child that they may learn to apply their own intellect to the proper use of their hands, legs, ears and eyes. The teacher spoils everything by thinking that he is teaching. This is the thing that has to be changed. (Watch the recent Dhoni movie – it has the similar principle – don’t force, let them grow on their own.)

The aim of education should be self-development, therefore, leads to the aim of education for character. Character is the foundation for self development. So the aim of education is character building. This depends upon the ideals cherished by the individual. The educator should present high ideals before the educands. The best way to develop a character is the personal example of high character set by the teacher. In ancient Indian system of education, the teachers used to present high ideals before the pupils, who in their turn imitated these ideals according to their capacities. Thus, in order to be worthwhile and effective, education must be rooted in religion or, to be precise, in the science of spirituality, and evidently not in dogma. A mere intellectual growth wont make a man complete, it only makes men ten times more selfish. When there is conflict between the heart and the brain, let the heart be followed. (Most of you might have watched/seen it via movies like 3 Idiots/Nanban).

The end of all education, all training, should be man-making not robots which does the work efficiently without thinking. But all we want is the training/system, by which the current and expression of will are brought under control and become fruitful, is called and should be called as education. But if the current system continues, the words of Nobel Laureate Alexis Carrel will become true "Every child is a genius only to be converted into an idiot in school! “

In the end I would like to share an article from The Hindu magazine, where Mr. Sukumaran C. V. shared his own experience, its much like Dhoni movie. The tyranny of the kindergarten –

Any comments and suggestions are warmly welcomed...


  1. Frankly to say, present education stops the thinking process (but to work with programmed ideologies through out the life), as you rightly mentioned it robots.

    The programmed ideology is a corrupted one. A virus has hacked our system. We need to write a anti-viral correct code

  2. Process based mass education can produce only robots. Only in Personalised education, does the teacher has a chance to understand the students, and shape him. Today, students get only information, and NOT any value in it. There is no mental connectivity b/w teachers and students. Teachers are seen as just employees who gets salary and teaches. Students are seen as consumers, who has to be made to get good marks.

    Even thought its too late, its time to close down this education system.

  3. புதிய கல்வி முறையைத் தேடாது
    பழைய கல்வி முறையை
    புதியதாய் முறைப்படுத்திட‌
    முழு முனைப்பாய்...
    பிறந்த நாள் வாழ்த்துக்கள்...