By Amar Tejaswi:
When a few days back, I looked at a photograph of the leaning tower of Pisa (for the thirteenth time, if my count is correct), a rather peculiar idea crossed my mind. A sudden flash of thought plunged me into the shallow chasms of pensiveness. When I emerged (quite easily), I realised that I didn’t make a wonderful observation but only an ancient fact, only not acknowledged by the world openly and collectively. The thought that occupied my mind was this: the world is in a way an archetype of the leaning tower of Pisa, in fact, the world evolved from the tower. Because like the tower, the world too is bent, bent towards people with fat pockets, affluence and power, though more acutely.
The world is a farcical edifice built on the twin foundations of money and lust. And like the tower, the edifice is bent, because one foundation is more dominating than the other. Our world was always like this. But there were some rooms in the daunting structure, which were upright although the building they were part of was not.
Education was something that was always driven by devotion and thought. Helped by their own volition, teachers were successful potters moulding men and women into the embodiment of an intangible divine force, of rectitude. Sadly though, the twin foundations have penetrated the department of education as well, subverting it, leading to the establishment of a commercial education system that manufactures solipsists but doesn’t nurture altruists.
While it is true that education must evolve as time passes but commercialisation of education is the worst thing that could ever have happened. It is tantamount to decide. Depressingly, we are not averse to the idea of commercialisation. India has become a dirt-pool where ‘educational’ institutions proliferate like mushrooms. And there is none to cleanup! Foremost among these are the engineering and medical colleges which have become clubs of incompetent youngsters.
It is only because of such ‘institutes of technology and of medical sciences’, which turn out maladroit people, that the BPO and IT industry is thriving in our country. Because, lets face the truth, our education system doesn’t make us competent enough. The word IIT might have sprung up in your mind, but I don’t think they are paradigms of the ideal education institute. They sure equip you with technical knowledge that this age requires but certainly don’t imbibe the intellectuality that every age demands.
Central to this issue is the changing equations of the role of the teacher. The most sacred and the most important job in the world is that of the teacher. A teacher, hidden in the shadow of the student, must guide him to move ahead and resurrect our broken society. From the time when education started its first phase of commercialisation, the responsibilities of the teacher too, have been compromised. It is painful to note that people are beginning to view it as just another job which pays them and feeds them. When a person graduates, more often than not, the last job that he/she applies for is the job of the teacher. While we are a society built with the bricks of fallacies concrete of misguided principles, the notion, that the job of a teacher is a lesser one, filled with so much ignorance and falsity can only be equated with sacrilege and blasphemy.
The repercussions of such a situation, in which the teacher’s indifference towards his job juxtaposed with demands of money-mongering institutions they work in, are clearly demonstrated by cases such as the La Martiniere suicide. The case was widely reported because it happened in an elite Kolkata school, but what about the myriad cases of physical assault in lesser schools in towns and villages? Certainly every case cannot be reported. The teacher knows this and thus assaults with impunity. I do not seek to label the whole community of teachers diabolical. There, certainly are a lot of people who are walking definitions of how a teacher should be. But their number is fast dwindling.
Einstein once said, “Education is that what remains after one has forgotten what one has learnt in school.” If what he said is true, none of us of the present generation have ever had education!
Image courtesy: http://indiapopular.com/india/how-should-a-new-education-system-in-india-be-like, the image is only a depiction of a classroom and holds no resemblance of any kind to the educational system mentioned here in this article.