Imparting education in a systematic way was started in Ancient Greece around 2400 years ago. Philosopher Plato is credited as being the first person who proposed a methodical approach towards scholastic learning. He categorised education into three parts: primary education, medium education and, higher education. It was Plato who emphasised and supported the cause of educating women. According to Plato, who was famously taunted for being a braggart and a chaotic man, women play an equal role as men in nation-building. In his literary prose Republic, Plato puts forth his policy on education. Though his policy was beyond his time, it had one major shortcoming – it was against education for people belonging to the manufacturing sector, such as artisans, farmers, labourers, etc., for which he is heavily criticised.
It is believed that contemporary education began from the institute which Plato opened near Athens. According to Plato’s treatise on education, the main motive of education is creating superlative citizens. He believed that disseminating education is the role of the ruling class. He deemed that it was education which could groom able citizens and philosopher kings. He believed that the resolution of global issues and problems required philosopher kings. According to him, there would be no end to any worldwide concerns as long as philosopher-kings are absent. Accountancy, math, geography, history, civics and science were some of the main subjects taught in his academy. Sports were also an integral part of his educational curriculum. Education was passed on to prepare children with good character, physical and cognitive development.
Where is that education system today, which had its roots in building physical fitness, cognitive development, and moral character? While a lot of good has happened to the education sector, it has quickly evolved to become big business. The intent of education is no longer producing only good citizens.
We, as a society, are moving in a direction, where education is being used to generate consumerists. Today, the education sector is seeing the prioritisation of certain choices, in an attempt to produce such citizens who can fulfil the materialistic needs. The major concern with contemporary education is that acquiring it, does not result in the lessening of internal corruption, but inner conflict and vice only rise.
In my opinion, a substantial portion of the educated class regards the immoral ways of earning money as their achievement. From my observations, surgeons performing surgeries when the ailment can be remedied without it have become commonplace occurrences. ‘Gentlemen’ who deceive people to make money have now become respectful. More number of cases of feticide are reported in areas with higher literacy rates. Is modern-day education really fulfilling its purpose?
According to me, religion, politics, etiquette, and education are the four pillars that are necessary for the creation of an ideal society; market effects come afterwards. The market operates these in various possible ways. In this era of consumerism, a human is not regarded as a human but a genus of the market. In the field of education, marketplace policies are being put forward with the aim of generating maximum possible income.
Our education is not concerned with the basic problems of mankind. Our real problems are not being addressed. Our issues are apples and we are being told about oranges. In this situation, which is marred with an air of vagueness, the domain of the duties of a teacher has become very vast.
Today, it is the need of the hour that the teachers must come forward and play the role of leaders in society. The teacher must stay associated with good, unbiased and unprejudiced books for his intellectual development. The teacher ought to play a role like that of Dyuyshen of the Russian novel The First Teacher, written by Chinghiz Aitmatov. Earlier, pupils used to learn from their surroundings and society; today, the case is different. They have other various sources of learning. Mobile and internet have changed the scenario. Today’s kids are very different from those born thirty years ago. Technological advances have enlarged the scope of a teacher’s function.
The need of the hour is that education must strengthen a student on physical, mental, emotional, and financial accounts. His/her personality should be developed. The right use of money and sources has become a major issue for the society; curriculums related to such matters must be developed.
In my opinion, unnecessary and jittery topics which are not related to the betterment of mankind should be removed from syllabi. Another point of concern, upon which no work has yet been done, is that children must be made curious and eager learners for them to be educated in the true sense. Curriculums must be reformulated in such a manner that they inculcate in the mind of students the eagerness to learn more. It is time that the focus is shifted from studying to learning.
Matters such as superstitions are a menace for the society as they keep the human mind in their vicious grasp. Our books must be filled with chapters of scientific and technological themes. The young minds must be taught that mobile, internet, and TV are contributions of science to the humankind but using these as a medium to sell miraculous stones is superstition. Schools and colleges must have syllabi that cater to the interests of the students. For example, if some student excels at making paintings, then he must be given some relaxation from the burden of other subjects, and he must be provided with facilities to hone his craft.
Education must be provided by the government and must be same for each child, irrespective of his social and financial standing. Educational institutions must be immediately prevented from turning into political battlegrounds. Education should be about learning, but unfortunately, it has been limited to obtaining a certificate. There is no doubt that our society is more literate now, but we have lost the essence of life. Today, it is needful that every student must understand contemporary concerns. It would be possible only if the unnecessary burden in the syllabi is replaced with curriculums that suit the modern circumstances.