The Great Indian Education System
Mind you please don’t get perplexed by the title and start pointing fingers at our government. This is not a blog about BJP vs Congress and it isn’t about the political strategies that lead to changes in our education system but rather the voice of a young adolescent narrating his mindset till he attained adulthood. The story of a boy who grew up in this challenging and mind wrenching dogma that we call our education system.
We live in a country where everything is marks oriented. We never strive on the power of knowledge, the wisdom of concepts but rather see getting a smiley sticker on one’s uniform as an achievement. But of course, that is an achievement of importance for an 8-year-old. Let’s cut back to when you were 8 years old, you got a smiley sticker for reciting 13’s multiplication table easily. Now, the challenge is when do you use this? In my examination, I came across only 1 question that had a 13’s multiple in it. For me all my efforts were in vain, the worst part was I got so satisfied with the 13’s table that I in fact forgot to memorise the 17’s table, and 2 questions were asked related to it. I let my pride and ego of getting a sticker win over my thirst for knowledge.
Let’s fast forward our memory tapes, cut to our 10th class Trigonometry, the most controversial topic of our entire schooling system. I personally loved the chapter because it was new, fascinating and had tons of formulae which could help me derive my answers quickly. But the sad part of the chapter was that my peers and I personally faced was, where to use it. The only thought that came to my mind was “itna sab seekh toh liya but apply kahan kare”. I wouldn’t say I was devastated by this but then again felt there’s something wrong with our education system, as after a point whatever we were learning we couldn’t use it in our lives. But the horrors of my life were yet to come.
Again, fast forward to my first undergrad exam, I sat there looking at the paper and the paper looking back at me. At that very moment, I felt we were two non-existent beings figuring out what we meant to each other. For me, it was a paper filled with a language that I had heard of but couldn’t comprehend properly and for the paper, it was me with a big empty box on top. That day I understood the grave difference between my school education and the college one. In college, I was mostly fixed up with playing sports and attending cultural events, which gave me very little time to study. Unlike my days in school, I didn’t have time to study or even understand those concepts that were taught to me in my classroom. One could say I could have skipped my co-curricular activities and focused my attention solely on studies, but I didn’t want to compromise on the very essence of my college life.
Now that I have listed my problems let’s discuss what I learned from them and the conclusion I came at. Rewind back to the mind of that 8-year-old kid, from him getting a smiley star to not scoring well, took an emotional and embarrassing toll on him. This made him gradually realise that materialism is just a constant variable in life but gaining knowledge is what should grow exponentially. For the next test, he memorised the tables for 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19… till he got tired and drained out. This not only helped him to score well but also gain some extra knowledge to combat any mathematical difficulties the world threw at him.
Now coming to the 10th class student, he realised maybe he didn’t have an opportunity to implement these Trigo concepts anywhere, but what he learnt that day was something that couldn’t be learnt anywhere else. The art of approaching a question, preparing for an exam with so many sub-concepts and strategies, this might sound peculiar to one, but try to understand a situation wherein you see your question that’s very new to you, in the middle of the exam your heart starts pounding and you can literally feel it till the tip of the finger. Maybe the application of the concepts were not of use anywhere, but the preparation made me a capable person for life.
For the challenges I faced during my college, I didn’t have anyone who could guide me during the odd hours of the day. The only time I had in my fist was when everyone was in bed. Even if I got my book and tried to understand it, I often used to get stuck in a concept and couldn’t move forward, visual representation is quite important. But the important part was since the college education is a bit different from the school one the concepts were a bit difficult to comprehend and sometimes youtube and those educational streaming platforms went flat due to those long and non-user interactive conceptual videos that just couldn’t touch the strings of my mind and the worst part was sometimes I couldn’t even find the concepts online. Those 4 years I had to struggle a lot to create a balance between my education and co-curricular activities. I needed someone to be there for me and with me to help me understand those concepts like my teachers used to do in my class. I wanted a person or a being who could hold my hand and show me the path of success.
This led to the birth of EduBazaar. :*)