My first blog: Education

I’m a little late into the blogging trend, but I think it’s about time I started. Why now? well I’ve come to realise that rather than keep my ideas, thoughts and philosophies in life to myself, why not share it with the rest of the world. So this blog is going to be an attempt at that.

The most pressing thought on my mind today is education. Either it has genuinely become a hot topic of discussion or it’s something that I’ve been exposed to in greater depth more recently. Education in India is something that has needed changes for many years now. They have been breeding the idea that in order to succeed in life, you need to score high marks in your exams; exams which are centered around Maths and the Sciences. Is this how we are preparing our future generations for world we live in today?

When I refer to education in India, I’m referring to the larger portion of schools which follow this generic path. These are the school that more than 99% of the population are educated in. I’ve been more fortunate in my education and attended two very different schools, Rishi Valley and Mallya Aditi International School, both of which invest time and effort in the education they provide and both founded by people who have invested immensely in the idea of education.

Did I get above 90% in my 10th grade board exams? No. Did I get all A’s in my A-Level exams? No. Does this imply that I am not successful in life? I sure hope not. My nephews who are now in their 8th and 10th grades seem to have a very different education from what I had. There is immense competition to get that above 90% grade and nothing else. The school seems to pride itself on the fact that more than 80% (or there abouts) got more than 85% average, and this was placed on a pedestal in their main reception! I found it amusing, but the true gravity of the situation was not one to be laughed at. The Indian education system seems to pride itself in generating an army of engineers and doctors. So what about the musicians, dancers and designers? Are they not relevant in todays society?

I think we are slowly coming to realise the significance of a well-rounded education, but the reforms that need to be made to the education system are immense and our Miniter for Human Resource Development (or more simply education) Kapil Sibil, has only taken the first step by talking of cancelling all 10th standard board exams. A step I believe in the right direction, but only the beginning of a long journey of reforms in this sector.

The video below is a talk by Sir Ken Robinson at a TED conference where he talks about education and creativity. I’ve watched this at least 3 times and I’m still not bored of it.

His talk clearly identifies and highlights the issues with our education system today, we teach our children to always be right. You are penalised for being wrong, and rewarded for being right. If a child does not make mistakes, how could they ever come up with ideas of their own. To always be right would be to follow a path that bas been treaded before and not adventure into new avenues. If this is education, then how will they invent new products, and solve previously unsolvable problems?

Narayana Murthy, Barack Obama, Sir Ken Robinson and probably many more people, have spoken about the important of experiencing failure and learning from your mistakes. Surely if our education system is an advocate for exactly the opposite, there must be something wrong?