“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability” – Henry Ford
With our current education system stuck somewhere between grades and jobs, between converting CGPA to marks to percentage and so on, the truthful and original pursuit of knowledge has been lost somewhere in the abyss. Furthermore, the single-dimensional emphasis over a particular area of study has, though led us to greater heights when it comes to lifestyle and comfortability like connectivity, on the other hand, also effectively overlooked the fact that along with science and mathematics, pursuits of arts, music and literature are equally crucial and vice versa. Names like Bertrand Russell, Blaise Pascal were unmatched in their respective fields but they possessed knowledge and experimented across spheres. A look back at some of these figures is enough to know where we have drifted.
Learning not for Fear of Testing but to Know
The fundamental concern with the prevalent patterns of testing knowledge, namely, through written examinations and others, is the fixation with replication of texts. What this has led to is an instilling of fear in students coming through. In addition to that, where learning was deeply thoughtful and provided an avenue for argumentation, opinion-formation and pattern observation, it has become an illimitable contest between students of who can write the longest, or for that matter, remember the most. It is required to change the goals of learning, the fear of testing and competition should not act as rigid negative motivators but the genuine interest towards a field must be made paramount to learning something.
The Methods of Learning
The excruciating methods of learning have been constricted to writing down notes, attending books and hoarding books. While these methods are traditional and still practiced heavily, in this day and age, inculcating new methods of learning like audio visuals, discussions, or any other way that makes one feel comfortable has also become vital. Moreover, as long as the will and desire to learn is present, one finds different ways and goes to any lengths to dive deeper but as soon as it becomes a boring and uninteresting activity, any device of learning is not enough to make one learn.
Finding the Right Way
In life, understanding your interests and inclinations, your forte and what you see yourself doing is the most important thing. However, stumbling upon your intended field of learning may take you through a lot of experiences or you may know it from the start like George Orwell. In any case, gaining knowledge helps you find it in the end. It must also be noted that, many individuals do seem to have a disconnect between their profession and their interests and to make this rare, encouraging students to experiment and aid them in finding their favoured career path is the need of the hour.
Special Needs Learning
Often neglected and unfortunately voluntarily by educational institutions owing to the apparent reluctance to accept, children and adults with special needs are as important as that of any other. Our campuses, our playgrounds, our homes wherever possible, all facilities must be made inclusive and diverse so that children with special needs have access and feel welcome. This way not only benefits them but also others to develop feelings of compassion, comradeship and brotherhood towards others. Further, taking cue from a handful of institutes, adult learning must also be popularised. This will help erase the the stigma around it.
Ability to Judge, Differentiate and Unlearn
What the current model doesn’t focus is that one of the primary goals of imparting knowledge is to make individuals to judge, differentiate and deduce for themselves what’s best for them. In addition to that, any body of knowledge goes through changes, adaptations and modifications through time. Thus, to teach the importance of unlearning or changing one’s own highly regarded beliefs is parallely significant. This helps one to realise and understand deeper and gain a level of contentment and fulfillment that in turn, leads to a rewarding life. The importance of knowledge in life is not one-dimensional but multidimensional and to make our institutions and curriculum that way should be our aim.