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Education- A New Orientation

A great debate is going on. A Pandora’s Box has been opened. The debate and the pertinent question are whether the present education system available to the students is conducive to fulfill their aspirations and congenial to equip them to face the challenges of the unknown future. Is education only a way to get a coveted job and to measure success in terms of money and wealth? Or is it a path to build up character and knowledge to bring out a positive student in a predominantly negative world to make them become responsible citizen to uplift their country towards progress and development and to promote an egalitarian society? Every school now claims to cater to the needs of the students and parents. Are they really? Is our present education system is effective and efficient to achieve the objectives of education?

If at all the education is to accomplish its purpose, then what is needed is a re-orientation to define education. It is possible only through innovation and creativity. The future of education and its effectiveness depend upon taking a different approach to give a new meaning to it and to create a new value and direction to the student community. It should aim at meeting the needs of those who are directly involved in education namely the students and the teachers and also to meet the great expectations of those who also share the benefits of an effective educational system namely the parents and the State.

Is our present education system is effective and efficient to achieve the objectives of education? The present education is more oriented towards getting a degree which is like a pass port declaring only the eligibility of a candidate and does not assure success and progress in his / her life. What is needed is a visa which assures a passage to out side world. Likewise, after a degree / post graduate degree, what is needed is finding a pathway to success in life. Education as available in schools and colleges now is nothing but only a means to pass the examination with emphasis on a higher percentage of mark. It does not teach the pathway to success in life. Further, education is a never ending continuous process till the end of life. Hence the values of education and the skills required to succeed in life need to be updated. But how?

What is the position of teachers? Is the present environment amiable to the fulfillment of the aspirations of the teachers contributing to their creative and innovative needs? Since the school and college curriculums are purely syllabus and examination oriented, there is no scope for experimentation. The net result is that both the teachers and the students are always under stress. Further knowledge is like a perishable commodity. It has to be updated to meet the challenges of the time to create tact and talent among the teachers and the students.

The only way to update the knowledge and skills is to undergo training program conduced by competent well experienced successful professionals / entrepreneurs. Hence the importance of training should not be overlooked. “The term training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. …” The student and the teacher community should recognize the need to continue training beyond initial qualifications to maintain, upgrade and update skills throughout working life.” This is called “professional development.”

So far education has been treated as a teaching preposition to impart a set of standardized Knowledge to students to evolve a curriculum based on a common programmed teaching method through a standardized delivery system. But no one has treated education as a system that routinely allows excellent work to result from the ordinary efforts of ordinary people. Changing system will change what people do. But changing what people do will not change the system. Present approach to education represents not leadership but abdication of leadership. What is to be emphasized is that there is a new way to education. This new way is enormously more effective than the old way and it is whole lot more fun.

“The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past – and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own efforts.” And “The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think- rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.”Ultimately education means, to quote Swami Vivekananda, “Education is the manifestation of human perfection that is in man.” If a holistic, integrated and stress free education is devised and imparted to the student community, then it will take them beyond the petty prejudices and discriminations leading to universal brotherhood. Further a proper effective and efficient education will accomplish a soul searching and perseverance.

Education enhances the personality by enabling one to accept a person for his intrinsic qualities with all his faults and frailties and refuse to judge him by irrelevant facts. The spontaneous feeling of brotherhood is a mark of human maturity. Yet in a general sense it can be defined as the lived essence of our human personhood, an essence that is continually in process of formation. Further, education is also the manifestation of the inherent power that is within everybody, the power that gives confidence to give a new world order of peace and happiness and hope for the veritable realization of man’s quest to achieve his noble objective and aspiration for meaningful and tranquil life.

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