Essence of Education

Kids always have fun, especially in school. Maybe it was the time spend not studying and some of the lessons could be so boring. I know I didn’t enjoy all the classes; that is not to say that education is not important. I had often wondered why I had to learn some of the stuff which seemed so unimportant and useless. Yes, I was told that it was the foundation that I should have so that I can learn whatever I wanted later on. But, is that all education is? Learning stuff that you may or may not use in the future?

I have heard parents, elders and teachers saying that you need education to get a job, a job that will pay you well so that you have the luxuries that they didn’t have. It will bring you respect and I could go on and on. Good job, money and better lifestyle is just a byproduct of education. You can create your own job, earn more money and lead a rich life even without education. Unfortunately, we live in a materialistic world where success is measured by your CTC and number of people working under you. If you have any doubt, check the number of instances where you were asked about your pay package or your role in the company hierarchy. A successful person is one who is able to contribute to the society, by influencing the way they think or live, for the better.

Would you consider a a CEO or a scientist/politician with much lower pay a bigger influencer? Before you decide, the scientist has invented a cure for common cold and politician has made a policy change that will increase the standard of education. I am sure everyone has their own opinion about the purpose of education. I feel that the primary purpose of education should be to make you a better person. It does not mean that you will be told what is right or what is wrong, but the right kind of education should equip you with the tools to find your own answers, which includes understanding the mistakes of the previous generation.

At the very basic level:

  • Education allows you to gather information by developing your reading skills.
  • It allows you to communicate the information you gained and your own interpretation through writing.
  • It allows you to express quantity.

In short the 3 Rs: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

Once you have started on the 3 Rs, it nurtures the basic human curiosity by feeding you information on various topics, from Literature to Politics, History to Science. Based on your interest, you will be drawn to few of those topics. The ability to read, will help you go beyond the regular curriculum which would indicate successful education. But a systematic assimilation of knowledge without understanding the true purpose will only make you an educated idiot. It could also kill your curiosity.

The human race or the nation does not need just workers. It needs doctors, engineers, politicians, lawyers, journalists and skilled people in all types of professions that you see under the sun and a few more. We may not be able to meet the demand and so we take what we can, but the need is not just any doctor who prescribe pills or advice you to take fluids, but one who can understand the cause and find a cure. We don’t want a politician who makes speech, travels throughout the country and makes his decisions based on whims or astrology, but one who can solve problems and think how his actions will affect future generations.

A child who has learnt how to find information written by others and who can use those as stepping stone to advance a thought, idea or philosophy will find a a niche from where he can influence the lives of others. He/she might end up teaching thousands of other kids to think and learn, or influence the views of the nation through writings. In my opinion one such person is much more important than the richest person alive.

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. Mark Twain

I always thought that Mark Twain meant what was taught in school was insignificant, but now I feel he might have meant that he never allowed his education to be restricted to school. He did not become a great writer by ignoring what was taught in school, but going beyond what was taught at school.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.