Sunday, August 1, 2021

Artificial system

There is a flood that comes once in a century, destroys properties. But there is a flood that comes annually, destroys generations and cripples minds. And it is on a mass scale, and we are all its victims. But we don’t talk about it. It has claimed innumerable lives, destroyed creative spark in countless students. It costs us money, time, human resource and other resources. Yes we are talking about the examination system, as our children prepares for another examination with the end of the current academic session drawing to a close. Indeed the examination system prevailing in the State needs examining, a thorough post-mortem. Once upon a time there was an instituted system for preparing students for mastering crafts and skills they had shown promise by virtue of natural inclination, heredity, etc. Students were properly initiated or baptized in the craft or profession they chose. Education was fully vocational and it simultaneously fashioned souls. Skills, ethics, love for vocations were “tested.” Modernity uprooted hereditary, inclinational or traditional mode of education. And no wonder it resulted in abortions at mass scale. Somehow many get to the post primary level and then nature does her weaning at matriculation. More than 80% students feel compelled to pursue post-matric education and drop out percentage starts increasing with every next step in higher education. Meanwhile childhood and youth of countless has been destroyed and they have hardly learnt anything of significance or anything besides ability to read and write some preliminary things. Souls haven’t been fashioned. Anyway even those who complete PhDs don’t learn anything about the vocation of life. Meaning of life – which is the most important question education had to help sort – and ethics – which is the essence of philosophy and spirituality and part of religion – have not been in the syllabus. In fact these things are taught through education rather than by education in traditional cultures and that is why the talk about teaching values by including books on moral education has so little value really. What values can you teach? Values are imbibed from culture, through the vocation or craft. One’s job is ideally one’s dharma. Less than 1% people are not alienated from their jobs or blessed with the vocation that they have really chosen. That is why holidays or strikes/bandhs are welcome always for the working class. We have today an artificial educational system. And our souls and minds can’t accept it. Somehow we are forced to conform. And this requires violence to the mind, to the body, to the soul. And the system that successfully institutes this violence is the examination system. It requires a heap of mostly useless information. The mind somehow retains it for sometime till examination is cleared and then vomits it out. One vomits what can’t be digested and what one has really digested can hardly be known through this system. We have forgotten that lessons are to be learnt rather than memorized to be forgotten after a particular time. Academic terrorism that defines examination system is our greatest curse – all terrorisms are parasitic on it. History can’t forgive those educationists who are hardly doing anything about it. Of course there are some positives about the current system but its negatives far outweigh it. Without denying need for certain evaluation system and the fact of difficulty of all serious learning, one is justified in asking who institutes for whom and why a given evaluation system. And does it deliver? And at what costs? Clearly no educationist or serious teacher is satisfied with the current system. In fact the day we revamp the current exam system and replace it by more creative alternatives like assignments, presentations, group discussions, debates, open interactive sessions we would have moved one big step towards freedom. If our State can’t give this much relief to the people, what else can it give? Occasionally it is good to suspend some procedure to see if it is really needed.