The purpose of education should be to provide students with a value system, a standard, a set of ideas- not to prepare them for a particular job.
Education is, at its core, a basic understanding of the world encompassing all social, political and developmental aspects of human life. Human beings, for ages unknown, have used this knowledge to form a deep and meaningful relationship with all that they have encountered over the long-drawn and arduous process of evolution. Socrates, Galileo, Newton have all contributed in the struggle for the Truth, sowing the seeds of unquestioned respect for scholars and academics worldwide.
Education, in itself, is a powerful tool. It provides a fascinating insight into how the universe functions- why the earth is round and the sky is blue, why birds migrate and frogs hibernate, how machines are built and bridges constructed, and to sum it up, how the entire system of the universe manages to co-exist without any alteration of balance. Scientific breakthroughs in the field of medicine can revolutionize healthcare, upcoming fields like genetics research can lead to treatment of thousands affected by incurable diseases. Robotics can send an unmanned spacecraft into the solar system and return with never before seen footage of the worlds beyond our own. Any individual, irrespective of his social background, can dream big and achieve the impossible with just the right degree of training.
The ability to change the world lies in the hands of the learned, those who spend their lives yearning for that control. And their education is what determines whether they have that capability.
A human child begins to grasp his surroundings at a very young age. He absorbs and analyses situations and sometimes, manipulates them for his won benefit. Education provides him with a new set of eyes through which he views his world. Man’s thirst for knowledge can never truly be quenched. He remains a student throughout his life.
Many academicians have debated about what truly is education. Is it a system that should concentrate on feeding crass knowledge into raw minds, or should it be a higher school of thought that focuses on the overall development of the child? Should colleges be reduced to factories minting out custom-made professionals whose curiosity in subjects occurring outside their chosen fields are treated with contempt and cruelly suppressed?
Educational institutions are seats of higher learning. But more than that, they are places where a child grows into an adult, his life transforms, first into gawky adolescence and then into mature adulthood. This is where he makes the first friends, wins the first game of basketball, participates in the drama competition, falls in love and then out of it, and creates a niche for himself, an identity that he can claim to be totally and completely his own.
And that is what education should be all about. It should concentrate on developing the personality of students and discourage academic pressures of any kind. The student should be dissuaded from poring into his books, instead he should be encouraged to look around, travel and gain the amazing insights the world has to offer. Free thinking should be the norm on college campuses and knowledge should be acquired, not force fed. There should be an attempt to achieve the seemingly impossible, which would allow the participant to savour the victory of his acquisition.
Liberation of education from the clutches of narrow mindedness and anachronism is the order of the day…Unless of course, we want our future generations to be reduced to a collection of intelligent, yet mindless robots.