A Joke in the Name of Education

A Joke in the Name of Education

I may be one of the few people with this opinion, but I’ve always disliked school and college. Nearly a year has passed since I completed college and more than 3 years have passed since I completed school, yet not a single time have I fondly looked back to memories from yesteryear. I’m glad to be done with it and have decided never to go back to any educational institute however much they boast of “World-class quality education”.

Let me explain.

Slow and Steady doesn’t win the race

I had begun taking tuitions for high-school students for a subject that scares many – Mathematics. My teaching experience taught me probably more than I taught my students. Upon close observation of the syllabus, I realised, the curriculum is slow-paced.

A majority of my students were of average intelligence and disliked or were weak at mathematics, yet none of them struggled with it too much. After a little help and practice in as “challenging” a subject as mathematics, a big chunk could breeze through the syllabus. Yes, there were a very small fraction who I had difficulty helping but the syllabus was actually not challenging enough.

Education must keep up with the pace of children

Another surprise was when I noticed that the syllabus from 1st to 4th grade was pretty much the same and so was the syllabus from 5th to 8th grade. I know many of you readers would be thinking that at that age you struggled with the syllabus, but my observation was that we had been trained to think slow.

Kids especially learn new things at the speed of light, teaching them is a challenge not because of their level of intelligence but because many adults don’t know how to interact with kids and adolescents. They learn languages faster than we do and can develop practical skills such as operating electronics, fixing certain broken objects, remembering details and the like at the drop of a hat. No you are not raising a child prodigy if a kid in your vicinity possesses any or all of the aforementioned skills. These skills are common to that age group. They need to be sharpened and expanded, not slowed down to suit the requirements of monotonous dead-end jobs for the “average” majority.

Educational Institutes have done their best to dumb us down and it saddens me to see that they have succeeded. I feel many of us start off reasonably intelligent, creative, intuitive, and the like. It is at the end of our educational lives that we find ourselves to be mediocre.

The obsession with social skills

A common argument in favour of schools is that they help us cultivate social skills required in adult life. I call bullshit again! Man is a social animal but that doesn’t mean they require to be in the company of 20 to 40 others constantly for a big part of their day. In our adult lives the introverts amongst us can often get away with socialising, schools compel this. I believe this is a conscious effort they take to kill our creativity. Forcing us to agree to and coordinate with numerous people we don’t really know or like, whilst suppressing our own ideas and tastes.

In fact important subjects like mathematics, science, and even creative writing require individual thinking not “team work”. Many successful people are introverts. You have to distance yourself from the majority to have a sense of discipline and have a brain of your own.

Many introverts go through just fine in various social settings and that isn’t because their schools have taught them the social skills to do so, it is because these are just things you learn as you go through life.

A Glimpse into “Real Life”

Another argument supporting the conventional education system is that it teaches you to cope and adjust with environments and people you don’t like. Schools, they say, make us memorise voluminous matter that we are aware are of no use, but doing monotonous things to achieve our goals is a part of life.

This isn’t necessarily true as there are people who are reasonable happy with their jobs. Many of us feel the need to complain when we are in a group of people complaining. We aren’t necessarily unhappy. If not for anything, jobs are fulfilling their basic duty – giving us money.

Even if it is true, let childhood be a period of growth and learning. Children need to and will learn about the harsh truth of life but definitely don’t require a first hand experience of it from a young age.

In Conclusion

I have criticised the educational system in nearly a thousand words without even addressing the more obvious and pressing issues such as unnecessary pressure put on children, overly competitive environment, redundant syllabus, lack of practical training amongst many other things.

Our education system is in desperate need of a reform. The gift of education is the best thing we can give our youth. Screw “gift”, it is our right! Yet how many of us have actually learnt something worthwhile after surrendering our childhood and a significant part of our youth to the pursuit of education?