In our Gurukuls students were made to memorize Vedas and sastras as there was no facility of writing and preserving knowledge in the form of books. These days when information is obtained with the flick of a finger on Google memorizing information is redundant. Students in the West, decades ago stopped memorizing even multiplication tables. They use calculators.
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Developing ability to think
Education is developing the ability to think. Thinking alone makes a man special if not superior to all other living beings in the world. Speech, which again is a unique gift only to man, makes us share our ideas and enhances our knowledge, experience and thereby our power to think. Knowledge without ability to think is only accumulation of junk data in brain.
Ability to think is manifest in problem solving, taking decisions and creativity. (Creativity is not confined to arts). In near future all our Software Engineer, Driver etc jobs are going to vanish. Robots will take over the routine jobs of Software Engineers and computers will drive cars. (You just need to announce the destination to the booked taxi and pay the bill as you don’t need to own a car). The point to note is excepting fields where innovation, creativity etc are involved there is no necessity of a human being to do the work, be it in a factory, a shop or a home. The present education and testing system is based entirely on memory. It must change for tomorrow’s needs and develop people with creative use of their knowledge.
Heart education is important
Mere knowledge or better ability to think may create monsters and villains. So developing a feeling heart is a necessity. This heart education starts from loving parents and grows with relationship with siblings, relatives and friends. A person with love or compassion in heart does not try to harm others. Love softens people and makes them humane and sympathetic. To develop human values study of fine arts and experiencing love in any form helps.
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As a Soft Skill Trainer, I heard a top company’s CEO saying “I don’t give job to anyone who does not respect his parents”. For a few seconds I was puzzled but felt happy when I understood what was behind those words. What he meant was: one who does not respect his parent will not respect his teacher too. Consequently he cannot be a good student with adequate knowledge and skills to apply that knowledge. Further he does not have a loving heart and would be a misfit in the corporate culture of the company where team skills and leadership based on respect and good will are important.
Child is born with a lot of creativity
Educational psychologists established the fact that a child is born with lots of creativity and the education system we follow gradually destroys it almost completely by the time it leaves school. We are just being made very inefficient robots. The present system of education introduced by McCauley in 1835 is now being changed. The New Education Policy has potential to make our students globally competitive. (Earlier many reforms were thought of but none was implemented).
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As per my understanding education is four fold. Physical education, education of the mind, education of the heart and spiritual education.
Students should have time to think
Government’s education policy, framing of syllabus by expert teachers, training teachers in teaching and more so in testing, supervision of teaching, proper conduct of examinations and evaluation will create value added education.
A student must have plenty of time to think. Then only he can be creative. Frequent exams must be avoided to shift focus from memorizing to creative thinking. Further it lessens tension in the education system and allows him to think freely.
Every person has some innate abilities. It is the job of the teacher and the parent to identify, guide and support him in that direction. There lies the development of the individual, his society and the world.