Anything I read anymore, related in anyway to education, I smirk, which is the most positive reaction I can manage. A simple and not so precise reason for that would be, irrespective of source from which it comes, anything I hear or read about education is crap. It truly is. Literally. Which means its indigestible remains of information we take inside. In educational domain, the art of teaching is only something which is not crap or fart. The art of teaching, isn’t even close to the art of speaking which management gurus practice. Its quite much superior to that. And you need to look at it from a point of view opposite to conventional parlance. That’s very important to do. Coz teaching doesn’t mean facilitating an individual to learn a skill alone. Its a balancing act where you have to evolve yourself and other individuals and be in the process of be evolved by those individuals. As soon as it is restricted by the curriculum, by the dreads of the survival of an individual, by the greed to know more – more than others, you fall below that separating line. That line which separates the world into two categories. There are some people in the world you keep it going. Reproduce the same stuff. And then there is a minuscule group which create new. Or should I say, process into something which didn’t exist earlier. Created out of the already existing ingredients though. Yet recycled. In a lifetime, you keep rotating between these two areas, but more often than not fall into reproduction one. Thats how the world keeps itself going.
Now, with all this in my head, it is very difficult to read a paper which talks about a non-formal education intervention that took place in a tribal area of Madhya Pradesh with an aim of increasing confidence and self-esteem of participants, and also of with hope to include children in formal education at appropriate standard. Why is it difficult? Because, in my understanding you can’t increase confidence of kids if you try to bring them into formal education. You would say – thats not true. You inculcate the feeling of competition and light the fire of desire to learn more – bang, you have got yourself not only a kid who would crack the formal education system, but also a one who is ambitious and wants to do more. True. I totally agree with that. What is the catch here? The process. How do you do it? For simplicity, if we say, our end product (one needs to define the characteristics of it) is the child with following qualities: 1) He is curious. 2) He knows how to feed his curiosity. 3) He is productive. Aha! Here is the problem. As soon as you use the word which falls out of scientific domain. “Productive.” Impossible to define it. When you are not in conventional mode. Ok, lets leave it for the moment. 1 n 2 are good enough. Any formal education would not want 2) to happen. Because if it does, the world will fall apart. Economies will collapse. Some tell me, there is a functional need for people to stay in the low-graded jobs and not feel bad about them, coz lets face it someone’s gotta do the shitty work. So say, if a data feeder (feeds data into computer) becomes curious about microsoft excel and tries it out and excels in it, he would want to be promoted. He would want to become an analyst. He would want to make sense of the symbols he was until now blindly using. But hey, there are many self-acclaimed “social workers” in this field. They have the hope for impossible to make possible. To win the war against the world. They try to do the 2) while also getting the child crack formal education. This is the only way out, one needs degrees to eat! But, unfortunately, we again got into a loophole. The formal education doesn’t treat everyone equally. It can’t because it serves the economy and the existing structures/processes in the society. So one child might be able to do both 2) and exams, another one might fail at both. As the expectations are higher. You want the child to do music which he loves, but also math which earns his bread. I would respect it if the intervention says we only wish for everyone to pass exams. But then, that doesn’t work either. Because, its is not a thought through program. After 12th class, if the kid goes back to fields to farm/gather food from forest he is worse off than his illiterate counterparts.
So the first problem with anything I read in education, is that we don’t have a goal, a vision, an aim. Nobody does. Not even the leaders. Everyone lies in the category of re-producing the existing types. For those who have read a bit more, would say, lets just focus on getting things done to start with. Like the teacher goes to school regularly. Kids don’t use any textbooks. They don’t do any formal exams. They just play with lots of toys, make toys, talk about things, etc etc. Have a time to develop, what we call, abstract thinking. Which routine day-to-day activities don’t give us opportunity to do. Kids have fun and teachers have fun. That is what school would do. Say this is an aim. We bunch of intellects sitting far far away from the lands we are talking about, first assume that this doesn’t already happen and then assume that this is something good to take place. Also, fun?! Really? Would world bank give us billions to have FUN?!! We are talking about results here. Concrete results. Which would prove that money is put to good use. How would fun in classrooms achieve that? Unfortunately, that is the only way to achieve (whatever they want to achieve) and the only way we are too insecure to try out. No one knows how to do. Thats the second one. For those who tried, failed. Because of the reason below. The third problem.
Some say, education is the ticket to better lifestyle. Monetary. Spiritually. Sensibly. Ok, then let that be the evaluation quotient. Better lifestyle. So if you have fun in school, what difference does it make? School would be over one day and you enter big bad world which is not fun. Ok, then lets focus on apprenticeship model. You show them whats lie ahead. Well, that is precisely what happens. With a huge drop out rate in our education system, children work or remain jobless – which is a window to future.
When people say we should invest more in education, we should have more research, we should have this n that… I could hardly smirk. I feel like shouting and telling them to shut the fuck up. Just stop talking. Stop living for all I care.
I have lost all hope. I need a reason to move my ass, to be able to talk to people.