Saturday, February 11, 2012

Growing Young

"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten."

     We did a play in high-school about an adolescent who returns to school 20 years after he graduated. The theme of the play was simple, the guy felt that he had been cheated of a proper education and wanted his tuition fees reimbursed. A set of funny sequences follow, he meets up with each his teachers and they put him through tests. The teachers work on proving him wrong by asking silly questions (How long did the 30 year old war last?) and the student tries to outsmart them (he answers 7 years). The tutor eventually proves that his answer was right.
      At the end of the final rehearsal, we were informed that the play could not be performed due to a restriction from the Ministry of Education (Sultanate of Oman). They felt that it would portray education in bad light, and make a mockery of it. When the tears subsided, I felt he was right. The traditional gurukul system would remain in our midst and teachers would always be held in high esteem. Unfortunately, I've been proven wrong over the past couple of years.
    A  couple of days back, I was shocked to read the headlines in the newspaper. A teacher was brutally stabbed during school hours by a student. The student was irate after the teacher reprimanded him harshly for his low grades (wonder how many I would have killed). I tried to put myself in the student's shoes. And I couldn't. The student had carried a knife for 3 days, waiting for an opportunity. That is cold-blooded murder and it sends shivers down my spine. Are parents keeping track of their wards? Or do their responsibilities end with paying the tuition fees?
     I decided to read further into the evolution of behavioural trends in children. I have seen this at close quarters with the way my cousins deal with my nephews/nieces. The disgusting rat race has reached a point where we expect kids to mature overnight. Higher responsibilities are placed on them, and therefore higher incentives to motivate them. In short, a higher cliff, and a deeper fall. Parents feel that the teachers in schools aren't competent enough, and express it in front of their children. Let's admit it, the standard of teaching in schools are dropping but the attention at home is falling at a higher pace. We are bothered about the knowledge & information that our wards gain without stressing on cultural & social values. We do not differentiate good & bad, right & wrong as long as they are at the top of their game.
     I was reading an article by Alison Gopnik, a professor in Psychology at UCLA. She points out that "If you think of the teenage brain as a car, today's adolescents acquire an accelerator a long time before they can steer and brake." Read further here.
If you think of the teenage brain as a car, today's adolescents acquire an accelerator a long time before they can steer and brake.
     We might keep blaming the education system till the cows come home, but unless we step forth and make those changes in our household, let's not expect changes. My mom has always been a house-wife. I didn't expect her to teach me Physics or Maths. But, she thought me that cheating & stealing were punishable, Honesty would pay us in the long run & Integrity would get us respect. Karma was above everything else, and we would reap the rewards of our actions alone. It might have left me struggling with the Fourier series or Laws of Thermodynamics, but who cares? My morals are intact, I ponder whether my actions are right or wrong before stabbing someone twice in the neck, once in the stomach and thrice in the chest.
"We are taught you must blame your parents, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change you're the one who has got to change."

P.S: When today's parents provide memory pills to their children rather than a glass of milk, I consider myself lucky to be part of the earlier generation.

1 comment:

  1. Millions of students study under the same educational system. While they are also under pressure, they have not thought of this extreme step. One student thought of stabbing the teacher. Media has blown it out proportion and blamed the educational system.