Education should become a joyful choice, not a compulsive extruder through which every child has to come out in a certain shape. Right now, unfortunately, our education systems have not built this. Although for millennia, education was conducted in such a way in India that it presented a possibility for the evolution and blossoming of the individual, over the last few centuries, aberrations have happened to that culture.
Particularly, two hundred years ago, the British created a more organised aberration and tried to educate Indians the way they wanted. They found that Indians were very good with mathematics and languages and decided they will make good clerks and accountants to staff their whole enterprise of imperialism.
In this education process, the most important thing has been obedience, not intelligence or ingenuity. I am glad, though it took so much time, that we are making changes to the system at least now.The most significant aspect of India’s educational policy change is that education has moved from rote learning to a more creative way of learning, where children can think and apply their minds. Another important change is that children can take a break in their education and come back. Otherwise, in India, a break in your education meant you could never get back to school again. Now, this change will relieve many children who are severely pressured to a point of suicide.
I am very appreciative of the changes that have happened but I am not satisfied. I would have liked more drastic changes.I have been pitching for, especially in higher education, releasing government control over what is taught in private schools. The state has to be active and vigilant about protecting children from being misguided, but beyond that, private schools must be allowed to teach as they wish.
Another important change that must happen is to liberate children from the tyranny of education the way it is now. For instance, if a child goes to the farm with his father and learns how to farm, this is called “child labor” and the father can be arrested. There is a difference between exploiting and educating the child. Farming requires what is like an apprenticeship – it takes many years for a child to imbibe this skill of transforming mud into food. This is so for many other crafts.
Yes, we should have schooling to produce accountants, engineers, and medical professionals. I am not questioning that. But school is its own form of tyrannical labor – this moment you tell me to learn this language, and I'm just beginning to read and understand, when a bell is rung, tong! and suddenly I have to learn mathematics; next bell, I have to learn chemistry; and the next bell, someone comes to tell me about moral education.This is not schooling but a factory designed to cater to the economic engine that is running in the world.
I know the changes that I am asking for are easier said than done. Given the scale of our education machinery, a sudden change may make it collapse. For many schools to absorb these policy changes and create the necessary teachers and infrastructure, it may take several years. All I am saying is that we must continue to change; every few years, more relaxations should happen in a calibrated manner.
It must be understood that what is taught in the school is not an absolute. A school must provide an ambience for the child to interact with their own age group and grow by exposure; above all, to develop a thirst for knowing something new every day. This is all a school should do. In today's world, where information is available everywhere, a school should shift away from propagating information to becoming an inspirational place, which builds beautiful human beings.Educated people should become the most responsible and conscious population on the planet. In educatingfuture generations, this is what we should aim towards – conscious humans and, in turn, a conscious planet.
(Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, and a New York Times bestselling author. Sadhguru has been conferred the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2017, the highest annual civilian award, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service. Views expressed are personal.)
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine