Friday, January 22, 2010

Purpose of education

Most of us, as children, went to school as a matter of routine. We did not think then of alternative methods of learning or even about the purpose of learning. We learnt subjects which were in the curriculum whether or not they would have any future relevance in our lives. After schooling, we chose streams of learning based on our aptitude, constraints etc. Those courses which resulted in great career opportunities and high paying jobs turns out to be the most popular. Come to think of it, education today is more for earning rather than for learning.

I would like to submit that education should help us to learn how to live and not just about how to make a living. Unfortunately, this aspect is grossly neglected in most career oriented courses today. This results in people competing fiercely for high paying positions. We also see unscrupulous methods widely employed by people both in careers as well as professions. People who call themselves as professionals do not seem to think that they need to show integrity in their approach.

For example, we see a nexus between pharma companies, doctors and medical centers whereby doctors prescribe unnecessary tests or medication for their patients who trust them. Perhaps these doctors have spent a lot of money and time to get their degrees and are in a hurry to recover it. Likewise, we see nexus between policemen, politicians, underworld, legal practitioners, media, judiciary etc. If we look around, we find a dearth of basic honesty and are unable to decide whom to trust.

The purpose of education should be to help us understand who we are, what our real goal is and what we need to do to reach there. Career is not the main purpose of our lives. It is only something that we do while we are in this earth to contribute to the sustenance of the society. There is an urgent need for academics to discuss and revamp our education system.

A good education system should lay adequate emphasis on inculcating values into our lives. Integrity should become the foundation on which we build our lives and careers. If the basic platform of integrity is missing, our careers, society and everything will become shaky and will crumble at the slightest of shocks or tremors. A good education system should help in building character and making us spiritual.

Do you agree?