I was hosting a small gathering for teenagers in an Indian school and I began with my first question, “What do you want to become when you finish your studies?”. Almost everyone put their hands up immediately and the first one could not wait to say, “I want to be a doctor”.
I elaborated, ” How many of you want to be a Doctor?” . Many hands were up in the air. My next question “Why do you want to be a doctor?” reduced the number of hands . A student was quick to reply,” Because I want to save the life of people”. Ah! I said, “You can become a firefighter too to save the lives of the people, why only doctor?” It seemed like someone had patted their brains. I continued, “Can anyone give me a reason why he wants to be a doctor?”. After a thoughtful pause, someone tried, “Because I love to be a doctor”. I did not let him go. I went deeper inside his mind, “Why do you love to be a doctor?”. The next pause was longer and no one was willing to give an answer this time. I hurled a question again, “Who wants to become an IT engineer”? This time nobody wanted to challenge the question.
In the next five to six seminars of mine with teenagers, I was met with same pause. Thirty years ago, if someone had asked me this question, I would have said, “I want to become a civil engineer”. But nobody had ever stretched the question with a reason as to why I wanted to be an engineer, rather they congratulated me for my high ambition. If asked, even I would have been unable to reason. I am sure my school teachers too would have had the same ambition of becoming a Doctor or an Engineer during their days but without any justified reason.
Our education is only a career oriented, with fame, wealth and wedding prospective adding more flavor to it. Many people chase a profession merely on the basis of money, status or on someone’s recommendation. Later on after getting money, fame and status, they are still dissatisfied with their career.
Our education is only a career oriented, with fame, wealth and wedding prospective adding more flavor to it.
Most of the school students are choosing careers without knowing why they want to. Little do the schooling system or parents realise that a career or a profession is a decision that the child has to abide for a lifetime. There are thousands around us who are dragging their profession in spite of good salaries. They chose that profession because they liked it, now they drag because they don’t like it. There are thousands around us who have jumped from a good salaried job to another profession with lesser money and still remained unhappy.
Today, our education system teaches students to run corporate houses. They need executives, salesmen and marketeers, managers to meet the target and raise share market index. That is why Business administration, computer sciences and advertising amongst others are being inserted in the school’s syllabus at a very young age.
Colleges, careers and even coaching classes have become status symbols in the society .The impact is strenuous and demoralizing. Take this example : Students getting good grades in academics and medals in sports are showered with lot of attention. but practically what about those who are in large numbers and fall in the category of ‘ they tried their best’. There is no motivation for them. If your child has won a 100 meters sprint race, then don’t forget that there were ten others in the tracks who lost the race. In that case, how does one justify the victory or console the losers.
Education is supposed to open up our minds and teach us to reason
In fact, education is supposed to open up our minds and teach us to reason but we see that there are other sources of teaching who dominate the thinking pattern of people. Now, media is a teacher, which does not allow us to reason. That’s why I say, along with academics of conventional education, if we focus on revealed knowledge too, it would produce amazing results in the society.
Nisaar Nadiadwala is a writing a book “Successfully Failed” . This is an excerpt from his book. He has written 500 plus notes can be read on his Facebook Account.