Do our schools really educate?

A cursory look at our society convinces us that schools have grossly failed

EDUCATION

FAZL ILLAHI

I don’t remember what was done to me when I was in school. The way we turn up later is a reflection of how things would have been in school. A cursory look at our society convinces us that schools have grossly failed. They have not only failed in shaping character- perhaps that is a distant dream for them - but more importantly schools have carved out mediocre from gifted ones. This is no joke but a reality. The condition of schools will easily attest to this fact. Govt. schools are already out of race for reasons known to all, and private schools, which, as many see them mistakenly, are no places of education. Strangely enough, we have schools but education is missing. This fact is unknown to most of the population. They mistake school with the abode of education and enlightenment, but they can’t see reality behind four walls of our schools. It is normal for them as they have abundantly heard that school means future happiness insured. But, many will agree, they are mistaken. Our schools are sick, terribly. So, the question is:  Do schools rally educate? The answer, as we see, is no. And in our part of the world it becomes a bigger no.
Every day morning and afternoon we see fleets of school busses roaring past on the Srinagar roads and we get an impression that our future is being moulded well. Even non-educated grandparents show gleam in their faces on the sight of school going kids. Children are given affirmative directions regarding schools and their minds are bombarded with everything that impresses that school means knowledge, bright future, development, morality, happiness and all good. We are presuming all this for decades but the presumptions have turned wrong today.
You may say, perhaps what is wrong with schools? Don’t they teach Language, Maths, Sciences and all that is necessary in life? Yes, they seem to do. We see children becoming chatter boxes of sorts. They can reproduce exactly what has been taught, not learned. Children are being fed with information without understanding. They memorize tables, they mug up grammar rules, they learn “by heart” definitions exactly to the word, they remember dates and names of people, and they exactly reproduce answers as given even in maths classes. The stuff of this kind sums up schooling standards of the valley as children are made to hear, obey, submit but not to think, analyse and question. Perhaps, this is the reason why our children just pass entrance exams to various courses only: KAS, NET, IAS and all become fit into the existing system. But it is not surprising that they never become theorists, philosophers, reformers and the people who have the capacity to change the societies. If you are expecting this from your school you have put money on the wrong horse. Schools can’t produce them. Our schools will reduce a potential reformer to a retailer, philosopher to a trader and thinker to a blinker. I assure you they are masters in this. And to undertake this reductionist endeavour our schools misuse all resources to perform this miscarriage of education. If you feel this an exaggeration then, at least, you will agree, they are accomplishing wrong through the right means. Again, I am sure your philosopher and reformer will come from self education only--a never been to school child.
Now you may ask: if this is the case then what to do? I am sure you have two options only: either to go for a radical reform in school system or find alternative to school itself.

The author teaches at Govt. College of Education, Srinagar. He can be mailed at: illahifazl@gmail.com 

Lastupdate on : Wed, 31 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 31 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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