A fish climbing a tree

Greater Kashmir

From India being the second most populous country in the world to unemployment hub of the world; this fact has arguably evoked a lot of debates, dramas and not to mention vote-bank politics. So the question is, having so much manpower out here, why are we still not able to compete with the rest of the world? Why the reason that we should have been on top of world has made us a country of ever drooping GDP?

The answer is hidden in the fact that India’s demography, which includes more than half of its population below the age of twenty five and more than 60% of its population below thirty five, instead of becoming a tool to overpower rest of the countries has become a loophole out there. The fact that from having less than 30 universities in 1947 to 650+ universities in 2020 elates most of us, forgetting the quality of graduates and post-graduates we end up producing. Of course, expansion was a priority back at that time, but coming this far has made us forget about the other E – Excellence. Amongst all these colleges and universities, none of them has created a deep impact globally, yet. Even after having bone-breaking exams, ruthless curriculum and harsh teaching methodologies, we have formed well trained minds but not educated ones. In the world of Google and Wikipedia, we don’t need facts, we need creativity and innovation. But to our dismay we have become a nation which produces lions that perform in the circus by the command of their masters and are “pseudo kings’ of the jungle” instead of wolves who are known for their wit and cleverness.

On further confronting the plight of Indian education system, comes the chain that we have created of poor teachers who produce even poorer students. Those poor students then on entering the noble profession of teaching, become trainers and not educators. The fact that how meagre percentage of our annual GDP goes into the educational sector is alarming; how concerted steps need to be taken to make a significant difference. We are simply deteriorating our prestigious institutes because of our inability to grant them funds.

On taking this issue on a global level, I believe that the situation is still comparatively a lot better. But then, the homework still needs to be done. The time wasted in writing useless cursive letters, could be judiciously utilized in grooming the young ones. We need to broaden our concept of talents and capabilities. If being well versed with calculus is ability, then fluent poetry surely is an undeniable ability, as well. We need to make it safe for students to fail an exam. We can afford Fs for Mathematics but not for life; pun intended! The fact that we have overvalued some vocations over the others has created an imbalance; limiting kids to their syllabus-books and not of their respective choices. Kids have no time to seek what they want to pursue as they are too busy running after what would look like a fancy degree from an even fancier college. We need to start calling people smart, who are genuinely smart; without them being smart at any socially acceptable subject. The harsh reality that the first picture that comes to our mind when we hear the word “talented” is a kid who is good at physics or mathematics is the very manifestation of how we have created a society of abject failures. Our notion of productive people in society is limited to the perception of their report cards; which is vague and irrational. We need all of them, the smart ones, the hardworking ones, the intelligent ones, the leaders, the managers, the analytical thinkers and the artists and so on. Nature has sufficient space for accommodating all sorts of people, but not our narrow minds. The way we push everyone to fall into one category has saturated the very particular category leaving no room for the actual ones who belong there and thus, leaving all the other categories vacant. Much more problematic than these vacant categories is the amount of dreams they end up in breaking. We have too many people who just settled for things and gave up upon their dreams, because our shallow society had no room for their aspirations. I wrap it up by quoting Sir Albert Einstein:

“Everybody is a genius, but if we judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” and thus I question all of you, that if world’s best physicist would never come with bizarre a perception like ours, why do we?