Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kal, Aaj aur Kal

Today is International Literacy Day! Since 1966, it is celebrated throughout the world to highlight the importance of literacy. No doubt, the world is getting more literate day by day due to continuous efforts of organisations like UNESCO, the governments of different countries and various other non government organisations. And this significant improvement in world literacy has impacted the literacy rate in our country also. As of today, almost three fourth of Indian population is literate, and thus is friendly with 'letters'.

But numbers is not what excite me as far as literacy and education is concerned. The knowledge of 'letters' and the ability to read and write should add some value to the people. Education should not merely reduce to the transfer of information in classrooms, rather it should serve its purpose of imparting knowledge to the people, making them understand the difference between good and bad and imparting them the wisdom to go for the 'right' way leaving behind the wrong one.

Having said that,  I feel writing about two conversations which happened during the last week. The first one was with my flat mate Manish who teaches Physics at Oasis Institute. He was talking about how these days students have stopped putting in efforts into studies. "Aaj kal k bachchhe fight hi nahi maarna chahte questions solve karne k liye. Nahi bana to bhi thik hai, chhod do." However, he attributed this attitude of students towards removal of examination system from the education system due to which students don't feel the need to perform. and hence, they become lazy towards studies.

When I took up this discussion with Khandu, he said that this train was clearly visible in his classes as well. But unlike Manish, he doesn't attribute it to removal of exams. Khandu, on the other hand, contributes this attitude of students towards studies to the ease with which they get everything they ask for from their parents. Because of this relatively easy life they live, as compared to the students fifteen or twenty years back, they don't feel the importance of giving in proper efforts to get things.

I still remember the speech, on the importance of education in shaping my life and providing me freedom to do whatever I want in life, given to me by my teachers, and sometimes parents, whenever I showed slackness in studies. And yes, I didn't get everything I wanted as a kid. And sometimes I had to wait for my demands being fulfilled by parents. It was not like instantaneous fulfillment of demands which parents do today. And probably because getting everything I wanted as a kid was not easy, I learnt to put up a good fight.

We need strong social engineering in this regard to make sure that today's kids, when they grow up tomorrow, are also fighters and are capable and confident enough of achieving everything they want from life.