‘The great aim of education is not knowledge but action,’ says English philosopher Herbert Spencer. Have you ever listened to the song ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry? Did you know she was a drop-out form high school? Imagine, if she had taken the path of the five SSC students who took their own life for their failure.
My point here is not to motivate those young lives who’ve failed. There’re lots of motivational quotes and stories available in internet. My intention is to establish that, if education system isn’t efficient enough to detect your talent, this doesn’t mean you lack talent. Mere inability to copping with education system doesn’t determine you as talentless.
If you don’t believe me, you can Google ‘Theory of multiple intelligence’ by Howard Gardner. Though this theory is criticised in several aspects, Howard talks about total nine forms of intelligence. He says, in most education system language and logical-mathematical intelligence is assayed, and other forms like visual- spatial (your that friend who loves puzzle-solving or carry a sketchbook all the time), bodily- kinesthetic (that person who impresses everyone with dancing) are also worth evaluation. There’s a type in Howard’ theory called musical- rhythmic. What I learnt from attending a programme of Pratul Mukhopadhyay, it seems like he belongs to this category of musical rhythmic. I would name Kafil Ahmed, lyricist, poet and singer for his natural talent in music. Neither of them completed formal education.
I believe other more types of intelligence are in way to be discovered in future.
You may say, in today’s Bangladesh A+ is everything, if you don’t have A+, you’re doomed. You can also say Katy Perry is not from Bangladesh where school drop outs are treated harshly and this is not the time of Rabindranath Tagore when school palano (escaping school) had some place in literature. I mean, learning was not truly an institutional concern.
In our education system, we are burdened with rules, books and more coaching and guidebooks. An everyday student spends her/his day from school, college to coaching centres. There is no room to breathe, think, and reflect. Instead, its all about attending school, maintaining grade.
You may ask who’s gonna give you a job if you don’t have satisfactory CGPA? Well, do you know about a school in Ladakh in Indian Himalayas founded by Sonam Wanchuk? In this school, the condition for admission is, you’ve to a fail in public examination. Many who graduated from this school became journalist, film-maker and social-worker but failed their public examination. Failing in examination doesn’t make anyone talentless, unwillingness to nurture talent does. If you work on your talent, I earnestly believe you will make it in life. I wish that student would live today who took his life after failing 3 semesters at Jahangirnagar University! It aches my heart to see how common it is in Bangladesh that student takes life because of their failure to cope with the education regime in Bangladesh.
In that school in Ladakh, it is more like an education reform movement than a school, students learn not by reading, rather by doing. They learn management and government through running an elected government in their school. They are not burdened with information; instead, they publish campus newspaper and radio. Kindness and compassion is earned by meditation in school. Not only do they read science, they even apply it by making a solar heated mud building which has temperature of 15degree when temperature outside is below freezing. They’ve turned the dessert green by making glaciers artificially, just by using gravity, not any electricity or machine!
This school made an example that failed students are eligible enough to do something groundbreaking. Unemployment doesn’t come from education; rather it is the consequence of the economic policy of a country.
I am not discouraging anyone to have good grades. Neither I am against formal education system. I just think that our education system doesn’t encourage reading outside the syllabus. From my experience, outside knowledge actually increases interest in our curriculum. Some people are against guide books, because those books limit student’s knowledge. My opinion is, before you ban guide book, make sure system is ready to broaden student’s knowledge. We need an education that is not solely grade driven, a system that has creative space.
A student when enters a school system, s/he seems like enters into a mechanical life instead of system of learning — waking up at dawn, carrying school bag to school, then coaching, returning home, house tutor and home-work. There are other problems in our system as well. First of all, there is no standardise education system for school students. Not only students enter a mechanical life, they also enter a herirachical system in which there three types of education — Bangla and English version, Madrasa education, and British system or English medium system. Madrasa education system is not compatible enough to march with others, they lack technical portions. Then, there is the corruption around board examinations. It is a widely reported phenomenon that question paper gets leaked in Bangladesh —from medical college admission exams to Primary School Certificate exam! Why would a class five student want to cheat? Actually they don’t, their parents do, because A+ is everything here.
Mark Twain says, ‘I’ve never let interfere my schooling with my education.’ He surely is true, or else how would he write marvellous fictions like ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?’ Einstein says, ‘Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.’ This too statements from a literary giant and canonical figure of modern science proves that we need a creative space in education, it cannot be all about doing great in formal exams. Education system was not perfect for them, but this couldn’t impede their talents. Tareque Masud, even after starting education in Madrasa has managed to make films like ‘Matir moyna’ (The clay bird), or ‘Runway.’
The conclusion I want to draw from this discussion is that education system needs to change its modus operandi, instead of working as a machine like factory of producing GPA 5 students; it should be a space of nurturing diverse talent and producing good, socially responsible citizen for future.