Knowledge With Action

 | October 08,2010 05:26 pm IST

Past tense, present very tense. All we can look forward to is the future which is in the hands of young.

The exponential mushrooming of "Educational Institutions" led to institutions turn into factories whose primary, secondary and tertiary objective is production of educated (il)literates. The output is measured in quantity with total disregard to quality. The stakes are high. Nobody seems to be realizing that a silent concept is creeping into our education system, which lays emphasis on students developing or acquiring (dis)ability to have answers for expected questions in school / college examination, but they don't have an iota of clue for unexpected problems in real time situations in life.


Shall we fix the blame or the problem? Prudence yearns for latter. Before proceeding to do that, let us first analyze on whom to fix the blame.


Not only in alphabetical order but also in importance, the first ones to be blamed for this are Parents. The upbringing of children leaves a lot to be desired. A child who falls down while walking is not encouraged to get up on its own, instead the typical Indian mother's reaction would be to rush to the spot where the child has fallen, pick it up and console the weeping child by stamping the floor and/or in some weird cases even pour water on the floor where the child has fallen. Even though done out of utter affection and caring, this very act by mother, conveys an under lying message to the child that it is not responsible for actions committed by it and whatever happens to it is because of some thing else and not because of its inability to walk carefully and properly.


Improper training at that very young age resulted in not owning up the mistakes, which resultantly made an Indian a less confident human being than his western counterpart. The results of which are right in front of our eyes to see. We spend most of our productive time fixing the blame rather than fixing the problem. At least from now onwards, let us start fixing the problems.


Secondly, in order of importance are Teachers. They are acting as facilitators of learning rather than preceptors of knowledge. There is a concerted effort on the part of teachers to pour knowledge into the head of a student only to be poured out when required, as for example in examination hall, rather than absorption of knowledge into nervous system, which controls their behaviour. This brigade has managed to somehow sneak into educational institutions and made themselves, and thereby, the institutions, very busy in successful impartment of "actionless knowledge".


When you are walking on a railway track, knowledge tells you to move away from the track on seeing a train coming in that direction, but it is the knowledge, which went into the nervous system and gets converted into action that moves you away from the track. There are many actionless engineers who went on to become taxi cab drivers in Mumbai. Knowledge and action are inseperable if knowledge is induced through the nervous system.


Unfortunately, the saddest part of education in our country is that very few people and very very few institutions are realizing the importance of knowledge with action. Teachers must accept this reality and develop more passion for teaching and not cheating. The teacher should be a guide and not a guard.

If the purpose of education is to make people eligible for employment then many employments have silently proved that no formal education is needed. Employment is only a means in itself and not an end of every thing.


Being educated properly, correctly and responsibly should make us obligatory to give back something to our society. Educational institutions must put premium on three most important fundamental virtues of humanity, i.e., Honesty, Courage and Self respect, without which acquiring wealth makes living absolute rubbish and selfish.


The Heads of the educational institutions must be masters of teaching and not master of teachers. It is imperative for all concerned to see and ensure that learning is a journey and not a destination. The emphasis should be on questioning the answers rather than answering the questions, which does not require great talent and skill. The questing spirit which our forefathers had eventually led human beings to spread over the face of the earth, crossing deserts, mountains and oceans at enormous peril. Each plunge into the unknown was a move towards the kind of life we lead today. The present generation should not lose this spirit and all of us are obliged to see that this doesn't happen. So the education process should mean discovering ideas and not covering content. Let us all resolve today that, Our Goal - opened minds, not closed issues.


Our test lies in being and becoming, not remembering and reviewing.


Finally, a question which lingers in everybody's mind - "What is an educational Institution?"
My straight forward answer to that is - "Whatever we choose to make it."


Contributed by -
Hanumantha Rao Turlapati,
Manager - Administration,
Delhi Public School, Hyderabad.