The one way by which any grown up adult begins to feel smug and superior is by complaining about the education scenario. Just approach any elder on the street and demand his or her opinion on the present-day schools and colleges, he or she will naturally break out into an impassioned rhetoric on the education sector, which has thrown up loony individuals who walk up to total strangers and demand their views on schools and colleges.
But any field of activity that had Arjun Singh as the Minister must consider itself fortunate that it has managed to survive at all. Arjun Singh’s biggest achievement as an HRD Minister, especially in the last few days of his office, must surely have been the fact that he managed to recall his own name without the help of any aide. He was a Minister whose chosen mode of transport was an emergency ambulance with an entourage that comprised doctors and nurses from every branch that modern medical field has known. And with a civilizational sagacity and wisdom of several thousand years, the nation handed over the task of manning the country’s education and charting the course for the youths to such a man.
Without putting too fine a point on it, Arjun Singh, in his current state when the most arduous task that he can perform in a day is to lift a handful of food to his mouth, is primed for the post of Governor, a job in which the incumbents are known to work out their calories through heavy yawning. The new man at the HRD Ministry, Kapil Sibal, looks promising, in that his companions are not from the medical profession, and also doesn’t require a fork lift-like contraption to lift him into his seat. Kapil Sibal, as you can see from his remaining grey hairs, is old and cannot be expected to have a good opinion on the education sector. He has spoken openly against board exams on the grounds they are traumatic to the students.
But Sibal has touched just the tip of the iceberg; there is a huge glacier of agony that students everywhere want to see the end of.
And we begin with:
History, as it does on all things, is not clear as to how this modern-day blight came into being. At schools, it must have been thought up by a hard-pressed teacher as an extreme measure of revenge on parents for letting their children loose on them. Spend a hour or two with a gaggle of young children, you will actually be forced to resort to things that are far more cruel.
Teachers, with an unconcern and laxness that comes only with experience, ensure that project works have no earthly connection with every-day living. ‘Advanced internet usage among Amazon tribes that have not learned to speak or write’ is understandably an extremely attractive topic for possible project work.
At colleges, like most things, it has evolved as a tradition, to amplify universe’s ultimate truth: All life is a pointless exercise.
At the school level, when they say ‘students educational project’, they obviously mean it for the parents. For, there is not even a single instance of any project work having been attempted by the student concerned. Students just announce it in the house that such and such project has been requisitioned by the school. They generally bring up the matter to the parents on the night of a Sunday, when most shops are closed, and the deadline is for the Monday morning. Children revel in such extreme brinkmanship, which on a bad day can lead to heart attacks to parent. Perhaps that may be the idea.
If Kapil Sibal can ensure the abolition of educational project works, he would have done a signal service in the removal of hideous neighbourhood ‘fancy stories’, which alone stand to benefit from these project works. Teachers can still take it out on the parents through the, albeit less cruel, method of gas chambers.
Schools and Colleges
From the days of gurukulams, where students interned with the family of the mentor to eventually emerge as complete unfeeling sages with no faith in human relationship and humanity itself, to schools and colleges, which give a strong reason for mushrooming multiplexes and malls, education has changed beyond recognition. In fact, it has transformed so much that nobody knows what it is.
For the management of colleges and schools, a major part of education involves the onerous social obligation of collecting fees and thinking up newer ways to extract from parents more money, which otherwise may be unwisely spent on needless pursuits like emergency medical treatment or setting up business establishments.
For teachers and professors, education is all about the valuable service of carefully passing on the torture that they endured as students. But for the tireless efforts of teachers and lecturers, morning shows in local cinema halls will not get to see even a single patron.
For students, it is a wonderful and exciting journey in their evolution, when they begin to understand and acquire new and specialized skills that will stand them in good stead in wasting their parents’ hard-earned money.
Schools and colleges also are the places where the students learn the art of writing crass lines as graffiti, a prowess that helps to survive in the modern technological world where they litter many forums on the internet with gross anonymous comments.
For parents, schools and colleges, in combination, help their life-long dream to see their children to eventually reach a stage when they can boldly and bravely face the gaze of the world despite the fact that they are sporting the most hideous of dresses, which is what students are called to wear on their graduation day. Were it not for the graduation-day robes, college dropout rates would be far lesser in this country.
But all things concerned, despite the merits (as mentioned above), colleges and schools deserve to be abolished, if only for the fact there wouldn’t be scope for any more Arjun Singhs to screw things up further for the nation.
And by abolishing schools and colleges, Kapil Sibal would be abolishing education itself, which is the root cause of modern evils, the chief of which should be this column.
Students, be it in school or college, can be trusted to be unanimous on one view, as to who cause them the maximum trauma: parents. There is no bigger source of trouble for them than their parents.
Kapil Sibal, if he has the goodness of the future generation in his heart, must abolish parents.
And I can already see my daughter nodding in approval.
(This is the weekly column for my publication)