“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school!” – Albert Einstein
Let’s talk about the education system today. Let’s take a moment to think about what it is like and whether it deserves a change. The classical system has courses followed by exams at the end of the term to test knowledge. My complaints about the system are coherent with those of many others. Basically, two issues – one, exams are mostly just fact based and two, exams are thrice a year at the most and it is difficult to remember anything for 4 months, especially when it is mere facts. If you read a book, do you remember the colour of the t-shirt worn by the protagonist (even though some authors may mention that too in the name of details!) or do you remember the gist of the plot?
I work with scientists and I would like to think they are intelligent people. Yet, most of them are people who do not value facts. In the present day, facts are a ‘touch’ away on most gadgets and there isn’t a reason to remember any of those. Spending days in a library looking for a book that might contain the information you need are long gone. Logic and reasoning, on the other hand, are essentials. And those things stay with you all your life. Now if the brightest minds of the country (still talking about the scientists) are people who themselves cannot remember any facts, then where did the huge population of ‘know-it-alls’ from schools go? Where did the textbook knowledge take them?
There are some who argue saying that there has to be a way of judging students because there has to be a way of assessing who learnt from a class and who didn’t. But exams as they are conducted today may not be the best way of arriving at the judgement. We need to get rid of fact-based questions and focus more on logic and reasoning. Published work can be used as to extract comments and criticism from students and that could be a way of judging whether they have grasped the essence of a subject. Real life scenarios can be used as problems in a question paper.
Education is about teaching how to self-learn and not really about filling open receptive minds with facts around us. Subjects need to be taught, yes, but they need to be taught with perspective. And that perspective is the difference between a good and a great teacher.
The point of this post is to prompt discussion. There are several other issues I can think of that are flawed with this system. If you can think of a few, list them in the comment section to add some perspective to this post 🙂