15 Long years of toil in school and five more in college. Finally, today, I am a Post Graduate in English Literature and have a lucrative job in hand.
Of the 23 years I have walked this earth, I’ve already spent two decades of my life to get educated. At the end of it, if I pause to ask myself if I am educated, what would my answer be?
Yes, definitely, I am academically qualified. With a good job and good money in hand, I am well settled in life too. But is that all what education means?
The very expression ‘well educated’ usually brings to mind the image of a person with a handful of degrees, the best job one can hope for and very deep pockets. But if you think about it, education extends far beyond the boundaries of job, money or academic qualifications in a person’s life.
To be educated means to be civilised.
Alongside academics, education is supposed to instil values, morals and virtues in each child. It should broaden the minds of men and encourage them to be tolerant of another person’s views. In the very least, an educated person should have basic civic sense.
If the people of India were civilised, would this be the state of our country?
Why go anywhere else for examples? Just look around you, the litter on the roadsides, the garbage piled up at every corner of the roads, the ponds, parks, rivers, bus stations, railway stations. Which public place is spared from this blatant lack of civic sense? Not even the empty private compound down the lane.
Shifting the onus on the government or the corporation every time the issue of garbage disposal arises is pointless. We the people are responsible for our motherland.
If Indians don’t care for India, who else should?
Ingredients like morals, values, virtues and civilisation sets an educated schoolgirl apart from a street dwelling counterpart. If education has failed to educate us, then what is the difference between the educated and the uncouth?
The educational institutions of our nation have the responsibility of moulding each child into responsible, civilised citizens of the nation. Imagine what the India of tomorrow would be like if each of them, by the end of their formal education gets groomed into civilised human beings. How much better a place the society would be if the youth are trained to have an open mind where they can consider their counterparts as comrades with no prejudices towards anybody about anything. How many lives can be saved if each student is compulsorily trained in basic First-Aid measures? Even prevalent social evils, including corruption, can be curbed if the mindset of the people were to change.
Attitudes change with the right exposure, awareness and knowledge.
Making students responsible individuals means they will be responsible not only in their own lives but also towards the society, the people, the nation and above all to the environment.
As today’s youth races ahead at breakneck speed in a highly competitive world, where do they have the time to think of anything or anyone apart from themselves and their lives. Such a narrow minded approach would never have formed if they had grown up getting to understand and feel for the world they live in. By the end of their formal education, they should be ingrained with that humanitarian and patriotic mindset which will make them do their bit for the world they live in.
The people of India lack in this attitude which is why the world says,” Indians do well, India does not”. For any integrated development to take place in any society, the attitudes of the people must change.
With the right attitude in place, the whole nation will work together in unity – keeping aside all selfish motives and differences – for a better society, a better nation. In such an India, each citizen, every educated individual will make it a point to play his part well for the simple reason that he loves his nation and feels responsible for the society that created him.
(If education meant civilisation, where would Kerala stand as the state with the highest literacy rates?)