Education – True meaning

Published on January 7, 2007

 ”That alone will be a true and living education which helps to bring out to full advantage, makes ready for the full purpose and scope of human life all that is in the individual man, and which at the same time helps him to enter into his right relation with the life, mind and soul of the people to which he belongs and with that great total life, mind and soul of humanity of which he himself is a unit and his people or nation a living, a separate yet  inseparable member.”

-sri Aurobindo

Learning is a process that continues through life. It may be through a method of formal instructions or informal one where one observes, tries out ways and then learns. The conventional dictionary meaning of education refers to systematic instruction for the development of character and mental prowess. Education is important not only for the propagation of knowledge, but it is also necessary for the formation of a vibrant, responsive and healthy personality. Education is seen to perform several roles for a human being. The important ones bring socialization, ability to understand ones in real life situations, character-building, imparting of skill sets and quite obviously communication information. Education in its correct sense, is vital for every individual, for the human is like clay; it will get impression by the incidents, lessons and circumstances that are available to it. A conscious attempt to give the mind a positive, responsible and reasonable frame from the early age is what stands at the core of true education.

While literacy is a very straightforward, clinical concept, education is a termed loaded with meaning. It carries the heavy burden of values with it. While literacy may only equip a person with a basic skill, education is what goes into making a wholesome personality. It is largely about being a responsible citizen, about taking a call when the question is about ethics, leading an examplary life, even when it is about conveying good values to the family, working for greater good, inspiring confidence, sincerity, patriotism, responsiveness in people around. Education can be a mass movement to transform the society that is rid with the problem of moving two steps back, even after taking one forward.

Statistics indicate that the economy is booming and that the growth engine has been spurred like never before. However, it so happens that the face and the state of the nation does not change much? This is largely because there is a lack of percolation of benefits that education and awakening can bring in its wake. A right approach to educating a generation or a particular set of individuals will not mark a full stop. Undoubtedly, the winds of change will reach people and regions that require it. A responsible and conscientious citizen cannot be selfish and that’s what makes the difference. A nation’s growth is perpetuated along with that of individuals.

The current figures are greatly skewed because of specific sectors like manufacturing and services .They do not project a true image of reality. The awakening to advancements must reach the backwaters; the mental outlook must witness the revolution and avenues for balanced growth. All that is not possible unless and until education makes dent. It is the bedrock of all the progress and development that the makers of any nation envisage. The people at the helm of affairs -teachers and educationists- must heed to the challenges ahead. Times have changed demanding a different approach ingenious ways to roster awakening of mind have to be devised in such a manner that fretters of rigidity and adherence to old ways are broken. If the mind is open and willing to invite and experiment with change, progress is round the corner.

Conventional education must be supplemented and enriched with strong value orientation. Goals of equality, brotherhood, liberty and social justice must be furthered. Until these concepts are given a promotion in the mental hierarchy, they are not likely to manifest in society in the way one would ideally  wish they were. Education is not merely about acquisition of academic knowledge as one is not simply intended to be a repository of academic information (unless one chooses to, of course).

Education is in a way meant to equip people with skills and knowledge. There is missing link where education has not been correlated with productivity. This has only led to a vast number of generalists, armed with degrees and doctorates, yet unemployed. Clearly, the futility of it does not need any more elaboration. The requirement designing more realistic, need-based and aptitude-based curriculums is being felt. Being a stick in the mud cannot solve any purpose, as a system of instruction incapable of equipping a person with requisite skills to meet challenges of life can only leave him/her frustrated.


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