Education and learning is something that many have said much about. Most of these are complex or vague. Consider the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s saying that education is ‘an ornament in prosperity’ and ‘a refuge in adversity’. There have been a great many attempts to explain this description, but none have quite succeeded in satisfying my curiosity. Alternatively, this is what the English essayist Joseph Addison has to say on education: Exactly what sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human being soul. This too, has a great many explanations and elaborations. But will it really tell us what education can be? Does it tell us why we need schooling? Not really, since the concept of the spirit is, till date, a shadowy area. So how can we start to comprehend what everyone claims is essential to life nowadays? To put it simply, education is a process of training our mind so that we can apply it in a field of our own choice: which is why we have education less a single seamless entity, but in general made up of various divisions: music education and learning, scientific and technological education, art education, even teacher education!
Schooling can be considered similar to picking and eating a fruit. Picking a particular fresh fruit on the tree is akin to choosing a field to get an education associated with. When we bite into it, we obtain our first taste of the subject. As we chew on the bitten part, we begin to understand its numerous aspects – the tastes, designs, intricacies and complexities of it — and when we are ready to move on to another portion, we swallow what we have got assimilated so far so that it can be used for further application. The tree we obtain the fruit from is the entire body of past thinkers’ teachings and the voice that tells us which fruit to choose is the interpreter of that knowledge: the particular teacher.
Throughout the lifelong course of training (no, it’s not like school or even college which ends after a set period of time), we get to know about things that always were, still are and always will be around us, waiting to be recognized and acknowledged. Light plays a central role in education – both literally and metaphorically – for visual inputs are the best learnt and without light – of the sun or electric – we would be missing out on an entire world of knowledge. In fact , this is where terms like ‘light of knowledge’, ‘throw light on the matter’, ‘kept within the dark’ and so on came from.
You might be considering, how can we narrow the unlimited field of knowledge to select what we will require or want to know? This is where the part on ‘training the mind’ is available in. The mind, as psychology tells us, is the centre of cognitive faculties which usually enables consciousness, thinking, perception and judgement. It is the kitchen for the info we acquire, where we can period and prepare the bits and pieces associated with data into comprehensive knowledge. Similar to good kitchen, the mind has infinite capabilities (which is often the reason for confusion among us youth when it comes to deciding on a particular field to ‘specialize in’ regarding higher education) and therefore needs to be been trained in order to make this choice clearer as every good chef needs to know what to or not to use for the dish. Unfortunately, the world we live in does not allow us to experiment with our own capabilities without being ostracized or decreased to penury. Thus the need for specialization. And thus the need for education.
Another apparent question would be: how can we get education? It’s easier to use metaphors and analogies when describing something like this particular, but a parallel in the real-world is sometimes hard to provide. One answer could be a school, college or university. There are also various other means to formally get education. Like home-schooling, distance learning etc . All of these provide us with a forum to exchange knowledge – where we can gain in addition to give. This is a guided and limited form of education, especially in the Indian situation. It is difficult to find a good school exactly where we can tailor our education based on our needs and interests. Frequently , we fail to avail of the opportunity even if it is within our reach. Peer pressure, our parents’ and elders’ desires, whims and wishes and social trends all play a role in influencing us. And this very often has an undesirable effect with the student being unable to cope with the contradictory inputs and buckling under the combined pressure. A good educational system where students may fulfil their desires and not bow to transient trends is necessary for proper development and realization of the full potential. An example of how it will help could be the famous English poet John Keats. Trained to become a doctor, Keats renounced his apothecary’s license to follow along with his desire, eventually creating a route for himself that no one else has quite been able to match.
Education and learning is not just a pathway to money, as is often considered nowadays. The truth that it provides a doorway to wealth is secondary. Education is first and foremost, I believe, a source of pleasure and pleasure that is also a way of enhancing our capabilities. It is a landing that provides us with infinite doorways to choose to continue into, each leading to a different yet interconnected walk of life (after all, how can we forget that will science and philosophy, despite being ‘at odds with one another’ go back beyond human comprehension? ).
The needs of the human in order to lead a productive and satisfactory lifetime have long been debated. Yet one particular point stands clear in this discussion: along with the basic necessities of foods, clothing and shelter, education is extremely necessary, especially in today’s material entire world. After all, without education, one can not gain employment and without employment, one cannot fulfil his/her basic requirements and is considered a failure by society.
The knowledge we gain through our guided education is definitely useful for life in the sense that they will be required to succeed in gaining and maintaining employment, a must to be accepted in society. Not having employment is enough to have you labelled very lazy, a failure, even weird or odd. And any employer will require you to definitely have a thorough knowledge of your field, which is easily available for the taking via education.
Education provides us with the endless canvas. How much of it all of us put into use is up to us. New fields seem to emerge everyday – parapsychology, particle physics, noetics, to name a few. Although relatively ‘unknown’ or even ‘obscure’, these have as much importance as the others we know of. The flood of engineers and accountants that India is facing appears to know no end. Easy cash is apparently all people seems to consider. They are becoming flat characters in the play of life: although provided names like ‘security of future’, lust for a fat wallet seems to be the only motivation.
On the other hand, there are vast amounts of people around the world who want to get a good education but are unable to due to poverty, geographical isolation, familial conditions or even ignorance. Like the Lady Law, training is blind to the faults or favours of those who take a sip from its pool.
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The people who are not able to are able to its banks because they are dragged back again by the brambles of shortcomings — economic, social or cultural — have to endure a life full of superstition, fear, hopelessness, helplessness, low income and exclusion. The literate but uneducated are considered equal to the illiterate as their life pretty much goes to waste materials (not everyone is the Old English poet Cædmon, after all). We must, nevertheless , keep in mind that this ‘education’ is totally career-oriented – a trait that has surfaced in the past decades.