Is our Society laying the right stones?

It’s been many centuries since India and its traditions have been recognized all across the globe. Along came the strict classifications across various contexts that effectively divided the mass. The slaves as well as independent India, both, have witnessed a marked differentiation of power among its classes. Initially the names of the socially recognized groups were Brahmans, Shudras, Rajas, etc… and gradually with independence they became to be called the farmers, the politicians, or the middle class, etc… and more recently, the rich and the poor. Societies modernized and changes were made, but the privileged ones have always been the main beneficiaries of the amenities.

The rich, the powerful, always had the preference on issues of employment, social status, respect and priority in public congregations. The ones who lacked the resources were subjected to further deprivation and it worsened their woes. Today, the state is such that the rich are significantly rich and the poor are visibly so. People from various strata of the society, viz, farmers, workmen, struggle to find jobs that last enough to feed themselves and their entire families. Stories of suicides and oppression are a commonplace. In a nation of majority poors, they have huge obstacles to overcome, and chances of accomplishing them are too slim. Hardly any children from the financially backward class are able to complete primary studies, let alone higher education.

Added to these widespread concerns are the pressures imposed by the social system. Education today is merely a means to achieve other pleasures in life. Monetary gains are a common parameter to measure the efficiency of a particular stream of education. The need for pleasure has gained importance in deciding the kind of education youngsters pursue. Disciplines of study that fetch high salaries are the ones that have maximum attention and applicant strength. Engineering is one such victim that has faced heavy inputs in the past few years. Businesses have realized this trend and have made it a point to incorporate this necessity of employees in their corporate structures. Thus, we have enormous salary packages waiting for the young graduates. These future prospects demand high skills from the aspirants leading to a high budget, streamlined form of education. Very few of us are actually able to afford this. So is this form of distribution of money helping the nation’s cause to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor? Is such cost of education manageable for the majority of population? These questions are inherently rhetorical.

The process of education itself awaits reforms. The key metric that exists in this field is the performance of the students. Academic results serve as the yardstick to judge the abilities of a student. The need to do well and stand out results in unbelievably high marks by some students that raise the bar. Near cent percent marks are becoming common in the 10th and 12th exams. These figures might be commendable but there is a question worth asking: How many children are able to get such marks?

Students with the ability to grasp the offered type of education are the ones who shine. Average guys form the masses and the weak ones remain to be bullied or looked down upon. They’re written off each time they under perform, sometimes by their parents, sometimes by their peers & most often by society. Is this the correct way to judge a student? Where are the fundamentals that campaign for innovation and free thinking for a student? Is the available set of lessons adequate to cover all aspects of one’s creativity? Doesn’t a prescribed set of syllabus restrict a child’s imagination and scientific temper.

Innovation and discoveries have always been the result of wild thoughts. Great discoverers have always have always taken the pains to be unorthodox. Unconventional means bear the brunt of social out casting and the preachers of new ideas have to be bold to go against the masses.

There are other aspects that are hampered by the present education pattern. Creativity is bordered by the known limits. Young minds neither have the liberty nor the encouragements to experiment with the unknown. Einstein and Newton were failures in their schools. Much of their early lives were bruised by humiliation and academic failures. But they had the grit to go against the tide and test their minds. How many of us today have the freedom to choose our life?

Social stigmas and other responsibilities are the foremost causes of turning down such options. People who aren’t the brilliant ones in their academics have to work through the ground to find their footing. Those who are very low on their educational quotient have no measures to try other avenues, those which might not be as rewarding as the other in-vogue ones.

Does education guarantee a bright future for all equally? How do societal norms help those in distress? How can we progress if the majority has either to forcefully adopt the hit prospects or suffer failures since they chose to be daring and unconventional?

Arindam Chakraborty

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