Sunday, August 5, 2012

The struggle of the educated minds - A certified life

More than a year after I introduced the struggle of the educated minds, things have hardly changed. (To understand what follows, you need to read that first). And what I said then holds true, personally, even more so than I had imagined while penning them, and the following, down.

We are lucky vertebrates. And some of us do have the proverbial spine to stand for and against things and dreams in life. And to such an 'upright' man, education is the backbone. Or so we are told. But truth be told, education has not been in a condition as worse as it is in now. I'm a direct descendent of that wretched system, most of the policy makers and rulers of which do not have that spine to do what is right. I'll stop commenting on it politically here, for it will spoil the intent of the post, which is the personal experiences of having been in the system that guarantees success (what is that?) only based on certificates.

What is 'right knowledge' and how much of it is essential (The Zeroth Flaw) has never been more important than it is now, considering that the world is in deep chaos, economies depressed everywhere, people left jobless because the policy makers do not know where, and how, to create jobs where they are needed, etc. This point of view, largely generalized, yet true, is just a pointer to the mess we are in. But to make the less fortunate (read 'the less educated' as the literates like to identify others) understand, or believe, that they are in for good in the future, the rulers of the system create an easy step; that of creating certificates for the less fortunate to make them learn and understand how deep a mess we are in, and how they can help if they are certified to be on par with the rulers. What better way than to make them feel that they are more educated if they are certified!

That the primary purpose of a certificate/certification is one of only affiliation is hardly realized these days. Certifications have come to define the very admission into an apparently erudite circle, making the pursuit of it a necessary condition for work than a means of  value addition. And when peer pressure is next only to the fear of death when it comes to defining survival and success in my generation, it is not difficult to see why everyone wants to be certified. And so the tables turn on our less fortunate to distinguish themselves, apparently, by means of getting certified from some institution or association which was the birth of a stupid lot of insecure, terrified educationalists who rightly realized that they would be overthrown if they did not show authority through an institution or association. How successful have they been!

The conflict of certification with The Zeroth Flaw arises exactly here. What is right knowledge and how much of it is essential? How do the 'erudite' and authorities of the institutions and associations decide what has to be known in a specific field of study to ascertain competence and authority? Is knowledge not, to some extent, intuitive? Why do we develop certain 'areas of interest' right from an early age? Has it not got something to do with the way the brains are designed and wired? If let to develop on those lines, will we not achieve competence, unadulterated? Will knowledge, then, not mature into wisdom? After all, knowledge is what we believe is right; and wisdom is what we realize is true! And eventually, what is of more importance, a belief or a realization?! The questions keep coming!

Unfortunately, we are all too narrowed and mechanized to pose these questions, for the answers to these do not come about unless the established paths are challenged. Instead what we seek are easier, commonly followed, short-sighted goals. That of gaining entry into an already established lot, seeking recognition for work which is un-original, etc.

I cannot hep quoting Sir Russell here: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible"

More to come on the struggles.



Balaji said...

Nice read. :-)
For the life of me, I can't figure out how such thoughts pop up in your top floor. :P

Sri said...

Well said Rajaji. The educational system in my opinion is no better in the developed countries except for the hype.It is more true in developing countries and even more so in under developed countries. But one good thing even in such a situation is, it has helped people like you any many others to think about remedies. That is a blessing in disguise!
It is not objective and it is not need based. Every one is asked to learn very little about everything. It does not help to develop the analytical aspect of the brain. So what is the remody. We used to wonder our children were smarter than us at the same age and same class. Now I look at their children and friends grand children, they know lot more than what my children new at the same age. So there are opportunities outside the class room today to learn, which we missed in our days.So while we are all concerned about the detoriarating educational system in this competetive worl, we all have to recognize and accept today learing is not confied to class room. Actually with the expansion of social media, more learning takes palce outside the class room. Even in our case the degree was necessary to get a job. What we learn and do every day in our work is a new learning. Especially, when an engineer( mechanical, electrical, civil etc) finally settles in IT and writes Java and C++ codes for his living, what percentage of the theories and lab work he learnt is being used in his work? We can not ask like that. The reason is, besides learning his discipline in the four years at college, he has developed an analytical brain and that is what helps him to tackle new areas in the work. I believe, I learn everyday at work new things in my own field, in management and the life's experience teaches me everyday new lessons. So Education actually lies beyond the four walls. If we understand that we become better everyday. My point is there is no simple solution in improving the educational system as the needs of students from different family and social environment are different and how can we creat one single system, for every one in country like ours with so much of diversity.I have no answer for that. My answer is that we all have come out of this chaos and we are able to think in clear terms.