Hierarchy and gender bias in certain subjects confuses students
A pleasant feeling is ephemeral. So I have learnt since the announcement of the CBSE board results. The ecstasy of scoring above 95 per cent in Humanities immediately gave in to the harsh realisation of the hierarchy and gender bias of the subjects.
Apparently, Economics is at the top of the graded hierarchy followed by Political Science and History, with Psychology and Philosophy scraping at the bottom of the scale (at least as much as I could figure). A high score inevitably necessitates opting for Economics Honours — considered the ‘brahman’ of all subjects.
Even to consider opting for an ‘unworthy’ subject like Philosophy Honours would amount to questioning the sanctity of the subject hierarchy. What would the careerists say? How would people react? Would it be imprudent on my part? Feeling oppressed and confused, I sometimes have an impossible wish of exchanging my percentage with a lower one to get rid of the pressure. But unlike the caste system, the subject-hierarchy system does not allow for conversion. Your board marks more or less decide the stream you go into.
It is tough to imagine as to what would have happened had Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Plato, Simone de Beauvoir and many other great philosophers and psychologists been a part of the Indian education system as it is today.
Random comparison of two different subjects is nothing but a futile act. Since our lives revolve around comparisons — in achievements, grades, salaries and qualifications, we have fallaciously assumed it to be the explanation for everything. However, it only causes a feeling of hostility and dissent among students with the subjects concerned and subsequently to the feeling of alienation, i.e. where work (in this case studying) is done for later achievements and does not hold an intrinsic value or motivation in itself.
Talking about illogically created gender bias in subjects, B.A. Philosophy Honours is offered in three co-ed colleges in Delhi University as compared to 10 women’s colleges. For B.A Psychology Honours, the ratio is even lower with just one co-ed college offering the subject as opposed to seven women’s colleges.
Does this mean that girls have an inherent disposition to do well in these subjects? History of Philosophy and Psychology actually shows us that they have been predominantly male-dominated subjects! The debate on Psychology and Philosophy being women oriented subjects brings to my mind a similar debate of cooking being a women’s activity, while again history and experience shows us that men, too, have made great chefs.
Students are supposed to be the future movers and shakers of society, the maker of laws, the curer of diseases and the leaders of tomorrow. I doubt that they would be able to move or shake anything if such a system persists. My enumeration of the hypocrisy of the education system will be in vain if it stays restricted to just a theoretical debate. It is a practical problem, requiring measured actions with practical solutions.