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Education and literacy

“Literacy”, the ability to read and write, is often equated with “education”, but is not the same. Literacy is a step to education. For me, education is the complete development of a person in terms of knowledge, sensibility and most important, behaviour in different situations.

Let us take an example of a person who knows very well to read and write. Say, his entire schooling has been done in an English medium school. He is very fluent in English. Thus, we can say that he is literate. But can we say that he is well educated? I doubt. I can say he is educated only if his knowledge and information gained is reflected in his actions. If a person uses foul language and abusive words, then he can’t be considered an educated person. Action of an educated person is imbued with a sense of calm and serenity.

Literacy can be forgotten but education cannot. Frederick W. Robertson said, “Instruction ends in the school term, but education ends only with life.”

Let us take an example of a chef. Many people know how to cook but not all of them are called chefs. Similarly, in case of driving, many people knows the functionality and working of all parts of the vehicle, say brake, clutch, accelerator, steering and many more, but that does not make them a perfect driver. To become a driver, one must have good practice.

Literacy cannot make a person wise but education can. An educated man can only bring around changes in society and contribute to the development of society, which leads to the development of the nation. In India, almost all the literate persons knows the saying “Honesty is the best policy”. But the question arises whether all of them practise it in their life and daily activities. I think each one of us knows the answer to this question. The answer is ‘no’. Very few people practice it in reality, though everyone knows it. We deliberately try to eschew the fact and this is something which differentiates between an educated mind and a literate mind.

We can think of an educated India if we have a literate India. Literacy is a step towards education and if one fails in this basic step then it becomes difficult to be educated. A person who is literate in a language is considered illiterate when he goes to a foreign land having another language but his behaviour will reflect his educated mind everywhere.

To make people and children educated, we must take care of the teaching methodology. We must have efficient and eminent teachers who can educate the young generations as the mind once enlightened cannot become dark. Nowadays, we learn for grades. We follow discrimination among the children on the basis of their academic grades. The students of different capabilities must be mixed together in a proper order without discrimination so that they can learn from each other. Everybody has his or her own capability and interest. We must encourage them to excel in the fields in which they desire to grow. They must be provided with the option to develop themselves. If we judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree then we are making a fool of us only. While teaching a child, both parents and teachers, should keep in their mind the quote of Margaret Mead: “Child must be taught how to think and not what to think.”

The goal of education is not necessarily the mastery of a subject but mastery of a person.

I would like to end by Joseph Addison’s quote: “What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.”

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 8:11:36 PM |

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