Open Page

Whither education

We deny children choice at every stage of their life — from the courses they choose to the career they pursue.

We deny children choice at every stage of their life — from the courses they choose to the career they pursue.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Greater use of technology, with proliferating online content and classes, has made education less of a collective pursuit

Nowadays, we all seem to be in a hurry to jump to the last page of the book, missing the joy of searching for answers or the frustration of not knowing. The assumed fact that all we need to know lies behind a search engine or perhaps in the comments section has made us more prone to look for binaries in the real world. We do not realise that there can be multiple answers, diverse perspectives and contradictory truths for the same problem.

While emerging technologies — social media, microblogging sites or AI-driven advertising — can be rightfully blamed for creating individualised narratives vindicating one’s personal stand, it is essential to realise that technology does not operate in a vacuum. Our willingness to readily accept messages that does not require self-reflection has fuelled the growth of these technologies. An increasingly passive audience is, however, largely a product of our education system.

We have a flourishing ecosystem — schools, curriculum and textbooks, coaching institutions and invested parents — that seeks to maximise the instrumental value of education. Unfortunately, we deny children choice at every stage of their life — from the courses they choose to the career they pursue. Greater use of technology, with proliferating online content and classes, has made education less of a collective pursuit. We learn in silos — from receiving individualised content to personalised assessment. Our linear, aim-bound and isolated pursuit of knowledge has made us less critical and reflective. We are perhaps so used to seeing things the way we are trained to look at, that we do not appreciate or respect people who make different choices. Instead of taking a nuanced stand that straddles the middle path, we search for only black and white.

We are probably at a stage where consensus has become irrelevant and only a distorted majority opinion is considered legitimate. Instead of jointly navigating the maze of socio-political problems, we pride ourselves on knowing that we belong to the “right side”.

tanvisoni71@gmail.com

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 3:49:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/whither-education/article31069612.ece

Next Story