The month of September witnessed two important days connected to education, viz Teachers’ Day and the International Literacy Day. To recognise and value the contributions of teachers, we celebrate Teachers' Day all over the world, with India celebrating it on September 5 every year. Emphasising the importance of literacy in living a fulfilling life, we also celebrate literacy day throughout the world.
While we do, no doubt, continue to value education, in the past few years, we have been witnessing a wave of bold defiance against ‘education’, particularly from the common people with many taking pride in giving it up. The logic is that education does not guarantee a job, and therefore, dedicating time in making money from an early age is considered wise, or they have found a way to make money without struggling for education which is considered a one-way route to making an income.
More than acquiring knowledge or putting consideration to self-growth, it is obtaining degrees as a means to jobs that motivates people to get enrolled themselves in schools and colleges.
Because we see education as means to an end, we get frustrated when we do not get the end result i.e. jobs. With all the years of dedication and expenditures, parents expect their wards to bring the results and when they are not able to, the pressure is on the wards.
While it is a challenge of the state to provide a means of livelihood to people according to their level of achievements or qualifications, with many factors such as poverty, corruption, lack of resources being the case, this continued distaste in education is concerning. And with it, there is also an increasing trend among the youths specially, of weighing success with money power.
At present, the rise of certain groups of people who openly ridicule teachers and the teaching profession itself is being witnessed. The widespread unemployment among the so-called ‘educated youths’ can be one factor behind this. This is not surprising given the relationship people believe and emphasize to exist between education and financial success.
Another factor is the trend of buying a post in a teaching job. When this noble profession is auctioned and sold off to the highest bidder, regardless of their qualification, mistrust and defiance to those in the profession and the privileged sections are the end results.
Concerning education and its purposes, one thing that requires some contemplation is the definition of an educated person. Is he a professor who sits in a university or a minister who lives in large bungalows? An agricultural professor who lectures you in the classrooms can still be wrong and insensitive to the problems farmers face while a farmer who works in the field may have discovered ways to find a sustainable solution to their problems.
The definition of education and that of educated one is not necessarily what our conventional norms follow. Therefore, there is dire need to change the common misperceptions towards the exam oriented education and its goals for an individual seeking education.
Education does not guarantee anyone a job but opens people to their surroundings and makes them see the reality. When we give up education as a show of defiance, it is a great loss as the masses can be paralysed and manipulated by the lies of the ones who have better knowledge and power over them. Thus, more than giving up education as a way of defiance against the privileged groups, it should be the demand and pressure from the masses to make education more accessible and seize it.
One’s financial success to live a better life or acquiring a better paying job from others do not matter when the future is in threat with any changing political scenario, external or internal threat, and climate change which are taking place but one may be blissfully ignorant of.
When the masses are truly educated, it is only then that we will all have a chance to determine and shape the course of our future and not the other way around. Also, no amount of money one earns can give that sense of pride and dignity of having a deeper understanding of one's self or surroundings and the maturity that comes with inner growth through expansion of knowledge and learning which education can give you.
(The views expressed are personal)