Sunday 15 April 2007


From the Industrial Age we have now entered the Information Age. Education is very important today, but is the education given in school adequate to face the real world and its challenges? The job requirements today actually demand much more than just textbook knowledge.
A few decades back one could get school education and maybe a college degree and get a secure job and work in the same company throughout life. After retirement there was pension to take care of old age. While entering a job one knew exactly what benefits one would get for the whole job tenure and after retirement.
Today it is altogether a different story. The phrase ‘job security’ no longer exists. Formal education is not enough. Job switching is a continuous process. Companies are no more responsible for providing retirement benefits. Let me rather put it this way; you’d have to find how you will sustain yourself throughout life.
In short, good grades no more guarantee good jobs. Therefore it is time to realize this fact and take active steps. The problem does have a solution.
The solution can definitely be applied at all levels, but it would have maximum effect if begun at a very low level. Let me explain. What I mean by levels is mental maturity, or to simplify it I would consider age groups. It is easier to apply the grooming process at a younger age than an older age. This does not take away anything from the older people, but we will definitely agree that the older we get the more difficult it gets to change our beliefs and our way of thinking. Younger minds can be moulded better and easier.
Although the employment scenario is changing fast, our education system has still remained with old ideas and patterns. We know about educational breakthroughs and required changes, but for some reason or the other innovation in formal education does not seem to take place. Moreover I believe there are three types of teachers in our system. One teaches diligently and takes care of students and tries to bring about positive changes, one works diligently against any kind of change, and the third one does not bother about anything other than their own job security and money. The first type of teacher has now become as rare as precious gems.
So what do we do now? Should we lose all hope of any improvement and let pressure and stress engulf us? Should we just watch more and more students committing suicide as they are unable to keep up to expectations? I don’t think we can afford to give up. We absolutely should not give up. There is always a solution to every problem. First we need to study the problem thoroughly and the solution will automatically appear.
For example, we might be worried about not finding diligent, caring teachers. But then I have always believed that parents are the most important teachers. Children learn most by observing their parents.
Coming back to the problem of education not being adequate we will find that the solution lies in the mind. That is the most powerful thing God has given us. If we look into the word ‘education’ we will see that it comes from a Latin word ‘educare’, which means ‘to draw out’. But our system of ‘education’ believes in putting knowledge ‘in’. What we rather need to do is draw the genius ‘out’ of the mind for utilization. Now the question arises, “How do we do that?” I would again say, the answer lies in the mind itself!
Let us see how the education system affects the students. I am not talking about the details, I am concerned with the basics. Teachers punish pupils for making mistakes. Now, if you are afraid of making mistakes you will not want to do anything for fear of getting punished. There is too much emphasis on the importance of being right and the fear of being wrong. This fear prevents people from taking active steps. Here is where we begin with our solution. Parents play a big role in encouraging their children and prevent this unwanted fear to creep in. we need to inculcate a positive attitude towards education. This is the first step towards improvement.
It is my personal belief that there are two important factors in becoming successful. Human Relations Skills and Communication Skills give the winning edge to each individual. There are very few people who actually realise the importance of these two skills, let alone possess them!
The solution that we were discussing lies in these two skills – Human Relations Skills and Communication Skills. These give us the ‘right attitude’. Let me elaborate. With a positive attitude we can work our minds in the right direction which in turn will carve the way to success and happiness. On the same lines, communicating with people and building human relations skills gets incorporated into our positive attitude. So, how do we build a positive attitude?
Let us first study the prevalent ‘negativeness’ and why it is absolutely necessary to get rid of all ‘minuses’ and fill in all the ‘pluses’.
How often do we hear comments such as ‘I can’t do it’, ‘That’s impossible!’, ‘You have to kill yourself to do that’, ‘Forget it, its not my cup of tea’, ‘I can’t afford that car’? Very often indeed! Even these are familiar comments, ‘If you don’t study you will fail’, ‘Its going to rain today, the day will be a waste’, ‘I am not good enough’, ‘I am too poor!’
People spend too much time in speaking negative statements. Their self-perception is that of a weak, incapable, good-for-nothing person. This is where the downfall begins. But let’s cut the negative. What is most important to get rid of such negative thinking? Just one thing – BELIEF, belief in yourself, and belief in your Creator.
The power of belief is tremendous. When we believe we cannot, we are unable, just because we don’t try when we believe we cannot. On the other hand, if we use the power of ‘I Can!’ we try to find possibilities to do it. I will give you an example. I am a person who belongs to a middle-class family. I look at a small family car and I want to buy it. I realise I do not have the financial strength to buy the car. What do I immediately say to myself? I say ‘I can’t afford it’. This is what all of us say, no matter what the product is. If we don’t have the money we simply put it off by saying, ‘I can’t afford it’. This is the magic of words. The moment you say ‘I can’t’ you have a resigned feeling and drop the idea, but deep within you regret, and this regret causes that little invisible sorrow and pain and stress. Enough of this!
Let us use the magic of words differently. Let us try. The same person looks at the same car and realises that he does not have the money to buy it. But instead of resigning to the problem he tries to find a solution. So he asks himself, ‘How can I afford it?’ Think about this for a moment. You look at a product you want to buy and you don’t have the money, and ask yourself the question, ‘How can I afford it?’
What happens? The mind starts working, trying to find out possibilities. This is the difference between negative and positive. The results are contrasting. This is where we need to begin. We need to change our self-perception and start believing that we can achieve what we want, and with God by our side we can only win!
Before I move on, I must mention that school and college education is important. This is the basic need. The fundamental learning skills have to be built. But in order to succeed in life today the other piece of the puzzle is required. Education needs to be complete.
The missing piece of the puzzle that I am talking about is within us. Galileo had remarked, “You cannot teach a person anything, you can only help him find it within himself”. That is ‘educare’, as in Latin, which, as I have mentioned previously, means ‘to draw out’. Developing attitude is all about polishing and fine tuning the skills which are already present within us. Courage, confidence, kindness, empathy, belief, faith, name it and you have it within you. You only have to draw it out and then you will be able to utilize these qualities to achieve the highest in life.

1 comment:

sparkling-river said...

A very thought provoking piece from a wonderful thought leader!