The Essence and True Purpose of Education

EDUCATION

by By Rooman Raza Qureshi – aka RRQ

“Give me a fish and I’ll eat for a day, teach me to fish and I’ll eat for a lifetime.”

This Chinese maxim, in my humble opinion, demonstrates the genuine purpose of educating which is to educate the mind to think deeply and be curious. However, these days mainstream education seems to have completely capsized with most learners functioning more like gadgets to record their learning. Sadly they seem to be completely unaware of the very basic objective of their lessons.

The minds of these students seem to have been cruelly forced into considering education as nothing more than a set of useless activities designed to give them knowledge to pass examinations.

  • Where is the appreciation of why they are studying at all?
  • Where is the deep thought and independent thinking?
  • Do our students have the time and opportunity to develop any curiosity or is information simply thrown at them piecemeal?

In short, the prime reason or objective behind any lesson is not to fill up the notebooks with definitions, examples and answers but for students to understand the purpose of the lesson and where the imparted knowledge can take them.

The inevitable question that keeps surfacing in my tiny mind is, “Who should be held responsible for making the above objective clear to the students.

Is it teachers, parents, or those heading or owning the educational institutions all across the country?

And moreover how many people are aware of the cancer in our educational establishments and how many really care?

Misleading the Innocent Minds

Prior to discovering the answer to this question, let us first have a cursory look at the catastrophic damage that has been caused directly or indirectly to the cognitive faculties and the futures of many of our innocent students over the years in my country of Pakistan.

Completely unaware of the very basic objective behind receiving their lessons, our students are lead to believe that education is all about appearing at their learning centers, greeting their teachers, listening to the lectures, noting things down, memorizing texts towards the examination time and receiving report cards and using them as a means of stepping up to the next level of education. I strongly feel we are letting our students down badly.

The Responsible Ones

In the light of the first two paragraphs of this piece, I feel that every single person involved in decision making in any capacity – whether it is as the coordinator, vice-principal, the principal or the ones serving as regional or national heads in any educational system who should take responsiblity. It is for them to find a remedy to this academic sickness which is preventing our students from securing good careers and wasting hard earned parental cash.

For instance, immediately after the forever-to-blame innocent teacher has raised his concerns to these decision-makers about the reasons a student fails to perform well in class, they must provide space for the educator to freely present his best solutions to the problems.

In these circumstances, what normally happens is that they use their overbearing authority, preferring their own carved-in-stone words over a teacher’s, when it is the teacher who knows the student better and indeed their solutions are normally short-term or temporary in the form of extra classes, extra home assignments, extra worksheets, et cetera, that would still make no difference to a student’s inability to understand “the prime reason or objective” behind education.

Recognizing and Helping the Learners Respect the True Purpose of Education

Secondly, the ever-growing lust of parents for well-decorated report cards carrying high marks or other certificates is equally instrumental in the decline of our educational system. In this case, these parents and those decision-makers are collectively aiding the growth of the oedema inside the cranium of our educational system.

I would like to ask both parties to explain, if they could, in what manner these good results or high marks are going to guarantee a fruitful line of work or future for the students.

  • What exactly is it that they want for their children?
  • Aren’t they destroying the kids themselves and then dumping it all on teachers?

The solution is simple; parents and decision-makers will need to join hands with teachers and other educators. This duo must step forward to form a trio by supporting teachers and by acknowledging what the essence of education really is, as well as assisting our students in recognizing the same for a better and more secure future.