Thursday, 4 February 2010

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is power The students of a leading science school of Gujarat were having a discussion with a very famous Gujarati Scientist who had been awarded the Udyog Ratna Award by the President of India. He was giving satisfactory replies to all the curious students. Suddenly one student asked ‘Sir, what is your educational qualification?’ and his response was ‘Nothing. I’ve never gone to school in my entire life.’ The entire auditorium was taken aback by his answer because he was Ravjibhai Savliya who has made many scientific inventions like the electronic churning machine, the foot-pump, the mono-block flour maker, the agate grinding machine, the oil-less air compressor and many more. If we accumulate all the articles, discussion papers and debates on this topic, we can perhaps publish a full encyclopedia. But this small incident mentioned above is an answer to all debates on formal education v/s practical knowledge. Our education system, which was founded by the Britishers, is too rigid and does not encourage any new thoughts to develop. In addition to this, students have to study text books written and published by the government. These textbooks are written in a very unclear and vague language. A student cannot understand it even though he reads it repeatedly. Finally he has to learn everything by heart if he wants to obtain a good score. Exams are more of a memory test than test of knowledge. The student is not motivated to develop his own creativity and originality in exams because these creative ideas do not fall under the prescribed syllabus! Most of the school and colleges emphasize on bookish knowledge rather than practical knowledge. Such students may be board or university rankers but rarely, the future of the country. We cannot understand as to why when everyone is not satisfied with the present education system and consider it outdated, no one has still come forward to change it. Today, all national and multinational companies focus on abilities like presence of mind, emotional intelligence, decision making power, leadership qualities and so on. They have very little to do with a university gold medals. The education industry has to respond to this demand of the practical world. Why can’t we part with all text books? Let students have the freedom to refer to whichever book they like. Let them form their own views rather than flooding them with views of others. Open Book Examination is also a very good concept because it at least assures that students be familiar with a book. According to me, a smart person is not one who memorizes all that is written in books. Rather than one who knows which book to open at a particular time. We hardly find offices of lawyers, chartered accountants, and scientists without books. They are successful because they have the knack of referring the right book at the right time. Our present education system can only develop A Degree Holder Graduate but not a Thinker. The world is marching towards a Knowledge Driven Society and not towards a Degree Driven Society. We need to accept this fact. And perhaps because of this, we have institutions like Ahmedabad University, Nirma University and CEPT University which firmly believes Knowledge is Power.

(Reference - Safari)

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