The word education is very much in use these days; almost everybody has to say something about it. The schools- whether Government or private- are packed with students. So are the colleges. But despite this increasing desire for education, hardly anyone knows as to what education really is. Has the education we have so far received done us any good? If yes, is it proportionate to the labour and money spent on it? Education is not an aim in itself but, rather, an instrument to learn different ways of living our lives, and that type of education alone can be called real education. According to me no one can truly claim that the present system of education in our schools and colleges produces this result. Education must help to build one’s own sound character. On the opposite, there are numerous examples of young people having lost the good qualities of their character in the schools.
I think that as long as there is no concordance between the schools and homes of the students, they will continue to suffer in both ways. What we learn at school and colleges is totally incompatible with what we learn at home. Hence the life of school is exact opposite of the life at home.
Our parents ignore to know what is taught at school; nor do they care about it. The labour spent on studies is useless, merely it has to be gone through for the sake of the final exam, and once it is over what was learnt is forgotten as quickly as possible. One of the major issues of these problem is the medium of education. I think that the fault lies on our receiving education through the medium of English. In India it takes about 12 years to obtain the matriculation certificate. But the knowledge and the lessons of life acquired over this long period is pitifully inadequate! Besides we also do not strive to integrate this knowledge with the work we have to do.
The present system of education has created a gulf between us and our families. To our parents, to others in our families, to our women, and to our society- with whom we live for the greater part of our time- our school education has become like hidden wealth. So is the present system of education is wrong?
By the medium of instruction being English, the burden on the students’ brain has doubled. It has destroyed their power of imagination- the power to create and to invent. The whole of our time is taken up in learning the pronunciation and the idiom of a foreign tongue.
We should start doing the procedure as they do in Russia, South Africa and Japan. In these countries, a few selected people acquire a higher knowledge of English, translate whatever is worth having into their own language- in an easier form- and thus save the people from the useless labour of themselves having to learn English.
The best education is education through mother tongue. When we receive education through our own language, our relations with people at home will take on a different character. Today, we cannot make our wives real life-companions. They have very little knowledge of what we do outside. In the same way our parents have no idea of what we learn at school. The knowledge we get at school does not seep down to others, not even to the members of our families, because we cannot impart to them what we learn in English.
We depend for our livelihood on passing examinations. This results in great harm to the people. We forget that a degree is useful only for those who want to go in for Government service, but the edifice of the life of the People is not going to be raised on the few who seek Government service. We see that people are able to earn money quite well even without going into Government service. When those who are almost illiterate can become millionaires by their intelligence and shrewdness, there is no reason why the educated cannot do the same. If the educated would only give up their fear, they can certainly prove to be at least as able as the illiterate. If this lure of the degree could be shaken off, any number of private schools could be started and run according to the plan charted by us. No Government can provide fully for all the education which the people need.