Sunday, October 7, 2012

Educated - Real education or certificate education?

There are several questions in LIFE, which makes us feel very uneasy & not so comfortable. When I
became a Father, I wondered what is the right way of upbringing my son? What are the dos & do nots? Isn't it funny, that we have Soft & Technical Skills trainings in Professional life, we have a manual on how to install & operate electronic gadgets, but there is no Manual to refer to for the most important phase of our life, BEING A PARENT!

I remember many of those soft moments, filled with Love, Care & Affection & then those crazy moments of anger, frustration, losing my cool on not being able to handle my son adequately. I soon realized, my parenting methodology was trial & error, my knowledge was based on my thinking ability & my understanding which I inherited from my previous generation, in other words it is ‘My Way’, but not necessarily the ‘Right Way’. Quite frustrating isn’t it? We the average large section of the society seem to know about Economy, Climate Change, Politics, Movies, Cricket, TV Soaps, Property Rates, Fashion, Cars, Festivities & our Gods, yet we know so little about the most important role of our life Parenting & Child Psychology & Development.

As parents many of us lack the scientific knowledge of ‘Child Development', & in the urban scenario we have a busy lifestyle, we are working couples….thereby limiting our influence on the day to day process which shapes up our Child into a teenager & one fine day transformed into an adult. So to speak, for many of us, our Parenting outcome is ‘Luck By Chance’.

The grey areas of our country’s Educational Sector, keeps me introspecting further:
Most of the educational institutes are more focused on becoming coaching centers for cracking exams rather than preparing for life. 
On top, the approach of one size fits all in education, not taking into account each individual is different & offering career guidance leaves a big gap in the final outcome, by the time the child comes out of the education system. 
In a nutshell we cannot blindly outsource our children’s upbringing to the educational institutes & absolve ourselves from our parenting responsibilities.

I can speak for myself, I loved History, Philosophy, Archaeology, Teaching, Creative Writing, Theatre but never knew how to pursue them as a career, when I was in school. I followed what others thought I should do, because a Professional Degree is considered to be more secured & stands a better chance in the Job market, rather than MA in Philosophy or studying Archaeology. So today, here I am with a reasonable success & established career in the corporate world, but with graceful ageing now I have a realization may be, with proper guidance & encouragement to think ‘out of the box’ during my childhood years, my present may have been totally different. 
Well no complains & I know my parents are ‘Best in the World’ for me, but rationally speaking
they did their best in their own way, quite similar to what I am doing today as a parent.

By the way, the current Educational system has a very short history, just dating back to the emergence of Industrial Era, in the 19th Century. The bulk of the certifications, diplomas, degrees are batch production mode, to make supervisors & officers to run our Industrial Houses.

I came across a beautiful talk on TED, by Sir Ken Robinson (Author/Educator) on the "How our current Education System undermines Creativity". In this talk, he elaborates about the phenomenon of 'Academic Inflation'.

Think about it, during our Grandfather’s generation a Diploma would have fetched a good job, in our Dad’s generation a Bachelor’s Degree would be needed for an equivalent job, in our time we need a Masters Degree & by the time our children enter the job market PhD or Post Doc for a job will not be a far stretched nightmare. The Academic Inflation is inevitable, with the huge population explosion, impact of Technology, Business reallocation based on emerging markets, low cost centers, downsizing of Work force, cost cutting, dramatically changes the Business environment, the Degrees having no values & Employment rate shrinking in our ailing Global economy. (UNESCO – “In next 30 years, worldwide more number of Graduates will come out, than the entire Graduate population in the whole of history”).

When I see my son now, I can see a reflection of my childhood in him, full of potentials &
possibilities. Will he too follow the same pattern of ignorance, herd mentality & might live a life in full sync to his true self? It’s painful to pen down, but that probability is quite high,unless I as a parent, first unlearn, re-learn, introspect & partner with him, in this new light of conscious parenting.

Hence it is absolutely important that we help our children to recognise their true talent & potential, help them pursue their interests, we should not suppress their creativity, we should not force them to have a herd mentality & follow the safe mediocre path just because of our own fear & insecurities.

We really need to reassess our own mindset, our insecurities, our methodology & what should be our
Objectives & Motives behind upbringing & educating our children? Do we want them to be educated by Certificate or 'Truly Educated in preparation for Life’. Someone who grows up to be Truly Confident & Competent to take on the world, a world which will be far more complex, difficult, unstable, dynamic than our's. We may or may not be there, but our Children will live in that world & it is our responsibility to prepare them for those unseen times, through the right upbringing & holistic education.