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Monday, January 28, 2013

Misplaced focus of education

Such astonishing claims for ICT were made by the article 'Smart schools and globalisation' (Jan 20) that one wonders how Shakespeare, Goethe and Tagore managed without it! It may help in gaining 'knowledge' but there was no mention of 'wisdom'. To make a country which people want to live in rather than flee, education has to do more than teach pupils to be 'smart' and ignore the greater calling to be 'a good human being'? Of course, every student needs to learn how to 'face the challenge of globalisation' but it may not help to know how to access the good stuff which can lead to friendship and understanding but also what is idiotic, corrupting and destructive and can lead to vicious enmity and prejudice.

What point is there in being 'smart' if we do not also learn how to discern right from wrong and truth from nonsense? 'Smart schools ensure quality education and a congenial teaching learning environment' - really? Some of us are indebted to those who educated us wonderfully because they were gifted as teachers - something that competence in mere technology cannot transmit? How dare he sneer at the education of the 'disadvantaged and poorer segments of society' when the servants carrying the clubs of the English upper classes, educated at such schools as Eton and Harrow, on the golf courses of the Scotland of Victorian times, could converse with them in Greek and Latin having attended a 'mere' village school run by a 'poor' Scottish schoolmaster who, like the best village schoolteachers across the world, was passionately devoted to true education, and gave his pupils a sense of vocation and skills that lifted them above their station in life!

All over the world, some of the most wicked bankers, the most venial politicians, the most cruel factory owners, the most devious businessmen, the most notorious lawyers dispensing injustice in return for bribes - and the countless men and women happily paid by such - are those with nice degrees from prestigious universities.

Without moral content, education just turns devils into clever devils.

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