Monday, 27 August 2012

The Link


The sci - fi me was having a rather good time enjoying the discovery channel when I stumbled upon a curious looking and sounding program called "The Link" and hence my title. The show focuses on how seemingly unrelated discoveries or inventions are related and how one invention let to another and finally to the technological marvels that today we take for granted. The National Geographic talk about the show such:


"Technology is all around us. From computers to cameras, cell phones to sat navs – our dependence on technology has never been greater. But how many of us ever stop to question how these inventions actually came about? Challenging the commonly held view, that they appear fully formed, out of nowhere, The Link reveals the surprising origins of some of the most important technological breakthroughs, of the modern world."



graduates after convocationSo, why am I talking so much about a random show I happened to watch in National Geographic? The reason is simple. This is what is missing from today's educational system the worldwide. Lets take India's case for example, from the days we start learning we focus on passing exams and mugging up most things. It is a very selected few who go into inquiring about why it came to be. The fact is that education has reduced to more of studying and less of learning. How many of us, the educated mass as we call are able to explain why some certain things came to be and how they influence people, society and humanity at large. Take the case of fire or agriculture or the production line, do we know why it came to be, how it came to be or what it did to the society then? Isn't that what education was supposed to impart to us?


What I am trying to say is that at some time along the way we have lost sight of our goal and has gone astray. We don't need to overhaul our entire system, that's is not possible and even if its possible its not feasible. Our educators are good, our institutions are equipped enough. I don't mean at any point that all our schools are in surplus of facilities but I do believe that our schools have just enough infrastructure to create a thinking and capable tomorrow. What we really need is a change in the systems and its priorities. The priorities should move away from scoring marks and more on understanding concepts.


When one starts to speak about de-prioritizing marks people usually come to conclusions that exams are the villain and they should be taken to the guillotine. In fact that will only cost us dearly, exams should be there otherwise how will we evaluate our children, how will we ensure their progress? What we need are exams that evaluate children's understanding of a subject and their ability to correlate and infer. We need exams that will ensure understanding and model our syllabus and curricular to attain this aim. This does not involve a major over haul of anything but a few fundamentals of our educational system. 



teaching our children


Let our children be Einsteins and newtons, let them make and create and innovate tomorrow, let them know that they alone have the ability and the power in their hands to craft tomorrows dreams. Let them understand that their dreams are not simply dreams but visions for meeting tomorrows challenges head on, solve then and conquer them. When they understand this and cherish this revelation then only we will have completed our responsibility towards our children and completed our link to the next generation.


"Do watch "The Link" on National Geographic if you can its a great show to watch if you are a technological junkie or just a curious homo sapien!"