Systems of education definitely need to improve. A total revolution is needed in the field of education. Today you don’t need to by heart the multiplication tables. If the same method of education is followed in our schools and colleges, it is a waste of time. We spend hours and hours learning by rote — rehearsing the Iliads and Shakespeares. This is outdated English and this is thrust on your children. Understanding Shakespeare by heart and knowing it by memory is a big drain on the brain. By following this old methodology of education, this country is wasting all the intellectual capacity and brain potential.
In this computer age, one can know all about history on just a click. Children spend hours and hours learning when the Mutiny happened, when Macaulay came to India and what reforms he carried out. Obsolete principles, theories, systems of education and methodology of transmitting knowledge need to undergo a change.
By the time a child comes to college, he or she is already worn out with so much pressure. He carries the books like a donkey, on his back -- huge loads of books on irrelevant subjects, totally irrelevant to them. This system needs to undergo a change and we need to harness a child’s capacity to digest more, understand more.
A good system of education must instill self-esteem and creativity, and stop copying from others. We need to have self-esteem and appreciate what we have, what we can do. If you take confidence away from a person, there is nothing he or she can do. We have to instill confidence in education, broaden the vision and deepen the roots. The education system shouldn’t make people fanatics. People become such narrow-minded fanatics because they glorify the past all the time. Religious fundamentalism is because people glorify only the past. And on the other hand, communism promises you a golden future and says the past is all rubbish. I feel both of them are not right.
In today’s education system, there is either communalism or communism. Both are hampering the growth of science. The scientific mind needs to be free from inhibition. The right education must harness a mind that is free, not obsessed with anything and neither angry about the past nor angry about the future.
The need of the hour is for a system of education where the roots are deep and there are fresh shoots on the tree -- a combination of the newness and the ancientness.
Sadly, we have done nothing to increase the capacity of our consciousness. At the same time there is a bombardment of information from visual and audio-visual media, movies and video games. This puts such a pressure on one’s mind. It would only turn children schizophrenic and attention deficiency syndrome will come up, because their brains cannot digest the information and reproduce it.
The methodology of education needs to change to eliminate a lot of the unwanted information. Creative methods of teaching will help children build their personalities. Creative sports and ancient techniques such as Avadhani, meditation, yoga and pranayams will go a long way. Dance and music should also be introduced again. Service is another good part of education; go and do some service in some place; that is good education. All facets of human life should be attended to and we can start that from a very young age. The key is to harness the ancient and be innovative with the modern.
© The Art of Living Foundation