Let the fish swim

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In this article, the writer argues that children who are extraordinarily creative usually find it difficult to comprehend traditional subjects like Science & Maths. But we, as a society, often judge them as duds & rather than recognise their talent, force them to study subjects that they are not meant for

I have never been an admirer of our country’s education system; for it judges you by your ability to cram for the semester exams. Real knowledge or values be damned. Percentage, competitive exams are all that matters. After all, we are constantly producing robots whose ultimate aim is to get a job with handsome pay. The more the pay, the successful the person is. So everyone, almost everyone, works with the same goal. It thus is no surprise to see engineers, even IIT guys, pursuing their masters in business administration. Anyone who doesn’t hold such dreams is hardly viewed with respect. Any deviation from the norm is seldom encouraged.

In such a scenario, do you think one stands a chance if one fails in exams? Chances are that the child would be labelled dud; or sent to a psychologist so that he/she does something constructive with his/her life (in other words, cope with studies).

Given our society, do you think one stands a chance if one fails in exams? Chances are that the child would be labelled dud; or sent to a psychologist 

I recently came across one such child who was being counseled as she had failed to score the passing marks in Maths and Science. The child was unable to figure out how she should study to clear her exams? A few metres away from her, a bunch of people including me were busy exercising. All of us were passive listeners to the conversation between the child and her counselor. While we were involved with our exercises, she was busy discussing her problems, until we switched to Dwichakrikasan asana (exercise involving cycling with both legs while lying down). That’s when she looked at us and remarked, ‘Mermaid cycling.’ For a moment, I was stunned. This innocent comment by the child, whose name I don’t know, spoke volumes about her ability.

She is extraordinarily gifted, blessed with an uncanny creativity. She needs to be molded in this arena so that she can do justice to her ability. For her, subjects like Maths and Science will always be difficult to comprehend – for that matter, anything that involves laws/rules would not be easy for her to understand. An unconventional mind is incapable of following the traditional path, for that’s not where their destination lies. But then, how many of us understand this? How does our education system do justice to such children? How do we ensure that mere percentage or marks do not become a benchmark to judge such children? How do we value their talent?

For her, subjects like Maths and Science will always be difficult to comprehend. An unconventional mind is incapable of following the traditional path, for that’s not where their destination lies

Her tale reminded me of the famous words of Albert Einstein, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” How I wish our society evolves in such a way that a fish is encouraged only to swim? How I wish we build a future where we accept that children who fail in traditional subjects may become Einstein in future, not necessarily in STEM? How I wish we learn to embrace such different-thinking children because history is witness to the fact that individuals who bring a change in the society are always the ones who dare to think different? How I wish…

Aditi Bhan is the co-founder of The Peeper Times

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