What is Education?

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As a parent of two growing children, I sometimes wonder “What kind of education do I want for my kids?” That very moment, I am forced to think about academics, as a priority. Yes, the Indian middle class value system in me says that.

But then I pause and give it a little thought. What is real education? Dictionary describes it as,”The process of giving or receiving meaningful information in a systematic manner.” I search further but there is no mention that this information has to be only through the medium of big and heavily studded books. Nowhere is it stated that education will be received only when a student is able to write pages and pages of notes, rattled off by a learned person. It also doesn’t project the series of trophies or medals as the benchmark for declaring the attainment of education.

Switching my role – As a school counsellor, I come across number of students, some in distress; some under the pressure of making career choices while some battling emotional disturbances. As many are the number of students, so are their varied problems. This compels me to think whether we, as a society, are bringing up a generation which is tormented, confused and anxious.

As Indian parents, we are certainly more than being over protective. We do not let our children taste defeat and then our society, suddenly subjects them to a big, ruthless competitive world when they grow up

As Indian parents, we are certainly more than being over protective. We are indulgent when we want to be and start restricting the kids when we feel they have had enough luxury. We not only show them the way, we also carry them in our lap all along. We make sure they do not feel the peer pressure, so we serve them everything on a platter before they ask.

Certain organisations do not have competitions nowadays. They are called activities; especially in the primary wings. Instead of just one child, all children are given awards/recognition. The authorities do not want any child to feel less capable. But by doing this, are we not diminishing the spirit of competition in our kids? We do not let our children taste defeat and then our society, suddenly subjects them to a big, ruthless competitive world when they grow up.

Coming back to my dilemma, I guess somewhere I have my answers. Education to me seems to be more about making my kids aware of the situations and getting them ready to deal with them on their own. Education is about getting together your thoughts and putting them across to the other person in an appropriate manner. Education is about accepting failure, learning through it and moving on. It’s about letting them decide what is right for them and take the onus of the consequences. Education is a lot about time management. It is about taking the stress and coping up with it too, happily.

I strongly feel that as and when this generation of parents learn what education is, so will the children.

This article is written by Sheetal Sharma. She is a Counsellor at JSS Public School, Noida, UP

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