“Look, look the chimney is going out, perhaps running out of fuel. Oops, electricity eludes like the sun in a cloudy day,” said a despondent voice from inside a room.
This is but a typical sentence. And the consequence of such a sentence results in filling such chimneys with fuel. But there is another light that shows no such problem and one would not hear typical sentence like the one quoted above. Yes, haven’t you heard the famous phrase ‘[cÒjÐ cÐ ÒSÔÐ[ÞNàc¯Æ’ ‘From Darkness to light?’ Oh, come on, you’ve heard that. Here the writer has compared the lack of learning or cerebral incapacity to judge, what is right and what is wrong in different contexts.
Human being is bestowed with such amazing prowess by the Almighty to siphon the right from the wrong. Among the creations of the Almighty, human being is the only living being who has got not only the ability to express his thoughts to other fellow beings but also the capacity to make others follow suit. In ancient time, we had some crude forms of languages like the language of signs, symbols, signals and picture. But there were some important problems of such language of signals. There was lack of uniformity among people in using those signals or symbols. Further, not every idea had signals or symbols, yet another lacuna. This lack of uniformity was the stumbling block in conveying a required meaning or command to other fellow beings. Simultaneously, it was seen that various streams of signal language were being used by different people in the same society or a particular locality. It was also seen that a particular sign meant different things to different people. It was not also available in written form or we may say a written form was yet to be evolved.
Oh, there was yet another problem, that of fading of ideas. With the passage of time spoken words get erased from memory and we rue for the erosion. In other words speaking, ideas were not available for back referencing or future reading. As time elapsed, human being felt the need of some devices or some strategy to record their ideas for future reading or archiving for next generation. In order to make such spoken ideas perpetual and not subject to erosion with the passage of time, written form was evolved.
To institutionalize such learning process, we have got institutions that we all know as school and those who impart such learning are called Teachers. This is not that easy as many think it to be. A school, some teachers, a vast modern organizational and hierarchical set up to manage the teachers or tutors and pupils, really gigantic and far away from the simple thinking of common men.
Till this phase of simplicity, the learning process was manageable but when the villain of Marks and Gradation system entered the scene, the complete set up received a setback and became complex. No doubt, we have had enough discussions, arguments and counter arguments regarding the quality of Learning. Do you think; a student scoring highest marks and declared as better than the best, has got learning of the highest quality? Or do you think a student not among marks has not got quality learning? This is a bit tricky question but not that difficult to answer. Mark is but a criterion; remember a criterion among criteria, simply to judge a student’s level of learning. But what if someone resorts to memorizing or taking the help of mal-practices, only to score higher marks in a prescribed examination? Here the complete mark system earns the wrath and criticism of the Pro-quality group. Memorizing or resorting to mal-practice is not learning in the right sense but a sham as well as a shame towards the magnanimous system of learning. It is called temporary learning, as such knowledge and information tends to erase from memory faster than the process of memorizing. That knowledge that becomes inherent part of brain, heart and body is the greatest learning that never fades from memory and always rescues someone in time of crises in every walk of the life. We should rather inch forward towards such a system of quality learning that instills confidence in the mind of the learners.
It is seen that Mark and Division have become our sole goals while in school. But that should not be the only goals. A complete package of learning that takes care of every part of a student from heart to mind is the need of hour. What is the use of marks when one is incapable of judging right from wrong in different contexts? What is the use of division or grades, when one is incapable of expressing one’s ideas forcefully to a crowd? Learning that is imparted with practical examples through activities tends to be more fruitful and effective than learning by books. Books are but a collection of imaginary or real examples. In other words, we may describe books as ready examples in digest form. The solution of a good and effective learning system lies, both in books and learning by doing or learning by examples.
Our goal should be to develop a complete statue, embellished with all forms of knowledge to allow one to walk in the crowd distinctly, without any fear, with ready solutions for every occasion. It is this form of light that never goes out, not subject to anything like the vagaries of time or nature, ravages, subjugation, suppression and slavery. Knowledge or information that we gain or gather with the passage of time that we call experience, always helps effectively. These experiences in written forms are compiled as a book.
The precursor of the present day school that we call as Gurukula, was taking care of every part of life to make a man out of an ass, to make a man to live in the society and for the society, to make a man of character and knowledge. Coming out from such an institution one was able to make living gracefully without any kind of problems.
So it is again the journey from darkness to light. Time has come to do a review and an overhauling of our entire system of drudgery that develops a student to land onto a job. It is really, ridiculous and thought provoking that Teaching as a job is the last resort of people. Everyone wants to be a man but no one wants to be a man-maker is really a matter of pondering. Human resource development cell should take this sordid fact into account and come forward with a completely new system that would take care of all these aspects so that we can have quality human resources to serve our nation in different capacity.
So let the light spread far and wide to every nooks and crannies of our world and benefit all and sundry. Don’t let the light go out or demand a refill, otherwise the road to the dungeon of darkness will be crystal clear without light! Let the light spread and no one be left without letters. Let everyone get enlightened by the eternal light of learning and let they light others. Let this chain, relays to all and every one runs his part in the marathon of knowledge.
Let ye scatter the resplendence of learning wherever ye can, to keep the flame of learning burning, before ye may have no one to show the iridescence. Amen!
This article was published In January, 2009, in a souvenir entitled “Uchhab” brought out on the occasion of silver jubilee celebration of my High school.