• Project Saathi

Education vs Knowledge: Siblings, not Twins

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

-Ruchika Bhuyan*

What fool he must be to misconstrue the score on a mirror paper as the score of knowledge.

Knowledge is, but not a measuring stick of marks to beat students with,

 it is the skill, sagacity and consciousness perceived by one through the innumerable experiences they encounter in the span of a lifetime. 

Cognition, thus, does not meet its accomplishment with the marks of an examination but by the experiences of a lifetime. 

The Indian Educational System is purely based on the power of memory for it commands students to gulp down the content in the books they provide, letter by letter, and retch it all up on an answer script during exams. 

 Since when was what we remember reflective of what we know? Does this label the true sons of prudence and gravity as imbecile? Marks can only gauge how much a person can recollect from someone else’s words, not the amplitude of their knowledge.  In fact, our educational institutions at times do not impart any valuable knowledge whatsoever, for the memory is ephemeral. What words have been registered in mind will soon vanish, for the students paid heed to the information the books held only to score, not to learn. 

 This intention of studying only to score has been engendered by the bars of worth and dignity that the society has imprisoned us with. It has laid down, without elucidation or purpose, that high marks imply intellectual equity and sagacity and low marks imply that we possess no worth.  

 What about ethics, virtues and morals? Will a student who graduated meritoriously but eventually went astray along the path of crime without even a pinch of values be considered wise? Without virtue, we are like a ship without its navigating officers — no doubt, we are moving in life. 

But we could go adrift at any time without guidance. 

The great intellectuals that the world has seen did not always begin as toppers. Rather, they began as failures. For instance, Albert Einstein had failed in his university, and his professors had refused to provide him with any vocational recommendations. However, the world today might have been living a decade or two back without his discoveries and theories. It was his dedication acquired through reasoning and love for his field that kept him going.

The desire to score marks has also been found to be a cause of suicide in India. So many students who burn the midnight oil and work really hard to score high, score lower than expected. 

This crushes them completely. Such students may not be skilled at memorizing, but they indubitably possess talent elsewhere. Problem is, the "elsewhere" is considered to be a mere add-on. They subsequently start questioning their worths and purposes of existence and suffer from depression. The additional bullets of humiliation and insult that the society shoots at them from a gun loaded with irrational conclusions only makes the pain more excruciating. These students, in such torment, think of ending their lives. How gruesome! A mere combination of numbers on a paper cannot decide the number of years someone lives.

Stress and anxiety thrust by the pressure of attaining marks completely cuts one off from the world. They become unconscious of what is happening in the world and lack social interaction. Social interaction is itself a significant giver of knowledge. Nobody can gain all the knowledge of the world by memorizing textbooks. Cognizance shared is cognizance increased.

Education is futile if it does not teaches how to digest the words that schools feed us with.  If we do not learn how to apply the knowledge contained in the textbooks and absorbed by our hearts practically, it is not knowledge gained, but only time squandered away. Even maids, without having gone to school, can know the mighty truths of life and death.

Education may be the paving of career but knowledge is not. It is so much more. It is what is going to lead us to mould into our future selves, and if perceived rightly, it can truly rank us among those two sons of prudence and sagacity.

Perhaps, knowledge is a very personal possession. It helps us build perspective and opinion. It changes the way we look at things; the way we look at the world. It ushers in confidence but simultaneously keeps the hunger for more knowledge alive. It teaches us who we truly are among over seven billion people in this world, and no score of a ninety nice or a hundred can ever achieve that for us.

*Ruchika is a 9th standard student from Sanskriti The Gurukul, Guwahati. She loves writing and has a distinguished set of accolades in this field to her name.

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