• Project Saathi

Who is Educated?

In today’s world filled with educated people, it is difficult to define the real essence of ‘Education’. Being a teacher for more than 22 years, and a mother of an adult child, it has been an irritating bug in my head, whether I am being a true educationist or not. Most people fail to demarcate between formal and informal education and understand that both are equally essential for the actual growth and wellbeing of an individual. 

Formal education is the form of education that one acquires through an institution where an important ingredient of the system is the marks that one attains. Yet, in this bargain, one fails to realise the real essence of one’s overall growth and wellbeing, which can only be acquired through this informal (almost negligently important) form of education. Informal education, on the other hand, in the development of the life skills which are acquired by an individual from different agents of socialisation(family, peers, school, mass media etc). The basic objective of education should be to be able to live with happiness, be able to take up subjects one enjoys learning and be able to build a good character with empathy and compassion, coupled with the freedom to think critically. 

In one’s preschool days, the memories of playfulness, love and friendship are developed by an individual devoid of the feeling of insecurity, jealousy and competition. But a sharp contrast comes into play as middle school starts and the expectation of the system out of a student increases. The expectation of marks induces jealousy, negative peer pressure and is often against the fundamental objectives that we were trying to establish. Gradually, one turns out to become selfish, unhappy, judgemental and the system starts failing in its role.  While we acknowledge that little can be changed in the system by its individual stakeholders, what can be done is that we can blend between the bipolar world of formal and informal education. It can surely happen when one stops becoming obsessive with marks only. If one learns to appreciate the values of one’s friends and share with them, the extra mileage one has, along with the hobbies and passions buried deep inside our hearts, can enable the individual to understand the true essence of life. 

Thus, I consider a person to be educated not when they have completed their formal mode of education but also inculcated the values taught by the informal means. Thus, a person with knowledge of the world, coupled with the values of empathy, compassion and willingness to make the world better is who I would call educated. 

Stop becoming a part of this rat race, and take time out to appreciate the world around, instead of just your own world within. This role is not just for the students but teachers too. Educators should help students to discover their true self and equip them to face emotions and setbacks with positivity, instead of demanding marks from them. They should also learn to release their own frustrations, and not pile it upon their students. 

This pandemic lockdown situation was necessary for us, as human beings to swallow our dilated egos and appreciate the simple pleasures of life and the working of nature, without which humankind actually cannot survive. It is an eye-opener for each one of us to value our life and understand our near and dear ones and develop our skills of survival without delving into this rat race of competition among peers. Yes, there is more to LIVE than what we were fighting for; so sit back and understand its value while you enjoy it... 

“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like  And learn to find joy in the story you are actually living....” 

From the desk of yours truly, Banashree Ma’am*

*Dr. Banashree Bardalai is a Doctorate holder in Political Science with 22 years of teaching experiences across schools in Guwahati. She is currently the Head of Political Science at Sanskriti The Gurukul, Guwahati teaching senior school students. She is also a member of the Patron body of Project Saathi.

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