If anybody thought that we will become a cleaner, more disciplined nation, through eduction, it is time to review the views. Education alone doesnt help us achieve anything.
Education has not helped us to follow traffic rules. It is not just the cab drivers and rickshaw drivers who skip signals or honk unnecessarily or overspeed or indulge in drunken driving or talk on the mobile phone while driving or overspeed or park under ‘no-parking’ or bribe, when caught or drive in no-entry lanes. The highly educated engineers and managers and doctors and bureaucrats are equally, or probably more, culpable. Driving on the roads of Bangalore is an education on the futility of education in such matter.
How many educated rich folks take their ultra-expensive dogs out for a walk, with the sole purpose of making the dog pee and faecate on the road? They must have even employed an expert trainer to train the dog to do so.
How many ivy-league graduates will blink before lying to a customer; would not play with numbers to sex them up?
How many media journalists will put up their hands and refuse to discuss about the Arushis on primetime and allow them to live a peaceful death? More words would have been written and more sound-bytes would have been spilled on the poor Arushi’s murder than even Gandhi’s assasination – people investigating her death, people condemning the role of police, people preaching morals, and people like me, inadvertantly or advertantly, adding some more words to the Arushi saga by condemning the media for its insensitivity.
Why do people violate rules, not merely legal regulations, but the ethical and logical ones demanded by common sense? Does man have capability to self-regulate? Is man inherently constituted to be dishonest, to willfully commit a wrong, if he can escape the punishment for wrong-doing? Or has he got so accustomed to being dictated to all the time, through fear for god and religion and ruler, that he is now bothered, not about the crime, but only about the punishment for the crime?
Stricter enforcement is the obvious solution. But then, who will regulate the enforcers? Who decides what to enforce? It is a vicious cycle.
Do we need more gods to regulate us? Education has made man more religious and superstitious (was astrology such a mass industry ever?), but he has learnt to manipulate God. He believes in God but does not fear God. Is this what Dostoevsky meant, when he supposedly said that if God is dead, then everything is permitted? Maybe, a different, more powerful, omnipresent, omniscient and more importantly, more tangible God needs to be conceived.
The failure of education to reform us scares me; blinds me. When your most potent weapon fails, what next…?
Will a reform in the education system help? Are we laying more emphasis on the result than the process? Therefore, it becomes more important for us to score well in an exam, even if we have to copy. If a school-boy will not avoid copying if he can, after growing, he will not stop at a traffic signal, if he is not watched; he will not hesitate to fudge, if can; bribe, if required. What has made it more important to excel in an exam than learn a subject? It is the same that has made it more important to reach the destination, quickly, at any cost.
How do we shift the focus of education, away from the product: results, back to the process: learning? This, I believe, is the fundamental problem that we need to resolve.