Education for Life or Livelihood?

Dr. Madhav Deo Saraswat

Principal, The Scindia School, Gwalior

The word “education” has many connotations to it. For some, it is the mere acquisition of facts and figures, while for others, it is all about acquiring skills to befit the 21st century-survival of the fittest as suggested by Charles Darwin. However, in this endeavour, the essence of education has been diluted to a great extent, if not completely lost.

Education is a process of providing the wherewithal to an individual to be able to differentiate between right and wrong and to muster the courage to choose the right path, even if it means to tread the road less travelled. Education for life or livelihood?—A question we all need to answer, to be able to do justice to our role as parents, teachers and facilitators.

No more are we living in a world where we can afford to be in isolation with each other, or be ignorant of our surroundings. We are much more connected to each other than we were ever before in ways more than one. Therefore, it is crucial that we develop a class of individuals who not only possess an academic bent of mind but can also empathise with others and are sensitive human beings. It is time that we go back to our roots and develop an education system where there is an equal focus on building up individuals with strong values and principles. We cannot afford to take a blinkered approach and create a bandwagon of personalities who are highly employable but insensitive.

There is indeed a huge gap between what is written in the book and what is practised in real life. To bridge this gap, meaningful and continuous engagement in community development programs as a way to provide real education to youngsters is the need of the hour. If schools can engage students in tree-plantation, campus-cleaning, water conservation, teaching underprivileged children, etc., they will internalize a more significant role for themselves in society and become leaders of change. Also, unless we provide exposure to children to experience those values which are printed in the books, they will never be internalized. Aforementioned is what I think is critical for Indian school education.

Education would be meaningless if we become the destroyers of the only habitat that we have; at least as of now. It is imperative that we sensitize our prodigies towards these issues as well so that they lead a fulfilling life themselves and leave a happier and healthier planet for the generations to come.

Dr. Madhav Deo Saraswat

Principal, The Scindia School, Gwalior