As schools reopen after a long Covid-induced hiatus, they must grapple with a new education policy that addresses the structure and pedagogy of our education system. There is the inevitable wrangling over the content of the textbooks as well as over the language of instruction. Those in power tend to redefine the content and language based on their perspectives: ideological, religious, social.
Knowledge, especially technical skills, are the most valued in our society, and so education, as we know it today, is built on the transfer of knowledge into the brain of the child. The focus of many educators, therefore, is to find ways to do this ‘creatively’ so that concepts are grasped well. In our digital times, information is plentiful, and all sorts of digital learning tools including ‘tuition classes’ in a new avataar are available to enable this knowledge transfer.
From very early on, children are taught to create an identity for themselves starting with their name. Most of our lives, then, is lived in relationship with people, with ideas and with things as a means of enhancing this identity. We are taught to project a future and then do what we can to achieve it. Making our dreams a reality is considered integral to the way our society functions. Of course, Life has its own rhythms, and such dreams rarely fructify, leaving the child frustrated, fearful, and anxious. Our society is built on this, and education is meant for the child to fit into this unhealthy environment. So, education is nothing but a system for the continuity of our society.
More than seventy years ago, J. Krishnamurti, one of the greatest religious teachers of all time, foresaw the chaos and deepening crisis that our society is in and how education contributed to it. Seeing this, he asked: “Are we prepared, as parents and teachers, to bring about a new generation of people, for that is what is implied—a totally different generation of people with totally different minds and hearts? Are we prepared for that?”
What was his vision for the ‘right kind of education’? This digital booklet has a brilliant excerpt from his book, Education and the Significance of Life, besides powerful quotes from other books. Every moment is a moment filled with the potential for change. It is up to us to see it.