Educating the Educationists

Our country’s education system is nothing short of deplorable.A hopeless attempt at  trying to educate people.Much has been said and debated about it, yet nothing done. In this manner,many intellects have been squandered,creativity killed.This all stems from the practice of a system that judges the  talent  of people on the basis of their marks.Are marks the only yardstick for judging people?Aren’t people much more than marks producing machines ?Is procuring high marks(ridiculously high marks)the sole objective of life?

What’s wrong with it?

In India, you are respected only if you are academically successful.If you are bad at academics but are an excellent sportsman, you are treated as a person who has failed in life. People treat high marks as the only yardstick on which to judge people. Is this fair? Are there not several other and much more important traits or qualities by which we are supposed to judge people? People are said to be good people only if they get 100 on 100 in some famous competitive exam.This judgement is not made on the grounds of whether the person has good manners or a good honest personality. This weird and utterly illogical practice of judging persons based on their marks has unsurprisingly even entered our homes.
If you go and tell your mom that I made a new friend and start waxing eloquent about his awesomeness, intelligence and kindness, she is bound to just ask one question after you long discourse on your friend’s awesome personality.The question being”Is your new friend good at studies?”.If you reply in the negative, she will most likely ask you to stop being his friend and that will most likely be the premature end of your new, blossoming friendship. On the other hand, if you reply in the affirmative, she will ask about pretty much all his academic achievements and then she will take his example and tell us to be much more academically inclined and fruitful like him. Seriously? Do we make friends so that we can talk to him about the division of polynomials or the refraction of light the whole day?Is that what friendship is?
Similarly, in school, if you are awesome in singing, drawing or in sports and are hopeless in academics, people don’t see you becoming a Picasso or a  Michael Jordan 10-15 years down the line. Instead they see you as a a guy working in a petrol bump or a supermarket as a sweeper or a lowly clerk. They don’t think that you can possibly have the capacity to shine on the world stage and make a name for yourself. Instead they think that it is much more desirable and better that you sit in a corner of  a cubicle and stare at a stupid LCD monitor typing away some random code or doing some accounting fooling yourself into believing in this really ridiculous fallacy that you are doing something awesome and world changing.

Everybody wants to see you get stratospheric grades and become  a corporate honcho or  an engineer. Parents consider it as their life’s dream. They can’t see you as a singer, an actor, sportsman, artist or a dancer .Why this inability? On a daily basis singers do earn a lot more than an engineer.If you are an established singer, you get more than 2 lakhs for singing for close to an hour. Do engineers get paid that much?Plus, singers sing for movies, attend page-3 parties  and are the judges at those famous music talent hunt shows and appear in the paper almost weekly. Compared to them, do engineers get to enjoy even a fraction of their life?Same thing for a sports person . Playing for a famous team that pays on an average 200,000 pounds per week?An artist whose artpiece fetches on an average 2 million dollars?What is the average engineering or corporate salary when compared to this?

All this desire for marks stems from the fact that the education board considers only marks. They place full emphasis on marks and place very little weightage on the other capabilities of the student. Aren’t all aspects supposed to be equal? Anybody can study math or science and rattle off ununderstandable equations and facts and still be a dumbhead in terms of other things.

We may have hundreds of Einsteins but aren’t we also losing many Picasso’s, Lata Mangeshkar’s, Jordan’s and Michael Jackson’s in the process?


Cartoons and Fables – How Cosmos Got the Story of Bruno Wrong


The Renaissance Mathematicus

One of the joys of writing this blog is that I have a number of readers/commentators who are more intelligent, more knowledgeable, more erudite and above all more sensible than I. Every now and then I succeed in trapping, blackmailing, bullying or conning one of them into writing a guest post in order to give you the readers an alternative perspective on the world of the history of science and the chance to read something of quality. This time I have succeeded in acquiring the literary services of Tim O’Neill, historian and inexhaustible warrior against the misuse and abuse of the history of science. In his post Tim adds his tuppence worth to the debate raging far and wide about the Bruno cartoon in the first edition of the Cosmos reboot. Enjoy! 

A few months ago while visiting Rome I did something a tourist should not do in a strange…

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