Do We Congratulate Ourselves Too Much?

Let's not look at a mirror in awe of the sight before us, instead let us look at what we  see and question it. How can we do better? If we can make that sort of a critical eye part of our national character, I think we could progress much better in the coming years.

While in a concert, albeit brilliantly arranged (3 or 4-days long Eastern Classical  shows, great stage and a great crowd), I heard one of our politicians declare in her closing statement that we are the BEST audience in the world. Its not a big claim, and its not a usual claim. Even if such a competition exists, the claim is harmless. This might be one instance where we're praising ourselves unnecessarily, when we could actually do that better by our actions instead. E.g., there could be massive support from industry and government for artists in our country both locally and internationally. India has a world renowned flutist; how can we have a maestro too?

This post is closely aligned with what I've stated in Beware the Wide-Eyed Optimist, but today I was just thinking of our education system and whether we're preparing the population for the future. While doing interviews, going through CVs at the workplace, or interacting with random young individuals, I often meet people who are self assured, and confident (approaching cocky). While conversing I am not convinced I have the same confidence in that person as the person holds for his/her own self. At other times, the flashy self confidence is not there, and all of the inadequacies is just there for you to see. A few times, you find a candidate you can talk to or work with.

Our language has the saying 'অল্প বিদ্যা ভয়ঙ্কর' ∞ 'Its dangerous to know a little', implying that a person should not get cocky with what little she has learnt, but continue on the journey with humility gathering knowledge. Its blatantly unfair to just state that the young are at fault. Instead of doing that we really need to reassess our society's value system and definitely our education system.

We should prevent sentimental siding from society, starting from parents, peers and maybe even some educators; looking down on some subjects (such as Sociology) and vice-versa (engineering or medicine). It would be ideal to do away with those distinctions and provide school students a better understanding of what scopes, what industries our country holds, so that they may be inspired to choose a path and have an objective view of the purpose of education along with the broad perspectives that early education provides. The system itself should have mechanisms to identify a student's strengths and helping her grow.

So I think it is great that we recently did some reassessing of how we're testing our students, but a dangerous trend seems to be rising also since we see a great rate of passes and top grades are being used as proof of a political party's contribution while in power! Instead of using 'education' for such means, we need to think of decades ahead and harbor a country where social, technological research takes place, and the educated are employed in solving problems and puzzles to move our country ahead.

A College Degree Sorts Job Applicants, but Employers Wish It Meant More
EDU Tech Magazine (May 2012 Issue, India)
Breaking the Stigma of Social Studies