Prisoners of the system

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One of the best people I know made this image their display picture recently. And as cute as it is, it also speaks a lot to me. Notice how the bars are the pages of a student’s notebook. Something tells me it’s not just a random doodling by a bored person sitting on the back bench of a class.

If you ever think of it, we’re all prisoners of the “knowledge industry”. What we’re taught and how we’re taught are both a topic of debate, the latter more than the former. That’s because when we learn something from the very start, we hardly question it. If the text book says it, it Google says it, it must be the ultimate, gospel truth. But is there an ultimate truth? History, for example, to a great extent is only a perception of reality, which is often biased to suit the ulterior motives of elites. What we are exposed to is rarely the unfiltered, unadulterated information. However, this process takes place backstage, and the audience remains unaware.

The how, nevertheless, takes place on stage. How teachers teach, schools manage, education boards and universities assess is criticised by more people than not. With hour long lectures of underpaid and overworked people fumbling around mumbling jumble and bumble, absolutely nothing gets registered. Teachers who enjoy their job, who take the effort to explore beyond the syllabus and make subjects not irksome but interesting have become an endangered species. As if the eight hours of hounding wasn’t enough, our system came up with other ways to simultaneously screw with our brains. External exams, internal exams, entrance exams, language proficiency exams, aptitude exams, assignments, weekend assignments, summer assignments, winter assignments, co-curriculars, extra-curriculars, sports, second sport, and add in perhaps the skill to fly because apparently everyone thinks eighteen year olds (at the most) are super-humans.

The focus isn’t on being unique, but on being special. Being the best in everything. Whatever happened to kids discovering themselves? On finding out if they liked maths or music, science or sports, and being allowed to make mistakes in the process? Of having the scope of fail without endangering their entire lives? Schools were meant to be places where we could learn about the world, but with the assurance of being protected and being safe. A place where we could grow wings, where we could fly without the fear of falling. A place for dreamers and believers to turn to for faith and people who believed in their passion. A place safeguards their innocence but imparts wisdom at the same time. But most importantly, a place for us to be just that – ourselves. Kids, teenagers.

It seems that the entire purpose of schools and an educational system has been defeated. No wonder most people I know detest the idea of schools and colleges. Please note that we’re not against education or knowledge, but against what we get in the name of it. This is not education, this is simply an industry. And we’re all the slaves of the capitalists. What’s worse, there seems to be no way out of it.

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