Make education FREE for all

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The basic philosophy of education has witnessed erosion and that is reflected in our surroundings.  Although it is considered as one of the key elements to achieve a successful and peaceful life on the planet, however, such goals have not been achieved somehow, which need a critical examination. Education now is more like a skill-focused program that is designed to hit the job market. 

Most of the institutes in the world teach course contents that are often designed to meet the trends of a market. In other wards students are dominantly trained to be mere users of the skills that are implanted in their little innocent brains via, often highly loaded, curriculum. And in the end they may not use all those skills, which I think is not a major problem but needs to be understood in the context of educating little souls. 

It is true that skills are important, and job oriented courses are good. But the bitter truth that we usually face is the fact that we are unable to produce a galaxy of intellectuals of substance that would teach one how to live (and let live) on our little planet that is floating in the vastness of the universe. This intellectual deficit will cost us our much loved planet if we don’t mend our ways, right now.

Nowadays globally most of the Institutes are ruthlessly busy in running education business to attract students, and they can go to any extent to flaunt their universities. Look around you will see a large number of marketing posters of educational institutes (just like marketing of other products) to flaunt various courses. Problem is not marketing, but the lies that are usually associated with such marketing strategies. It is just like cosmetic advertisements where they make one to believe that darker skin will lighten in weeks time provided one uses a particular product!!! They put little effort on promoting quality of education, and even much little attention on making education affordable to all. These should instead be the priorities of educational institutes. No doubt there are several programs in various countries to boost education system so that it reaches the poorest, however, little is done to make it absolutely free for all, and of the quality and standard that even the richest sections of people are motivated to enroll their children in such educational establishments. On several occasions I have seen institutes often use the number of enrollments as a yardstick of good business! And should we think that such institutes will help in the overall intellectual growth of our children. Obviously not, because the price that one pays for such degrees primarily comes from banks, or parents. 

Once one takes loan from a bank or parents to earn a degree the seeds of intellectual death are planted. This is because the intellect will die a terrible death as the burden of loan will always keep one busy in thinking how to repay it. And in doing that anything, and all things will happen except the inner discovery of one’s intellect. This is the death most of the students are going through world-over. And unfortunately. So expecting high morals from such souls does not make much of a sense.  Mirza Ghalib, the great Urdu and Persian poet, puts it rightly:

(1) Iftaar-e-saum kii jise kuch dast gaah ho

(2) Us shakhs ko zaroor hai rozaa rakha kare

 the one who has the wherewithal to break his fast

 that person should indeed keep the fast)

(1) jis paas roza khol ke khaane ko kuch na ho

(2) roza agar na khaaye to naachaar kya kare

 the one who has nothing to break his fast with;

 what else can he do but be constrained to ‘eat the fast)

Such students are forced to destroy their inner thirsts; and regrettably that thirst may never see the light of the day. This is not the end, once a degree is earned the load of burden continues to pileup when one applies for jobs. It is such a shame that one has to pay for applying to a job. 

For example to apply for the post of Assistant Professor in Jammu and Kashmir you are asked to pay some 1050 rupees (I got this number from the Kashmir university online recruitment portal). And let us assume that some 20,000 applicants apply for such posts in any academic year then the total money that would be collected in that year would add up to 21000000 rupees. This is not a small number, quite a huge sum of money. Now, where does it go? Dont you think each student/parent is entitled to know the whereabouts of it?. This is a very serious problem, and it demands a serious solution. So, I am requesting the concerned administration to please look into this, and make it public where the hard earned public money is spent. They need to post it on various websites so that it is easily accessible to all. Education teaches us that one ought to be accountable for even a single penny that was collected from students or anyone else.

I would rather suggest to make recruitment applications completely FREE of charges. And if they need manpower to conduct recruitment examinations/interviews etc. Please ask help from educators, I am sure a huge number of voluntaries will help them. But asking for money from poor students is illogical, and it works against the philosophies of education. And we have to work to make EDUCATION FREE for all. And if we work on this, most of the problems that surround us in the present world will be off the map. We need to think about it, and map the possibilities of growing our kids in environments that teach them to respect, learn, earn, and live a graceful life, no matter what trade you take. Doctors, engineers, laborurs, sweepers, politicians, etc. all are needed equally. The eye that could mark these trades as ONE has to be developed, we ought to work on this.

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