Three Things to Unlearn From Our School System

Indian Schooling System

Not all of us are Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, or Dhirubhai Ambani. School system is a proven and great way to get someone out of poverty and also to ensure that each of us leads successful and healthy lives. The vast number of people who have left India and also the ones who have stayed in India and made it successful in their own right is because of the school system. Though there are severe lapses in the Indian school system , we can and should be proud of the fact that it works. We can also attribute this success to the people (because they are aspiring). The schools in India are very competitive, and you learn to lobby, be street smart, and more (It starts from getting an admission in your kindergarten) – which is a different problem. 

“Constructive discussion is the key to identifying and rectifying the lapses within the education system, and many of the flaws continue to exist due to lack of discussions.” Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate economist)

Here are some of my learnings on what we should not learn from the school system:

Learn to copy:  If you listen to Amazon’s Founder Jeff Bezos – he talks about shamelessly copying. This is something which should be encouraged in the schools a lot. If a kid does something great, ask other kids to copy and make it better. The current system in schools does not encourage kids to copy (in a positive way). 

Encourage Failures: Encourage kids to fail. Ask them to fail fast. Do not extra protect the students, so they have to top all the time. Do not help the students so they can get the extra mark they need to top the exam. Teach them honesty, so if they do not prepare well, they fail. The current school system is all about successes, and it should be equally about failures. 

Less is better: When it comes to exams, it is not so much about how much you write; it is about what you write. When I was a kid at school, if they asked me to write about a question, even though the answer could be one line, I used to pad it up to 2-3 lines (so I could get a better grade). I have also seen a lot of parents encourage their kids to write more. Both parents & teachers should teach kids to write the appropriate answer instead of filling in the answer sheet and writing things that are not relevant to the question. Students should know that it is not about how much they write, but it is all about what they write. You can compare this with writing code. If you can accomplish a piece of function in one line of code, why would you write 10 lines of code and complicate it? This is what we need to unlearn.

I hope you found this read useful. 

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Further reading

Karthik Chidambaram