The education system or a factory?

“I don’t love studying, I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful”

-Natalie Portman

Before you try to correct me let me explain that no they are not the same.

Learning is a thing of passion, learning is a thing engrained in human beings from the moment they are born and it is a thing that we perform every second of every day. Learning is the acquisition of skills and knowledge through experiences and interaction. It is how we develop as people in this world.

Studying is cramming over textbooks and notebooks. It is being forced to accept information that may or may not be necessary in our lives, it is being forced into a system that spits out a well oiled machine and not a human being.

The education system we follow now is one that has been made by people who have long since forgotten what it feels like to be a student, forgotten what it feels like to be a teacher. The education system we follow does not care for the comfort or the health of it’s students but it cares instead for the money rolling into their pockets.

To them we are not humans, we are not children… we are money and our teachers, they are mere slaves under this system. They are puppets who don’t have a say in the system which kills more people than a gun.

Now you can argue that the reason for these deaths are factors like stress, depression, fear and other mental problems but where I ask did these factors begins? When did these children who were filled with wonder and love for learning become teenagers with bags under their eyes and thoughts of dropping out or killing themselves. Who was the cause for this? Was it us? Is it our fault; are we the ones who are to blame for our own hardships?

We as students are shut down every time we talk out, we are told our ideas aren’t possibly good enough for the world because “you’re still young” and then you turn around and tell us that we are the future. Do you think that the future was composed of well-groomed, proper people with the same mindset as their elders? NO, those adults who as children were told off, who as children were insulted for their brilliance, paved the future.

All the geniuses we praise and follow these days and I do not mean only in the field of science or mathematics. I mean geniuses in art, literature, music, sport and education. All these brilliant men and woman were once children who were told that their ideas were stupid and that their ideas were those for dreams.

Can you imagine how many more Isaac Newton’s and Marie Curies we would have, how many more Leonardo Da’Vinci’s and Sarojini Naidu’s, how many more Simone Bile’s and Usain Bolt’s we would have in the world today if the dreams of children weren’t discarded as dreams.

We are told that the grades we get on tests define our intelligence, we are told that these grades are what decide our future and we believe it, we believe it and we toss away our dreams. We are tested on things we are not good at, things we have no talent in and then we are told that we are lazy and stupid because our results weren’t perfect and the worst part is that we believe it.

We are given one opportunity to learn the material, if we don’t know it oh well. If we say we don’t understand the topic most teachers will say then pay attention because half the class gets it. We are not the same we are as different as each of our fingerprints. We have different methods of understanding; we all have different paces, which we follow.

Why are we expected to remember material we have absolutely no interest in, material we learnt months ago? I understand that this knowledge is the base for our future and knowing something extra is always good but tell me why would I need to know how many sugar mills are there in Tamil Nadu, why do I need to know the in depth knowledge of the functions of a Human Resource Manager. Why would a child who wants to be an accountant need to know why Shylock wants to kill Antonio?

General knowledge of all these topics are needed yes but to go into so much unnecessary detail is a waste of time.

We are pinned against one another for grades and then told to help each other, where do you think this unhealthy competitiveness starts? Students spend 80% of their day in a classroom, being told what to think and how to speak. We are told how to dress and who we’re allowed to talk to.

Is this what it means to think? Is this what it means to be an individual?

What exactly is school preparing us for? Is this the real world? Is the real world full of walls, does the real world have a dress code and does the real world tell who we can and cannot talk to? Is the real world going to tell us no and punish us when we say yes? If so I don’t want to be part of that world.

Actually let me ask a better question, how many students have stopped and said yes after they’ve been told no. How many students have defended their case even though they are completely aware that they are right.

Children are afraid of the repercussions of their actions because they know that they have no right in a school. How sad is it that some children may think of school as their safe place because of unfortunate situations at home but even this safe place is not exactly safe. They are still afraid of the adults here; they are still burdened by stress and fear of judgment.

Another idea that confuses me is the point of dress codes? A boy in this day and time will be more distracted by his phone or a bird flying outside than a girls shoulder being on display. School dress codes are doing nothing but teaching young and impressionable children that what we look like matters more than our education.

If you want to know what I mean ask yourselves, how many times have you stopped a student or how many times have you been stopped as a student because your skirt was a little short or your hair too long? How many times have you been pulled out of class because you had one too many holes in your ear or your head was shaved on the sides? How many times has the threat of being sent home been issued for matters regarding school dress codes?

Clothes are merely pieces of cloth we drape over us to cover our modesty and it should thus be treated as such.

Another problem here is that we as students blame our teachers but honestly what are they to do? Teachers are so important to this world, how else do we become who we are? Yes our parents bring us up but we spend more time with our teachers than we do with our parents. In some cases our teachers know us better than our parents.

What does this education system do to our teachers? They are underpaid, they are insulted and they are mocked. Why aren’t teachers respected more? They are the foundation of our world. Now don’t get me wrong a teacher is not a person who stands in front of a class and preaches their subject, no a teacher is someone who reaches the heart and mind of a student, a teacher is someone who makes the student feel safe and comfortable.

I’ve been taught by so many wonderful teachers, I’ve interacted with so many wonderful teachers who not only have taught me their subject but also the way to be a good human. Off the top of my head two teachers who I will have great difficulty forgetting are Mrs. Susan Gowda my English language teacher and Mrs. Sreevidya Satyamurthy my economics teacher. These two teachers have taught me not only their subjects but also how to be responsible, how to be caring and good to others.

Our teachers are not the problem and they have never been the problem, they are puppets under the system that gives them no other option. They are under a system, which thinks that homework and standardized tests are the way to success. No these are the ways to overwork a student. It is the way to stress someone out to the point of exhaustion.

How many students actually pray to get sick, for a natural calamity to occur just so they can skip school? This is not because we’re lazy, it’s because we are tired and we don’t want to face another day.

The average students schedule goes like this, they wake up as early as five in the morning and get ready for school, spend more than eight hours in some cases in school, they return home tired and exhausted but most of us have tuitions which we need, then after coming home we have homework, tests to study for, portions to revise and by the time we’re done it’s late. This is the average day, you don’t want to hear the schedule during exam season.

What about our teachers? Their schedules are definitely beyond exhausting, they have to take care of us all day and then go home and do the same with their own families, they have work they must complete for school and most of them work on their weekends and holidays as well.

If our education system wants to truly make us and mold us into the future then teach us how to be respectful, teach us how to speak and express ourselves. Teach us the meaning of humanity and allow us to teach you. Allow us, the youth, the people who’s minds have not yet been corrupted by prejudice and social constructs to teach you.

So I conclude by saying that it’s not our fault and neither is it the fault of our teachers but it is the fault of the system and I stand by what I said before

“To them we are not people, we are MONEY.”

//Spilled Ink//

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