Tuesday, August 09, 2011

London Riots, Educational Reforms and Cuboid Watermelons

Initially I wanted to blog about the ongoing riots in London and other cities around England. However, after much contemplation I concluded that as far as I can see it at least and in my humble opinion, this issue doesn't deserve so much attention. Too much attention is what has added fuel to the fire. Solution is simple, just remember that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child! These rioters were only looking for an excuse to steal on a massive scale. The protesting was just a veil behind which they wanted to hide.

Another reason I changed my mind about the topic for today's post is because I came across this video on the blog of Nema (one of our new members in the LBC). You can either watch this video here or follow this link to her blog: LINK

One of the things I am extremely passionate about is Education. This is in part due to the fact that I have personally been rather unfortunate when it came to the quality of "formal education" I received, at least thus far. I believe the current western education system is inadequate at best, and helplessly redundant at worse. This video reinforced my views and gave me yet another new perspective of looking at things. Divergent thinking.

This is a simple thing that our social conditionings make us believe to be insanity. In fact this divergent thinking is precisely what has got us to the heights of technological advances we are enjoying today. Ok we all know that. The point I wish to make goes a little further. Our current education system builds instant walls at every attempt of the child to think in a way which is not accepted as the social norm. It is a different matter altogether that social norms themselves would struggle to justify their existence in face of rational enquiry. Nevertheless, the problem is systemic. As the segregation in schools is based on "physical age", every child regardless of her or his unique capabilities and grasping capacity, gets herded and segregated into the same group and is forced to fit in. Why does our society have this obsession with "fitting in"? I read somewhere the other day, can't remember where, that there was a child who was told from a young age that the purpose of life is to find happiness. When he was old enough to write "essays" at school, he was asked to write about what he wanted to become when he was older. He simply wrote happy. The teacher pointed out that his answer was incorrect, perhaps unsurprisingly, and he should work on his ability to understand questions correctly.

I could carry on rambling forever. To be concise, however, I will cut the chase and come to the point. As I come near to closing this post, I am realising that perhaps there is that link after all between the rioters in London and our redundant rusty education system. This production line manufactures half baked pots which can neither be used to hold water nor to decorate. Their offspring naturally end up confused and messed up than them. Its a sad story. Their empty mind ends up becoming the devil's workshop indeed. This, together with a total lack of positive role models in their community with whom they can relate ends up creating a dung bomb! The inevitable explosion only awaits the right time and circumstances.

I will write more on education later but for now I will end this post with what I feel as a very simple example that illustrates the point of divergent thinking this video makes.

Japanese genius at work! Who would have ever dreamt that watermelons could be produced in a cuboid shape so they could fit in the refrigerator more conveniently and save packaging and transport costs??

Moral of the story: If it takes cubical watermelons to shake the social and academic elite out of their slumber, so be it!

Greetings! :)


Delirious said...

I think that watermelon would also be easier to cut! It would stay put instead of roll around when we try to cut it!

I saw the video before. It's excellent!

Noor said...

Education. What a joke it can be sometimes. I really like how you related it to what's going on there right now.
Japs are brilliant.

I mean we really need to push kids to think outside of the box, why make their thinking so limited?

Rummuser said...

Rohit, I graduated from the best of India's elite IIMs. Nothing I learnt there helped me in my career as what I learnt from the Management Traininee program of my employer and subsequently by hands on management. Education is learning to learn. We can continue to learn from life, all life long.

Have a go at this:

Rohit said...

@Delirious: Ah now that's something which didn't strike me. Lack of experience in cutting watermelons perhaps..but well, thanks for the comment! :)

@Noor: Exactly! It HAS become a complete joke. We are educated to become good and obedient wage slaves (pardon the communist jargon) but well, that's what it is..a poultry farm where children are groomed to earn and not learn. The best system should combine the best of both..

@Sir Ramana: I am glad you said this. I always had this hunch that because institutions such as IIM look too good to be true, what with all the hype surrounding them, they most likely are. I wouldn't necessarily discount their contribution in shaping ones ability to reason and in providing a perspective to prospective management consultants, however, they are a victim of this redundant system of production-line education for no fault of their own. Its about time a reformation is due in this area.

Thank you for the comment and the link. I didn't really get a chance to explore the website in detail but I will on the weekend :)