–Chinmoyee Deka |
Historically, the 15th of October was celebrated as World Student’s Day to commemorate the more than 1,200 students from the University of Prague who lost their lives in World War II. Now, this day has become an occasion in which universities all over the world boast their international students and their achievements. For Indians, it has a special significance as it is also the birthday of one of India’s greatest presidents, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
Students are the future and their weapon of strength is education. They are an opportunity. There is still a lot to be done in terms of educating our students the right way, especially in India. With multiple races, ethnicities, cultures, traditions, languages, and heritages being an integral part of our population, the foundation of our education must be based on equality. It should focus on respecting different opinions, practices, the importance of diversity and unity, constitution, environment, history, and most importantly human values.
Many problems in the world have solutions in basic humanity. It is not something that can be directly taught from textbooks but can be best instilled in a person at a student level. Good behavior and good character develop over time under the influence of teachers at schools and elders at home. No matter how academically sound a student is, it is the behavior that makes an impression in the end. Also, instead of focusing on making our students engineers, scientists, doctors, novelists, etc. we should direct our efforts at making them good human beings so that no matter where they go and what they do, they do good for themselves as well as the community.
Students these days are growing up seeing corruption, violence, arrogance, etc. hence, it is even more important that they realize the wrong around them and make an effort to not do the same. As said before, they are the future. So, if we want a fair, equal, and peaceful society they are our best bet.
A very important aspect that is missing in our education system is the inclusion of ancient texts. India has rich literature but sadly, very few actually read those texts. It is important to understand the elements of these historical texts so that we know our roots better and understand where we have come from. Modernization has coated many traditions and beliefs as unreliable and unwanted but this is dangerous because we are deciding to believe somebody else’s opinion and undermining our own past. Therefore, one should attempt to understand their culture from accepted sources, like real books or some good commentaries on them before holding an opinion. It is very easy to influence a mind that is less informed.
Students must also be taught to respect men and women equally and treat them the same. Rape, sexual assault, harassment, good and bad touch, sexuality, sex, etc. must be discussed openly and effectively. Treating these subjects as taboo has shed a bad light on the ones who want to make a difference. Also, when a student moves from school to college, he/she is suddenly exposed to a realm of information that they never even thought about earlier and this increases the vulnerability of the student. It might make the student feel inferior or some may take it the wrong way and think that now they can do and say anything they want to which may later be harmful for themselves and others. This gap must be bridged and one must understand that education is a holistic process and learning can happen anywhere. After living in a well-guarded cocoon, it becomes difficult for the students to cope when they are exposed to a million different things later in life. Good grades are not necessary for one to experience life the right way, the mind and emotional intellect need to be on par as well. This will ensure that they are on the right path and help them find out what they want to do or talk about it openly if they are not able to figure it out.
However, students of both the past and present have always been an important factor of change. At present, it is majorly the students worldwide who are leading the fight against climate change. These bright young minds are aware, brave, and concerned. They are able to identify real problems and prioritize their efforts accordingly. Other movements like the rights of the LGBTQI community, equality of races, etc. are also majorly led by college and university students.
It feels great to see that the student community across the globe is now stressing on core issues like equality and the environment. If one generation is able to set the right example, the next generation is bound to follow. A lot still needs to be done, many issues still persist but we can still smile because there is a very good possibility that the future will change for the better.