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Expertise or exposure! Part II

Author Raja Krishnamoorthy / Kitty - Aug 24, 2013

Today morning I was at the city of Tanjore in Tamil Nadu, addressing around 4000 school students on “towards a new self- building a bridge to the future”. I was deeply touched by the fact that 80% of the children, who had gathered for the program, had parents who were “coolies” or daily wage laborers in the agricultural or rural sectors.

 When we opened the forum for questions, one of the youngsters, a Muslim boy, asked this question “ sir, Why is so much of craze about becoming a doctor or parents pushing their children to become engineers? Are not there other professions that are also essential for society- like teachers, administrators, accountants and many others? Why is that our parents push their children in to a few so called “important” fields?”

 I applauded the bold youngster, and went ahead to talk about the average thinking of society, creating very pedestrian ideas about “important”/ BIG/ and “guarantees of success in life” jobs or careers and reassured him and others that it is not what you choose to do that makes a difference, but how you do anything that you choose to do that makes all the difference.

 And I thought, so relevant to the blog I am writing: Expertise or exposure!

 Here comes part II of the blog!

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 Why has the “expertise” oriented education system got to change?

 Expertise, coated with love and humane considerations leads to social transformation. Expertise driven by ego, desire for “exclusivity”, control and domination lead to human divisions: The “haves” and “have-nots”.

 In the name of building great competence thru “expertise” the world has shifted to glorifying “competition” as greatest value for mankind!

The myth that “life is competitive” has caused more problems for humanity than any other belief. Today this stupid idea is sown into the mind of a youngster very early in life and perpetuated thru out. Everyone is anxiously managing “competition”.

Students compete- we have competitive exams, at every level of education, to find the “BEST”!  Toppers pump the air: the air of superiority complex just gets more polluted; Adult’s compete- as professionals- “Are you the no.1 in sales, in achievement, in the office, the industry, in your field”? The chest puffs up, and sensitivity takes a nosedive! 

Social systems compete- especially in India: are you forward- or backward –or most backward? Political scores get settled temporarily, permanent scars of discrimination are inflicted. Nations compete- who is ahead in the arms race, which nation is edging- out –whom in the nuclear race? In reactive patriotism thousands take to the streets, screaming aloud slogans …against someone, some nation, some religion. Human empathy, understanding and soulfulness are silenced.

Granted, that expertise has created amazing developments in technology contributing to greater comforts. But the drive of “one up-man ship”- stemming from expertise- has caused distance, difference, barriers and anxiety to the human race. It has perpetuated this myth that the journey of life is competitive! This has made us hasty, greedy, and arrogant. In the process we have lost on human sensitivity, care and true awareness.

 The truth is:  life is collaborative; our very existence is collaborative… Why are we blind to this?

All elements of the whole eco-system of life are interdependent on one another. These days there is such an awakening- across the world- to the challenges on the “environment”. There are tremendous efforts that are made to protect and save the greenery, the forests, the mountains, the waters, the sky, the purity of air, the wild life, the birds…and the ocean…and so on.

 We need to conserve wild life, it is such an important agenda (and rightly so), but do we not need to conserve BEING HUMAN too? Poor human being, it seems, is not part of the environment. He is missed out. 

Who will “Con-serve” or consciously – serve the HUMAN species? Or should we just let it get divided, decimated, and die?

 WE need an agenda to conserve human species- to evolve as a loving, caring, collaborating race. We need deeper appreciation of diversity of people, wider perspective of their cultures and histories, greater accommodation for the lesser mortals, inclusivity of a higher order across borders…realization of the truth that “we all are but one, fundamentally”.

Such an attitude calls for a differently focused education. Along with knowledge and specialization in “subjects”, it needs to impart to the students and children a great degree of sensitivity as a human being: an urge to develop a larger heart, an interest to provide place for the “others”, an opportunity to provide more reasons to celebrate together! It should evolve as a system that has greater focus on “collaboration” than competition.

This is the belief system that is missing in our minds today. If we make the human beings more caring, more sensitive we will have a world where there is more of giving than of getting; More of sharing “what I have”, than a tendency to anxiously, aggressively, violently secure and protect  “my possessions”. Then expertise would lead to wholesomeness in understanding the journey of life, not just create exclusivity for some section or segment of population. 

The new education theme has to be inclusivity. The perspective it builds for the students should be on celebration of differences. The exposure to the realities of   “larger human population” than the mere focus of “expertise on subjects”: Exposure to the wide-ranging human contexts and cultures, exposure to the varying shades of human realities, exposure to the richness of Human diversity…

I will restate my desire or hope once again!

We need an education system that does not make us better in the “competitive rat race” but a wholesome one that makes all of us far more sensitive, compassionate and truly caring towards the human race!


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