LIFESTYLE : Educated or Merely Literate

Education in the country, and the world over, needs to move away from just gathering degrees and job skills. Parents and family members should take this responsibility upon themselves to make the younger generation a genuinely educated one.

All over the world people are espousing the cause of universal education. But do they mean education or are they merely talking about literacy and bookish knowledge? Does being able to recite innumerable passages from memory make you educated or is something more needed? If you hold a degree from the top management or engineering institute of the country but do not think twice about cheating your employer, do you deserve to be called educated? One would think not.

While there is no denying that literacy is an integral part of education, one cannot stop at that. Lessons in empathy, kindness and other human values are as important. Having a civic and social consciousness speaks more of true education than the degrees framed by the mantelpiece.

When people in government jobs ask for bribes for the smallest of work, are they educated? When a top corporate honcho abuses his wife physically, is he educated? When the parents of an IIT graduate ask for dowry for their sonís hand in marriage, who is educated? When you send your child to the best private school but employ a 10 year old for your housework, can you call yourself educated? When you spend in thousands to keep your house clean but think nothing of throwing your garbage on the road, are you truly educated?

Education in the country, and the world over, needs to move away from just gathering degrees and job skills. The need is to develop a social consciousness in children form the primary years itself. And this cannot happen just by sending oneís child to the best of schools. Parents and family members should take this responsibility upon themselves to make the younger generation a genuinely educated one.

This, of course, does not mean endless preaching and lectures. Tell them stories where good wins over evil, stories with morals at the end. And most importantly, teach by example. From little things like not using foul language to big ones like always being honest in your dealings, from saying sorry if you are wrong to helping someone just because you can Ė show your children that you are a good person and happy about it. Show them how little things in life like saying please and thank you can make a difference. Indulge your children, but make them aware of their limits. Encourage their talents, but dissuade vanity. If we want to call ourselves really educated, the way we do things ourselves need to change. We need to give as much importance to moral growth as to passing exams with top grades. We need to be move on from being merely literate, to genuinely educated.