Thougths

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows

This quote by Sydney J. Harris seems very puzzling and worth giving a second and deeper thought. The reason is very obvious. Education, as we have been hearing of, always relates to things like books, schools, colleges, degrees, jobs, etc. Thus, glancing at this quote on education which talks about education as a means to replace mirror into windows is quite bewildering in the first place. So, let us dip deeper into the terms like mirrors and windows in the context of this interesting quote and see if something wonderful comes out.
When we stand in front of the mirror and see ourselves by the formation of the reflected light from our body, we are alone and it is merely us who are looking into ourselves. All that we see is our haircut, see if there are pimples on our chicks, the marks on our bodies, if any, our dress and a whole bunch of other external information about ourselves that simply helps us to conclude how do we look externally- whether black or white, whether thin or fat, whether sleepy or fresh, whether our hairs are in order or not and so on. On the contrary, if we stand in front of the window and look beyond it, interestingly, we are looking everything other than ourselves this time that is present or the incidents occurring around us. We see people loving and hating each other, we see children playing or crying, maybe because they are hurt or they are hungry, we see people enjoying their success, people grieving for their failure, poor people, rich people, honest people, dishonest people and so on, that enrich our knowledge of the world we live in and adds to our experiences. Moreover, we tend to get inspired by the good experiences while learning from the bad ones.
Thus, we realize that looking into the mirror prevents us to know what is more important and that which is going to create a difference in our lives. Just at looking into mirrors we can never conclude how we are as a person, our strengths, our weaknesses, our interests, our talents, our successes, our failures and a lot more shuttle information about ourselves that would actually help us to evolve over time, making us a man of value. So these words by Sydney J. Harris are, therefore, very much contemplative and it seems like posing questions unto us apart from gesturing the bonafide motivation of education into our mind. “Do we really feel that education is the movement from darkness to light? If so, do we venture these words into our lives and how is it that this cognizance is making a difference in our lives? If not, what is our sentiment towards this very purpose of education? Why do we envisage people to prioritize education?”
As an Indian, I would be more interested in reflecting at Indian system of education to arrive at a conclusion and therefore an answer to the shuttle questions raised by Sydney J. Harris in his famous and very appropriate quote.
The first question now is effortless to answer. Yes, we do feel that education is the movement from darkness to light. The reasons for such a confident answer is abundant. We hear people around us talking about poor literacy rates in India and the political leaders showing concerns for the poor number of students turning up for schooling.
Subsequently, the next question becomes very obvious and really important. Starting from learning the alphabets to the primary education, continuing through secondary education and ending in some kind of jobs after the college. This is the overall story of the majority of the youth today. This reflects the difference between knowing what to do and actually doing that thing.
The biggest culprit, I feel, is the society in which we live. The Indian society appreciates and infers a child’s talent and ability through his annual academic report, through college/institute that he belongs to and to the job profile he possesses. There are lesser number of parents who actually appreciates and prioritizes their child’s interest rather than following the trend and the mindset of the society as a whole. Why it has to be necessary that a student interested in music or dance or any particular sports has to keep his interest aside and opt for what society accepts such as engineering, medical or government jobs. This does nothing more than reducing his contribution to the society. At other times, a student might be economically stricken enough to pursue his interest or very often he might not be willing to. These are often helpless reasons, no doubt, but still, an attempt has to be initiated to bring about changes. The definition of education has to be extended to beyond earning academic degrees. The aim of education should be such that it should affect people around us positively apart from bringing good to ourselves only. If we would look into the analogy of the mirror and the window, we would find similar inferences. When we look ourselves into the mirror and see, for example, few pimples on our chicks and get worried. Sooner, rather than later, we would take remedial steps including applying some facial creams on it, or, at other instance, we might see our hairstyle slightly strayed away and we can organize it in due course of time. The realization is that mirror will always reflect upon the external and temporary issues only, if any, but not on the shuttle ones that are actually going to help us and the society we live in, on a long run. This is where the importance of the purpose of education creeps in. It gives us, better say, it should give us the knowledge, opportunities, and understanding to become a man of character along with a man of value.
Thus, converting mirror into windows would link us with the global world and all of us in the ecosystem would be benefited. In a conclusion, the system of education should be such that it should be more inclined towards building character and spreading positivism rather than making it a single window system for employment and recognition.

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