Equality of access to quality education and to all sources of knowledge is a human right as without it fundamental human mind cannot reach its full potential.
If there is one thing that determines the future trajectory and fate of nations, that is the right kind of education. It is the vehicle through which people’s talents are unleashed and skills developed and upon which success of individuals and nations depends. But unless we are clear in our mind what is the goal of education we will not be able to devise the right strategy, policy and plan and get the desired results.
First step then is to define “education”. What education is NOT:
It is not simply literacy or the three Rs traditionally associated with it—Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, rather these are just the building blocks and initial steps towards attaining the ultimate goal.
It is not simply a set of skills to perform certain tasks efficiently and with competence like becoming a doctor, engineer, car mechanic or plumber etc.
It is not just knowing and memorizing certain facts about various subjects like history, astronomy, physics etc.
Education should not be simply a desire and vehicle to get the best paying jobs in the marketplace, neither should it be up for sale for the highest paying customers.
So, the question arises, what is education? We believe that education is:
Broadening of the mind.
Cultivation of interest to learn.
Developing analytical skills and critical thinking.
Desire to search for truth.
Creativity and out of box thinking.
Developing tolerance for different opinions, faiths and ideologies.
Becoming intellectually, emotionally and socially connected with one’s environment and being able to influence it positively.
It is not wisdom but it is a road to achieving wisdom.
A road to deliberate and thoughtful living and not just making a living.
And above all to be a good human being, sensitive and empathetic to others’ plight, and be willing to help.
The opposite side of the coin is that lack of education is not simply absence of reading or writing ability. It has much more serious and far reaching consequences. It leads to disempowerment and exclusion of people from decision making, exclusion from political discourse, and inability to effectively participate in democratic process. An illiterate person also has no access to information as they cannot read newspapers, books and any other printed or on-line material. No person can reach their full potential without education.
Seen from this perspective an educated mind is indispensable not only for individual progress but also that of society, and it becomes state’s responsibility to ensure equal access of all citizens to quality education.