We all go to school to get ‘educated’. We all ‘learn’ something in school. Before we try to analyse whether today’s educational system is inclined towards ‘skill development’ or ‘holistic personality development’, we must ask ourselves- what is education?
Education is the process of learning that facilitates acquirement of knowledge and enables development. Skill development is the process of developing those skills that help us perform those various complex jobs that we have to, in life. And holistic personality development is the process of developing those qualities and perspectives that make sure our ‘skills’ are humane and useful to others.
The need for a holistic education system is definitely gaining a lot of supporters in the current world. Parents want their children to not just acquire a set of skills, but learn to use them in a way productive to the various causes of humanity. The definitions of terms such as ‘success’ and ‘ambition’ are sincerely being re-evaluated. No more is success just pure profit for the self. If personal gain comes at the cost of another, or cost of a greater good, it is not considered to be success. In simpler terms, it is now seen as how much you give to the society, instead of how much you take from it.
‘Learning’ has also taken a new dimension. Einstein in one of his speeches, on the role of school in development, says that it is more important to teach how to ‘acquire a skill’ than to teach the skill itself.
What is the point of learning in rote the mere contents of a textbook? Thirty years back, knowing facts and historical points, and being on the know-how of something may have been a cool skill. Today, all it takes is a single google search! The world is changing at a pace so fast that the skill set required to adapt to the contemporary necessities is almost never constant. Therefore, more than putting pressure on children to excel in one particular skill, it is better to teach children how to learn a skill, because the skills that you teach them today may not really be needed tomorrow.
To conclude, today’s education is shifting towards a more holistic system than a mere skill development process, due to the increasing relevance of exponential technological advancements, and also seeing the world from a humanitarian perspective that can help in tackling many of the current global problems that we face today.