Category Archives: Education

Think and Grow Rich Principle 1 Exercise – Desire

Topic: Desire

  • Burning Desire
  • Definite Purpose
  • Burning All Bridges
  • What’s at Stake
  • Convince Yourself that You Will Have It
  • Change the World
  • Look for Opportunities
  • Use Your Imagination
  • Listen Beyond Your Physical Senses

Actions:

  1. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire
  2. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire (there is no such reality as something for nothing)
  3. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire
  4. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action
  5. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
  6. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ – SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.

 

 

Altruism versus Individualism

There are different paradigms to look at this issue. One of the paradigms is from Sociology. A paradigm of Sociology is that the Society exists for the Individual, rather than vice versa. The society exists for the individual to prosper. A stable, developed society may be beneficial for everyone and it appears that society comes above the individual. However, it is still the Individual that matters. Society collectively exists so that each member benefits by co-existing. Nation is a formal structure given to the society. The laws for the proper functioning of the Nation exist categorically, where a society exists because of traditions. The principles that make a Society exist are abstract. For the societal norms to become laws, they have to be documented so that they become statutory laws.
The other paradigm that exists is from Ayn Rand’s book Fountainhead. In her books, Ayn Rand talks about the inherent Selfishness of the Individual. She appears to endorse Selfishness, as it is a fact of life by my interpretation of her.
The Individual is almost always at war with the Society. An individual grows by responding to the stimuli. The individual has desires which may be morally acceptable or unacceptable. But in a social structure, the actions of the individual are governed and limited by social standards. What may be morally right for one person may be morally wrong for another. However, both sides have to agree to the civil or statutory law. The statutory law in this case may in favour of one, or the other; or it may be a compromise. In any case, certain elements feel disadvantaged. A law in favour of A may make B feel disadvantaged and vice versa. A compromised law may in different situations, on different occasions may make one or both parties disadvantaged. A compromise may appear like appeasement. Appeasement of A and B may make another element C completely sidelined by A and B.
Statutory laws that are accepted unanimously relate to public infrastructure. Laws that maintain a smooth flow of traffic are universally liked, no matter if you are A or B or C. A driver driving a car follows the same rule whether they are A, B, C or D. A pedestrian crossing the road has to wait for the pedestrian signal to turn green whether they are of group A, B, C or D.
The Nation is defined by its ideology – Democratic, Secular, Christian, Islamic etc. Ideologies that define Governance encompass Religion. That is when they are effective. In other words, they are effective when they are implemented by looking at the human needs of the society rather than ethnic or religious. They are effective when there is no preferential treatment to one group over another – whether the group in question is a majority group or minority. The ideal situation may never occur where everything is black and white for everyone. The Nation still has to stick to its national ideology for it to be considered a Nation.

Does Better Education Mean a Better Nation?

When I ask the question ‘does better education mean a better nation’, it leads to a further question, ‘What do we mean by better?’ There is no simple and unique answer. Everywhere in the world, there exist schools to suit every socio-economic class. There are expensive schools for those who can afford, and free schools for those who struggle financially. There are elite curricula and there are curricula for the masses.

Among the criteria for parents to make their children’s schooling decision is the local or international acceptance of the school curriculum. A parent, while enrolling their children in the school is more concerned about the future of the child than that of the nation that they live in. If better education and better future is available in a foreign country, it is natural for them to overlook their national pride and let the child travel the seven seas for a better future.

I have a graduate degree in Electronic Engineering and a masters in Information Systems. If I were to get a second shot at life, I would probably study Social Sciences, or Creative Arts. When I look back, every decision early in my education led to engineering as a final destination. Based on what was available in the country I grew up in, in the society that I belonged to, it was the in thing to do engineering. After studying electronics, the next in thing was to study Information Technology. The world around me was designed for me to follow these pathways.

International education introduced me to an international crowd, as well as diverse Indian crowd. My university had students from all over the world. No matter where you came from, you had to have a certain prerequisite educational level, a certain excellence in your own country, to play on a level playing field where your national or ethnic background didn’t matter. Not everyone that I knew had a background similar to mine.  It was an eyeopener for me to know how broad the world was and how much knowledge there was for us to explore. Even among my fellow Indians there were no clear criteria to pinpoint why someone chose to study what they did. Everyone’s inherent interest, family background, and various factors unknown to me made them choose their course of study. At the university, different people scored better or worse with no direct correlation to whether they had an advantage or disadvantage because of their national, ethnic, socioeconomic or academic background. ‘Each person dealt with the evaluation criteria best to their own ability’ is the only thing I could deduct from my observation.

Did anyone have a better education compared to another? Across the spectrum, everyone was the same. There were A-grade students from remotest corners of the world and there were A grade students from economically developed worlds. At the end of their graduation, all were qualified achievers with the name of the university as the only common factor. Again, years after graduation, everyone’s struggle was different. After leaving the university, some people struggled, some did not – some struggled less, some more! Everyone went to different corners of the world and had their own individual experiences. The countries that they went to after graduating didn’t end up becoming better countries overnight. Some countries probably even ended up worse off, maybe for political or socioeconomic reasons.

Every faculty at the university prepared its students to a future structure of that particular field. What every student did after entering that particular workforce was their individual effort. People who made contribution to their field based whether on their intelligence or on their hard work excelled irrespective of the geography. I am sure their workplaces benefited from their contribution. Better education in this sense for me, is a combination of individual’s personal ability, their professionalism, backed by their qualification.

The second half of the title refers to ‘better nations’. A better nation in my view is a nation with a strong economy, strong infrastructure, strong system of government and a productive and healthy population among the most important factors. In a nation with democracy, the power lies with the people. A stable nation is one which helps its people benefit by virtue of its citizens’ contribution so that those very citizens can be instrumental in supporting and strengthening the nation that created them. A nation with a strong government, strong infrastructure, strong economy provides education to its people to reinforce all these strengths. It educates them in strong governance, strong economy and strong infrastructure. It creates competent social scientists, legal experts, architects, engineers and doctors.

An individual alone cannot build a nation. A nation cannot become strong without capable people. I feel that it goes both ways. A nation needs strong leadership. Strong leadership of a nation makes the population productive. Most importantly strong leadership also knows the pulse of the people. It requires education that resonates between the leadership and its citizens.

At this juncture, I would like to define better education as an education that follows a certain accepted standard. So, an education that has better standard is almost impossible to emerge out of a place which has failed to achieve a socioeconomic standard. In that case, better education needs a better nation, and not the other way around. Better education is a default outcome of better socioeconomic conditions.

Education

Education is one of the most important aspects of the development of the Human Society. In fact, it is the earliest influencer on a human being outside their family. Education is what prepares us for the society. Education lays the foundation for our survival skills. Literacy Skills and Numeracy Skills lay the foundation for our ongoing education in social skills. Language skills teach us to read, write and speak. Numeracy skills help us survive in the world of numbers and the world of money. Money is a means of survival, as it is the medium of transaction.

In the early human beings, education was not a structured phenomenon. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it Education, since learning wasn’t structured in the early human beings. It was just Learning. We just acquired the skills of various trades from the experts, or the parents as early humans. Education is about Learning, but Learning by itself isn’t Education. At best, the unstructured Learning of the early humans, to some extent, happened because of Training. But it wasn’t education.

What is Education then? The basic paradigm of Education, as the educationists define it, is fulfilling the Instructional Gap. Let us say, the subject (the learner) is at a level X of certain competency; and they are expected to be at another competency level called Y. So there is a gap called (Y-X) that exists for that person. This gap called the Instructional Gap, is fulfilled by designing a Courseware, or a Curriculum. Developing the learner’s competency by implementing the curriculum, is what is called Education.

Generally speaking school education is the basic social education, whereby the individual steps into the real world created by humans. It is the world which works on Money. It works on exchange of goods which we need for survival, luxury and various other purposes. In the early days of humanity, we only needed skills required for food, clothing and shelter during our hunter / gatherer days. However when we discovered organized farming, we discovered the ways to live in a community or a society. And my assumption is that, that is the time we started to think as a species. We started to think creatively. We started to think of things other than just survival, i.e. food, clothing and shelter. The animal-like life, which is perhaps instinctive and inherent to us, wasn’t the way to go in the organized social structure. Organised farming involved use of animals. It involved inventing newer tools for farming. We discovered ways of using metals for designing the tools. We discovered ways of cutting wood, designing stone tools (not necessarily in that order). When we had excess produce, we learned to barter with others. We found more time to ourselves and we found creative ways of entertaining ourselves. We invented arts. We learned languages. We learned to communicate. And we found ways of standard practices for the society to work in a homogeneous manner. This needed for us to know the social skills, tool making skills, productivity skills; and thus arose the need for Education.

Education isn’t just about learning at an individual level, but it is about learning at a mass level. When a curriculum is implemented, though every individual is expected to achieve its outcomes, it is implemented at a mass level – so that a group of individuals achieves the same outcome(s). Thus we get a bunch of people (society) thinking alike. And thus, we have achieved Education, rather than just skill training.

Education isn’t about teaching, it is about Learning. The outcomes of a course are the Learning Outcomes. It is not about whether the teacher has taught. It is about whether the learner has learnt. And thus, we have a society that’s educated – i.e. people who think like a modern man. So Education is an integral aspect of the modern society, or the civilized world.