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17 Feb

“Our lives and future depend on what job we get, how much we earn and in understanding that we need jobs to pay for our daily needs”, said Rahul’s father. This was the same line that Rahul had been hearing his dad say for the past few weeks, from the time that he had plucked up the strength and courage to tell his father that he did not want to study after his class 12th examinations.

He had tried to explain to his father that the formal education system did not help him understand and learn concepts and that a self-learning was better suited for him. Unfortunately, his father being a traditionalist only heard that his son wanted to stop studying and sit at home and do nothing. According to his father, it was unheard of that a boy in a family did not work and chose to stay home. What would society think? Rahul, on the other hand, tried to reason with his father that finishing his 12th standard and doing offbeat and interesting online courses or learning by himself would not stop him from getting a good job in the future. Rahul decided to show his dad that it was possible to stop going to college for a formal education and still continue to learn.

As Rahul looked through books and the internet to explain the difference in a education and learning to his father, he came across a quote by Joi Ito which caught his attention. The quote read, “Education is what people do to you. Learning is what you do for yourself”. He understood that education constituted an extrinsic, passive and curriculum-based system while learning was an intrinsic, active and curiosity-based system that allowed people to acquire knowledge, skills, values, and techniques.

Learning cannot be taught to someone, it has to be observed, experienced and then absorbed which facilitates a stronger memory based uptake of information. Learning has a strong foundation in instinct, and it is this instinct that helps us to imbibe information and behaviors.

Rahul elucidated all the information he had collected to his father, with examples of success stories of famous individuals like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Mukesh Ambani, Mary Kom, Gautam Adani and Azim Premji and even internationally renowned personalities such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg & Steve Jobs. All these individuals stopped formal education, but never stopped learning. In fact, their keen inherent interest in learning is what made them so successful today. As Mark Twain said, “I never let education get in the way of my learning”, Rahul showed his father the vast number of free online courses to learn from.

His father was not aware that anyone could learn anything from astrophysics to art to engineering online and some courses gave certification too. His worries were put to rest when he saw the range of opportunities available and vast categories of subjects to learn. He realized that he too had access to learn things and was happy that he now finally had the opportunity to see what else he could learn. He was delighted to support his son and further even spoke to others regarding understanding that “Finishing or discontinuing formal education was not the same as finishing or discontinuing learning”.

In the last 18 years, Saral Education has been actively engaged with Parents, Teachers, Principals and Professors to broaden our community’s understanding of Education. The 21st century will demand new skills & ideas from our youngsters. Let us remember this truth while building the capacity of students.

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