Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

1.         After the death of a goldsmith and heavy financial loses, the wife of the goldsmith instructed her son to sell her gold necklace to his uncle’s shop in exchange of money. When the boy took the necklace to his uncle’s shop the uncle denied saying that the “market is not good right now” and advised him to sell the necklace later, when the boy’s mother can get a better price for it.  His uncle instead offered him a job at his shop so that he could earn some money to support his family.  From the next day the boy started to work at his uncle’s shop and learn the work of examining jewels.  Gradually, the boy became really good in examining the jewels and finding their exact value.   One day his uncle told him to bring the necklace his mother intended to sell.  The boy went home and examined the necklace and found that it was fake.  Next day the boy did not take the necklace to his uncle.  When he reached the shop, his uncle enquired about the necklace.  The boy questioned his uncle. “Uncle when you knew that the necklace is fake why did you say to bring it back when the market is good”.  To which the goldsmith replied.  “ When the first time you brought that necklace to me you had no knowledge of jewels and were broke.  If at that time, I would have told you that the necklace is fake, you would have thought that I was trying to cheat you, But now when you have knowledge of jewels you know its fake.”

2.         Knowledge and education are the two sides of a coin as both are correlated to each other.  Education is a formal process acquired through institutions like School, Colleges and University while knowledge is an informal learning  gained from real life experiences. So knowledge is infinite & inherent in a man, no knowledge comes from outside, its all inside.  While education is limited and defines the way you spend your life.  It is what a person needs to live.  Therefore, the more a person educates himself, the more knowledgably he becomes.  And the more knowledge a person becomes, the more he will be capable to educate himself, better and deeper.  In simple words knowledge can take you out of dense forest while education can help you in surviving the forest.

3.         Education’s purpose isn’t only to provide you with necessary knowledge to pass academic tests. It helps an individual to develop opinion, make career moves, bring confidence in his abilities, and strengthen character. It lays the groundwork to become a lifelong student.  It helps us to identify our passions and teaches to stay committed to them.

4.         An educated mind is an invaluable tool to help achieve global goals, ensure human rights, and truly change lives. Education is the most powerful weapon against  inequality in society.  Regardless of casts, color, region, religion, and sex it improves lives of the people. Skilled and educated workers make more money. Education gives people the ability to secure stable careers in turn benefit a country’s GDP and spinning the entire economy, which is crucial as we emerge from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Education has the power to boost health of the society.  Access to education and better paid jobs enable people to purchase healthy meals, spend time cooking meals and exercising.

5.         The Sustainable Development goal Target 2030 calls for ensuring completion of primary and secondary education by all boys and girls and guaranteeing equal access to opportunities for access to quality, technical and vocational education to everyone. The country has made positive stands for education reforms in the form of New Education Policy ensuring, multidisciplinary and holistic education, focus on the formative years of learning focus on creativity, ethics, human & constitutional values, promotion of multilingualism and power of language, emphasis on online pedagogy and equitable and inclusive education. Moreover, the flagship government scheme, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan is aimed at achieving universal quality education and lifelong learning and is complimented in this effort by targeted schemes on nutritional support, higher education & teacher training.

6.         The education system of Kashmir has suffered drastically from the frequent terror attacks, people living in constant fear, stone pelting youths and no significant industrial and economic development. The local communication shutdowns, frequent lockdowns, shortage of infrastructure and qualified teachers and less private investment in education has constantly deprived the students to perform fairly on a pan Indian level. However, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act introduced by the home minister got the President’s assent on 06 Aug, 2019. The act came as a blessing for the Education system in the two Union Territories. The Right to Education Act, 2019 has been extended to the Union Territories which focus on free and compulsory education to children up to the age of 14. The Abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A will ensure more private investment and opening of better national level institutes. Education system will drastically improve as now teachers from all over India can teach and settle here.

7.         However, it’s a sad reality that the country today has millions of people who have not received the key of education to the door of a better life.  Major hurdles are yet to be crossed in form of lack of infrastructure, poor global ranking institutes, gender issues gap between education provided and industry required education, costly higher education, inadequate government funding and COVID-19 Pandemic.

8.         A holistic approach to education with investment of at least 6% of GDP, innovative solutions to learning, teacher training, PPP model & Inclusive education system will go a long way in solving the problems.

Maj Sanat Kondal

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