Like all children I spend about six hours of my day in a huge building called school. And like all children I too spend my time studying (try mugging up) all the subjects we had for tiresome exams. What I soon realized many of the things I learnt were not going to be of any use to me once the exams were done. We all studied history, a subject that made up to be an interesting read but definitely not one for mugging up. It not only had complex names and events but also dates and figures and maps which we were expected to memorize in a parrot fashion. What irked me and my classmates was we were never going to actually need those facts.
We are in the 21st century and were learning about people who had lived no lesser than 1000 years ago. As far as we were concerned, they weren’t affecting or going to ever affect us. When it was my parents turn to help me revise for my exams I found something else. They had learnt the same things and had completely forgotten them too, as they were of absolutely no use to them! If it wasn’t useful for my parents or my grandparent how is our generation ever going to need it?
Another thing was literature. I know this isn’t taught in every school in the world and definitely not the way I am taught in my school, but in schools in India it is a compulsory subject. We have a story or an extract and have to remember the words and their meanings which we are expected to rattle off in the exams exactly as they were given. And we have to remember which character spoke what lines, and numerous intricate details that are not in any way important to the story. Even the questions about the story were given to us with answers dictated by the teachers. And that was exactly what we have to write.
We are taught geography, where we don’t learn how the earth forms it’s layers and how nature creates beautiful landscapes but we learn how to draw free-hand maps of countries while marking what type of forests it has in what region. And that too has to be precise. That squiggle across Africa- well,the last curve was too long, and lo and behold you can lose marks for that!
And the list goes on… From handwriting practice to memorizing pages of answers word to word to mugging up the periodic table. This is what we were being taught at school.
All of this was by no means preparing us for life. Schools are still following old, seriously outdated curriculum. What they added was just more pressure to get perfect scores (we were judged more by our scores than what we learned at all). Each year we went over the same facts again and again with more futile details. Schools should prepare us with stuff necessary for us in the real world. It should help us with our strengths and weaknesses, our characters and help us blossom into well rounded humans not hammer parrot rote memorization in our minds. The times are changing and with it the requirements do too, and for us to fulfill those requirements, school has to change.
We no longer live in the era where everyone was expected to learn the same thing and go into some safe job. We are in the era of bold choices where we need to find our own voices. Schools promote everyone to think in the same way instead of interpreting in their own unique ways.
Schools should change their subjects into subjects that are more relevant to the times. Nowadays, in schools technology studies with robots and other machines should replace history. History, should be merged with other subjects and contain only the briefest of the needed information.
Art and music should find its place in the curriculum as it promotes other skills and lets us use our own creative views. Schools should be able to provide us with as much experience in different activities as possible. Technology and science should be advanced to levels needed.
Overall, I think the modern school curriculum is outdated and needs to be revised. It hasn’t been changed much in the last 60 years or so but they need to. They have to be changed to provide the best education for today’s generation. At present we are concerned too much about being part of the crowd. We need to allow students to stand out of everyone and find their strengths and weaknesses. Schools should have levels in every subject that allow them to blossom and grow into their best. Even making someone go up in a class early for certain subjects should be allowed. That way everyone will be able to do their best and will be prepared for life, and after all that is exactly what schools are meant for.
As Einstein rightly said “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”