Education: The Neo-Middle Class Obsession
Education is what remains in you after you’ve forgotten everything that you’ve studied. This famous quote stresses on the values that proper education would inculcate in humans. But this ideological perception of education has become obsolete in the 21st century. Value based education is like a foster child after education has become a commodity. The perception and purpose of education, in the modern world, has shrunk into viable means of accumulation of information and knowledge which ultimately leads to a better job. Education as investment is completely perceived in the materialistic point of view at present.
Among the class sectarianism based on economy, the middle class is the most obsessed lot with education. Education in the current trend has become the most lucrative business than any other. The fee quoted for the quality education has made good education a rare privilege only for those who are capacious to afford to. (Let us not turn our focus on the quality of current education for it is not the subject of interest of this article.)
Education became more accessible to commoners in India during the 70s. Since then literacy rate of independent India is only ascending. Many of whom who were by then lower class and also were first generation learners, found education as the sole mean of their family well being. Through the ladder of education they were able to claim from their strata to the next level in the societal pyramid. Hence the middle class has developed a firm and unflinching belief that the prosperity of their generation could only be realized through education. This is in fact one of the most important mindsets of the middle class.
The obsession of the parents is only imposed upon their children, and recent years the academic pressure over students has risen at an alarming level. Without understanding the individual differences of the kids or their talents and skill sets invariably every child is expected to excel in academics. This parental and societal expectation has put an enormous pressure on kids.
Studies show this educational pressure is not alike across the globe. Instead this is more prevalent in countries, especially the developing nations, with more middle class demographic. In Asian region this academic pressure is experienced at an unprecedented level among students in India, China and South Korea. The striking commonality among these nations is that they are all rapidly growing nations and are becoming the world economic hubs. This results in more job opportunities for the efficient candidates. Thus every middle class parent is desperate to get the best available education in the reputed institutions, where a mere entry assures a job to pupil on completion of the course. Education is the biggest wealth that every middle class parent is able to afford to his son or daughter for their financially secured and prosperous future.
Being a teacher I often get complaints from parents about their kids’ lack of attention in academics. Though I would assure them of helping the pupils to get over with it, in my heart I know the root of this ever existing problem. The pressure laid on education has killed the joy of learning, where everything should primarily be learnt to quench the thirst of an inquisitive young mind. In current education system, the curricula are exclusively designed as per job market needs and it is force fed to all children. This has a repulsive effect on the children. These fragile hearts are unable to tackle the parental pressure, peer pressure and the societal pressure all at once.
Mr. Jang, a resident in Beijing and a father of an 11 year old girl had found his daughter copying her home work from her friend rather than working it herself. Despite her father’s repeated cautions she went on with her easy method of completing her works. Last Monday Jang found her copying again and lost his patience. He made his daughter kneel with her hands tied at the back and start to beat her heavily. Shortly after, she was admitted to hospital where she eventually died on the next day. This shocking PTI news also points out the sharp raise in physical abuses of the children among Chinese parents.
This is not a healthy trend.