The Platform


“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

The pandemic and the subsequent shift to digital learning have accentuated the need for increased efforts towards larger educational accessibility, quality, and affordability, central to education under the broader purview of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

A fundamental source of tension in the contemporary paradigm of the education system stems from the fact that education systems have historically served two primary purposes. Firstly, education has sought to impart knowledge and skills in the larger pursuit of shared concepts of identity and citizenship.

However, with the rapid passage of time and the advent of globalization, the parameter of a quantitative assessment of educational ability has become much more pronounced, especially given the Indian context. This could be encapsulated in the “sorting,” function by renowned Indian economist Karthik Muralidharan.

Several think tanks and multi-advocacy organizations are avidly working towards bringing about transparency and accountability in education through extensive training programmes for enhancing the skills of both teachers and students, in the larger context of the 21st century.

A 2017 UNICEF report emphasized the need to address the glaring and persistent gender gap in education, the lack of educational opportunities and participation, and laxity in the alignment of curriculum through national development policies. Many advocates are demanding a wider engagement of the youth, by broadening the philanthropic purview of their roles thereby bringing about an educational symphony that caters to all.

Invoking the critical understanding of education in both formal and non-formal sectors, as laid out by the World Education Forum in 2007, through equitable access to expanded learning and life skill programmes could be considered an alternative by the youth through the creation of human resources to accentuate infrastructural faculties and larger adult and student employment in the age bracket of 18-24 to foster a general sense of scholastic empowerment.

In the Indian context, the term “education,” has been confronted with a narrow orientation, as manifested in a recent article I wrote for the Times of India, entitled “The Educational System and its Pitfalls,” delving into how the existing framework of education constricts the periphery of lateral thought, thereby stifling natural human instincts. This, coupled with the widespread flow of negative outcomes of technology mostly through social media has to be curtailed by none other than its consumers, especially in the wake of instances of misinformation and disinformation. Through extensive youth awareness campaigns together with the responsible role of the media, such impediments could be done away with.

It can never be denied that the reason behind contemporary education gaining dynamic roots across different parts of the world is largely due to the tireless endeavours of young people who strive relentlessly to carve out a world order, guided by a fundamental distinction between “mere literacy levels,” and “wider connotation of education,” in the larger pursuit of excellence.

However, there has to be a wider consensus among the people in general who should support and encourage these initiatives, rather than emphasizing the narrative of age and experience to fulfill not only the Millennium Development Goals but further the core values preached by education.

Ainesh Dey is an incoming freshman at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Ainesh's interests include diplomacy, foreign policy, advocacy and regulatory affairs in light of a rapidly changing sequence of events and a dramatic shift in the geopolitical equilibrium.