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Acharya Prashant: The first question that a teacher must ask himself is, “What does he mean by change? Is he going to teach the habitual subjects, the habitual ways? Is he going to prepare the student to become another social machine? Right?
It seems that the end result of all habitual teaching is nothing but the production of a human being who fits in nicely in the social machine.
Let’s try to see. Let’s try to understand what is it, that we are producing in our classrooms.
There is the activity of teaching going on. It starts when the student is how many years old? “When the process of teaching starts? How old is the child when his teaching process starts?”
Listener: Five years.
AP: Right. Organize teaching?
L: Three or four years.
AP: 3 years or 4 four years. And goes on till the age of?
L: Till the death.
AP: Organise teaching?
AP: Twenty to twenty-five.
Let’s see clearly that a period of at least twenty years is being dedicated to the student who is emerging out of our education system. Are we one of this? Are we clear on this? For twenty years, the time has come to prepare a student who eventually comes out of our system as a product.
Now, what are we doing? Are we acting as suppliers? Please be attentive because we are trying to understand what is meant by saying are we preparing a child to be a cog in our social machine. We want to understand what does it mean? Twenty years we teach him and what is happening twenty years later?
We are supplying to the child back to the society. Correct? So it enters us in a process and then he leaves us and then he enters the society. Right? The society wants a certain kind of output from the teacher. Is that true?
AP: The society wants a certain kind of output from the teacher that becomes such and such personality. Right? And what is the teacher doing? The teacher is supplying to the society what it wants from the teacher.
So, for example when I am coming to KIMT. There is this utter chaos on road. There was a crossing at between. Just to pay out twenty minutes, to dedicate. And the scene was utterly chaotic. Is it not a product of our education system who is responsible for building that flyover? Is it not a product of our education system who is responsible for managing that traffic?
The man on the street he is not dropping from an alien world. He is coming from our classrooms, correct?
Are we one on that? I am not talking about the illiterate ones because maybe they are spared-guys. I am talking about the bulk of cities population and Moradabad city if you look at it would have a literacy rate of not less than eighty to ninety percent. The literacy rate in the country has themselves touched seventy-five percent. Every year, the literacy rate increases.
Eighty to ninety percent of this city’s population has emerged from our classrooms. Is that true? If there is chaos on the road. Has that chaos suddenly come up? The same student who is in our classroom moves into the society, moves into the road, moves as a person responsible for making that flyover and managing that the traffic and for driving the vehicles. “Is this not coming as an output from our classroom, yes?”
And he does all that, that we see in the world around us. But then probably that is also what the society expects from us? And the teacher is performing that role.
Are we aware in our everyday functions that we are acting as a supplier to the general needs of the society? In some way are we aware? That the question that the author is asking us. Then are we aware that we are acting as agents of society? Agents to whom the society hands over its kids and demands that they’ve been given a certain mind, a certain personality. And after twenty years we hand them back to society. That you gave us a child and we made him as you want to and now we returned it to you.
We think of education, especially technical education, as something that is totally separate from Life. We do not see that every moment, every single action, every single word that is been uttered in the classroom within the campus is responsible for shaping up the student.
~ Acharya Prashant speaking at a ShabdYoga session KIMT, Moradabad on 24th March 2012
Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant, with teachers: Are you the suppliers for society’s demands? The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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