Big Brother

Unbeknownst to many, a primary school teacher recently filed a petition for “one nation, one education board” to, apparently, end disparity in knowledge dissemination during the formative years of a child. According to the senior advocates representing her, “the current education system under multiple boards did not provide equal opportunity to all, as enshrined under Article 21A of the Constitution. Otherwise, the chasm between rich and poor, reign of terror, events of looting and crimes against women that have taken the form of open threats will continue.”

By drawing a lucid, coherent, logical denouement in the form of the last sentence above, which, as is clear to everyone reading this, arises because of  multiple education boards, these senior advocates have presented an open and shut case to the judiciary.

In 2011, a bench of the Supreme Court had apparently ruled that a common syllabus between the ages of 6 and 14 would help achieve a code of common culture. “Code of common culture”, a transparent and lucid phrase that everyone knows the meaning of. Separate education facilities and syllabi, it is to be understood, are the root cause of inequality in the world.

This petition has galvanised the moribund fight for equality being waged by a few crusaders in a world where people are making choices. Even, horror of horrors, choosing schools and education boards.

Supporters of the petition have encouraged the petitioner to expand its scope and include the provision of equal marks in all subjects for all children. It is a matter of shame that more than seventy years after independence, children continue to get marked on the basis of performance. “Is this the equality that our founding fathers lived and died for?”, has been the rallying cry for supporters of equality.

When a good thing gets rolling, under the weight of its goodness it acquires a momentum that becomes impossible to stop. Committed people, often unsung, will not stop till the job is fully done.  Another group of educators has petitioned that in order that there is no discrimination after passing out from school, all children will get direct entry into college, whether they want it or not.

Different colleges, different courses, different universities, different professors, different teaching and marking styles. Is this equal opportunity? “Is this the equality that our founding fathers lived and died for?”, more people have asked. A petition has been moved to abolish the University Grants Commission (UGC), the apex body responsible for governing institutions of higher learning. All universities will become one university and one college teaching one course in order to eliminate discrimination between students studying in different colleges and universities and promote equal opportunity. Who gave universities and colleges the right to decide their curriculum and agenda? Is it equality? Such antiquated notions. Embarrassing to even read about them now.

And that is not all. Only one teacher will be appointed for teaching. Different teachers could vitiate the environment of equality by giving their students learning based on their own capability and knowledge and commitment. And, of course, everyone will get the same score on every subject they have taken, which, of course, will be the same for everyone.

Of course, no pun intended, the other issue of quality of education will automatically get resolved. With the desirable goal of equality for all, with a single course in a single institution taught by a single teacher, it will obviously be the best programme with none other coming even close. Or even existing. Educational nirvana! It will cease to matter what course they are studying. Or whether they are studying anything as long as everyone is studying nothing in the same way at the same school by the same teacher.

But life does not end with education and learning. Our petitioners know that. They have expeienced life. That is how they have become petitioners. Some may even say that life begins after education.

In order that we abide by the principles of equality for all, it has been petitioned that all bright students who have completed their college education with great results (which means all students) will be employed by the same organisation for the same job. All companies will have the same name and same business and will be allowed to make or lose the same amount of money. No longer will graduates need to strive for better jobs and more money. No longer will some go without jobs. No longer the tyranny of soul-searching to identify their passion and interest for them. Should I become a doctor or an engineer? Should I join the Navy or the Air Force? Should I pursue my passion in music or painting? Over. Finito!

And they will get exactly the same pay. For doing exactly the same thing. Or exactly the same nothing. And they will all wake up at the same time. And dress in the same way. And go to work in the same manner. And eat the same food. And get the same entertainment. And the same vacation. And the same bed and mattress to sleep on. And the same kind of dwelling. And the same transportation machinery.

In order that different genes don’t start acting up and interfering with equal opportunity, a petition has been moved to ban the natural cycles of procreation. In order to promote equality, one set of parents will procreate for the entire population. Again and again and again. Children will then be distributed to all. However, as differences in upbringing could vitiate the environment of equality, these children will not be given but brought up in a common facility.

And since so many children will need people to manage them, and since each person managing them might have a personality that could rub off on the children, they will be replaced by robots. 

Equal marks to all, a common university with identical programmes and one single teacher for everyone, providing the same job with equal pay for all, procreating for all; who can do all this?

Who else but Big Brother?

We cannot trust parents to bring up their children. We cannot trust teachers to teach. We cannot trust education boards to provide education. We cannot trust businesses to provide employment. We cannot trust ourselves to take decisions for ourselves. Who can we trust?

Who else but Big Brother?  

In fact, as we have seen done in the past in some societies, the word “choice”, and its many variants like “want”, “desire”, etc., which have been found responsible for many of the ills plaguing society, will be removed from the vocabulary of all languages known in the country. Nip the problem in the bud for a just and fair, and equal, society, they say. Long live this tribe of petitioners.

Unfortunately, a 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, has rained on the petitioner parade and dismissed the petition and nipped in the bud the move towards equality.

 

 

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Leave Us Kids Alone

In your leisure time, what do you like to do most?

  • Š  Play cricket
  • Š  Perform scientific experiments
  • Š  Read and write

To the casual reader this might appear to be a random question with some random answer choices provided.

We would urge the casual reader to look closely. As we are now about to tread the untrodden path. Boldly go where no man has been before. Once again.

What we are looking at is a sample question from an Aptitude Test being introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), designed to enable youngsters make informed career choices.

It is designed in a way that it will assess in three hours what continuous involvement of parents and teachers over ten to fifteen years does not reveal.

It has become necessary because parents and teachers are so closely involved with youngsters that they have no idea what they like or dislike, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what their desires and fears are. They, being parents and teachers, are also naturally in no position to either take responsibility for the children’s future, or guide them.

Moreover, without an Aptitude Test, how would the government play nanny and make the common man believe that it is his welfare they work for, without having to deliver any improvement? As it is expected to by the common man in a free, democratic society. Otherwise, he might even have to start taking responsibility for the upbringing of his own children and, perhaps, their welfare in adult life.

We don’t know if you could, but we could not guess the implication of the answer choices.

It is learnt from reliable sources that if a youngster chooses “Play cricket” as the answer, the test results would tell him that he should take up cricket as a career.

Amazing, isn’t it? There is really no limit to what human beings can do once they set their mind to it.

How could the youngster have known otherwise? Or, how could his parents have, having spent only about fifteen years with him? Educators, having spent ten years on an average, never really stood a chance.

It gets even more bizarre. If the student chose the second option, “Perform scientific experiments” as the answer, the test results would tell him that he should target to become a scientist.

Even if a youngster cannot articulate his thoughts and feelings, he will need to choose one option and hence get a career allotted. From no career to a career. How much more good can a test do?

Doubters be warned.

Never has a test been run so scientifically. After all, it has inputs from reputed academics and psychologists. Not to mention private enterprises who will eventually run it.

It is designed to ensure the youngster faces no challenges in his adult life. If, on account of some freak occurrence, he faces an issue of poor performance at work, all he would need to do is whip out the results of the Aptitude Test taken many years back, read them out aloud to himself, and all will be well.

Grown-up youngsters worried about facing issues of marital discord need not fear. The government has directed the development of another Aptitude Test whose results will be used for deciding who marries whom.

He will not face financial woes either.

Most importantly, youngsters will learn how not to engage with the world around them and how not to take responsibility for their decisions and actions; in fact, how not to take decisions.

The utopia earlier generations may have dreamed about is nigh.

Doubters be doubly warned.

There is a good chance these Aptitude Tests will work because we have been very successful in designing Aptitude Tests that have helped us stamp out murder, rape, child abuse and other heinous crimes.

It will obviously be compulsory as the government and CBSE have a responsibility to ensure that the private enterprise selected to run the test makes money.

Friends of parents, parents themselves, grown-ups in the neighbourhood, parents of friends, aunts and uncles, occasionally older cousins and siblings, doctors, pilots, army personnel, bureaucrats, lawyers, business-people, sportspeople, musicians, actors, in fact everyone who could be accused of being an inspirational figure for a youngster, have heaved a collective sigh of relief. They are off the hook. No longer will they need to shoulder responsibility for inspiring a youngster, through their deeds, demeanour and deportment, to a choice of career.

Pink Floyd has retrospectively changed the lyrics of their 1969 anthem to:

We don’t need no Aptitude Testing

We don’t need no career control

No dark sarcasm about our future

CBSE leave us kids alone