Stress at individual and social levels; distorts our cognition, affect and conation (perception, feelings and actions); and leads to amongst many other evils; deterioration of international, national and local education policy and its implementation. The present day non-holistic (sectarian, prejudiced, vindictive, malicious, mercenary, exploitative and malevolent) education (formal, curricular, co curricular, extracurricular and informal) is a major stressor that though aids in petty pursuits; opposes our blossoming and further perpetuates stress and ill effects in the individual and social life. Let us review; the present perspective, policy and practice of education; as seen around.
Even though education is defined in various ways; and often inadequately or incompletely; there has been a general agreement on the fact that education is basically a process of blossoming of an individual and the society. Hence it included three domains, which are as follows.
The first domain is called AFFECTIVE DOMAIN. This means the state of mind. In simple words affective domain relates to how we feel. Thus when our mind is full of alertness, attention, enthusiasm, buoyancy, affection, concern, joy, tolerance, self esteem, mutual respect, mutual trust, commitment, dedication, love, romance, confidence, positive and victorious spirit, we would call it healthy affective domain. In addition; the zeal and concentration needed; in the pursuit of excellence in intellectual field, tenacity and endurance required; in skillful activities and patience and commitment essential; for internally satisfying and socially beneficial (conscientious) actions constitute affective domain. The purpose of education is to nurture this domain by designing suitable curricula and syllabi.
The second domain of education is called PSYCHOMOTOR DOMAIN. This implies ability to appreciate skills and ability to perform physical and mental skills, with speed, accuracy, elegance, ease of performance etc. This may involve appreciation and performance of skills such as surgery, playing a musical instrument, playing basket ball or doing carpentry! The purpose of education is to nurture this domain through not only designing suitable curricula, syllabi but also by providing sufficient practical and demonstration classes; with all the necessary equipments.
The third domain is called COGNITIVE DOMAIN. Cognitive domain incorporates accurate perspective, contemplation, correct perception understanding, conceptualization, analysis and recall of fact and problems, ability to evaluate, synthesize, correlate and make decisions, appropriate policies, plans and expertise in the management, administration, etc.
It is clear that all these domains have three components each viz. Cognition [Perception], affect [Feelings] and conation [Response].
Thus cognitive domain would have intellectual perception, clarity and intellectual expression, affective domain would include feeling, motivation and response in emotional sphere such as poetry; and psychomotor domain would include grasp and internalization of a particular skill, confidence to perform it and actually performing it.
Let us now see, how in spite of these goals; how it has come to be conceived as a process of achieving political, economic, scientific and technological supremacy and thus deteriorated to the present stage; where all the three domains are defective; apart from lacking in the spiritual and productive domains. In short; let us see how it has become a major stressor.
For this; a brief consideration of the traditional education system in India would prove useful.
Traditional Education System in India in general; ensured that:
a] Careers were not selected on the basis of monetary gains,
b] Careers were not selected arbitrarily on the basis of idiosyncrasies and whims,
c] Some lucrative careers could not be sought after; in preference to the others,
d] All careers ensured income and production from early age,
e] All careers ensured that the society was benefited,
f] All careers ensured security to all the social groups,
g] All the careers ensured intimacy and closeness between young and old in the families.
h] All careers ensured ethical education and passage of experience and wisdom; from generation to generation.
These were merits. But it is also true that, the traditional system was apparently marked by deprivation of scholastic education on mass scale, apparently unjustifiable availability of education of jobs based on caste, deficient infrastructure for collective scientific and technological efforts, and an element of arbitrary imposition of hierarchy.
The traditional education system has attained the present status of being a major stressor as a result of several stressful factors including the onslaught of the tempting and impressive individualistic doctrines. Thus the transition from traditional system to the present one (whether due to British, American or any other influence, but basically due to individualistic pursuits); has become a major stressor tearing apart the cohesive social fabric of India by failing to preserve and nurture the merits and discard and dispose off the demerits.
As the education shifted from homes, home industries and farms to; nurseries, K.G. schools, schools, colleges, universities, corporate industries, research institutions etc. the transition became viciously poisonous.
Cognition suffered because of:
a] Huge number of students, in a single class making following three things almost impossible. These things are i] individual attention ii] dialogue iii] discussions,
b] Lack of adequate salary, accountability, incentive and economic security to the teachers taking away the initiative of nurturing cognitive domain
c] Increase in alienation with respect to student’s background and aptitude
d] Lack of adequate incentive to the students in the form of creativity, production and earning, service to the family and service to the nation, takes away the motivation required for building up cognitive domain
e] Lack of conviction essential in the growth of cognitive domain in the teachers and students because of outdated practical and demonstration classes, lack of interdisciplinary dialogue and in general the irrelevance of education to the realities of day to day life in as much as almost predictable consecutive unemployment at the end! The lack of conviction could be partly due to lack of participation by teachers in decision-making, policy making, development of curricula, syllabi etc.
f] Emphasis on recall and hence rote learning thereby denying free inquiry, reading, questioning etc. thereby directly thwarting the cognitive domain
g]] Too many examinations; with irrelevant parameters or criteria of evaluation [besides being unfair in many instances] leading to misguided and in most cases counterproductive efforts thus adversely affecting the cognitive domain
h] Competitions where the manipulative skills, callousness, selfishness are given more respect, destroy the enthusiasm of growing in cognitive domain
i] Information explosion affecting cognitive domain by either causing enormous and unnecessary burden on memory or inferiority complex
j] Pressure of interviews causing constant tension and sense of inadequacy, right from the tender age,
k] Protracted hours of homework in schools denying the students their legitimate right to enjoy their childhood and make them physically, mentally and intellectually unfit to grow in cognitive domain
l] Irrelevant and unnecessary information loading in lectures in the form of monologue, leading to suppression of the spontaneity, originality, interest and enthusiasm so much required in cognitive development amongst the students,