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 it 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 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, the 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.
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The second domain of education is called PSYCHOMOTOR DOMAIN. This implies the ability to appreciate skills and 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 basketball, or carpentry! The purpose of education is to nurture this domain by designing suitable curricula and syllabi and providing sufficient practical and demonstration classes; with all the necessary equipment.
The third domain is called COGNITIVE DOMAIN. The 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.
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, the affective domain would include feeling, motivation, and response in the emotional sphere such as poetry; and the psychomotor domain would include the grasp and internalization of a particular skill, confidence to perform it and actually performing it.
Let us now see, how despite 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 based on monetary gains,
b] Careers were not selected arbitrarily based on 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 an 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 a 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 due to several stressful factors, including the onslaught of the tempting and impressive individualistic doctrines. Thus the transition from the 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 of 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] a Huge number of students in a single class, making the 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 concerning 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 practices 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 the lack of participation by teachers in decision-making, policymaking, development of curricula, syllabi, etc.
f] Emphasis on recall and hence rote learning, thereby denying free inquiry, reading, questioning, etc. 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 the cognitive domain
i] Information explosion affecting cognitive domain by either causing an 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 the cognitive domain
l] Irrelevant and unnecessary information loading in lectures in the form of a monologue, leading to suppression of the spontaneity, originality, interest, and enthusiasm so much required in cognitive development amongst the students,
Affective domain suffered due to,
A] Isolation of the children from their parents and their domestic environment at an early age [Making the parents also equally sad]
B] Lack of warm bonds due to a huge number,
C] Cutthroat individualistic and petty competition,
D] Inadequate facilities of sports, trekking, educational tours, recreation, and physical development, etc
E] Alienation from one’s social environment and culture
The psychomotor domain suffered due to
A] Almost total lack of opportunities to actually participate in skillful activities such as drawing, painting, sewing, sculpturing, carpentry, knitting, weaving, music, agriculture, horticulture, other handicrafts, various sports, performing arts, etc.
It is important to realize that promotion of the psychomotor domain is evident but in its caricature form. It has no concrete economic realistic basis. The activities have no economic incentive and no productive element. Apart from the defects in the three domains, the other two domains, spiritual and productive, have not TOTALLY ABSENT in the education. The spiritual domain imparts a universal perspective and globally beneficial outlook; it incorporates the inner blossoming of an individual through introspection, heart-to-heart communication (not merely discussion and arguments), mutual understanding, and blossoming of the teachers and students together; through one of the universal practices; viz. NAMASMARAN. Thus the spiritual domain is a key to conquer lust, whims, fancies, pride, arrogance, callousness, contempt, ungratefulness, prejudices, jealousy, hatred, meanness, meekness, beggary, cheating, stealing, treachery, and so on; it is never made available to the teachers, students, and the others; associated with education.
The present education system in India lacks the other important domain, viz. the productive domain that empowers the people concerned with education. This prevents a huge section of society, such as teachers, students, clerks, servants, sweepers, and many others, such as education inspectors, from being creative and productive. In addition, it causes colossal loss of space, electricity, construction cost, and so on. In addition, the typical emphasis on rote learning leads to phenomenal waste of “educational material” such as paper, bags, pencils, ball pens, etc.
It has to be appreciated that billions of rupees are spent on the unproductive or rather counterproductive exercise of construction, decoration, and maintenance of schools and colleges, electricity, and so-called educational material, payment of millions of teachers and other staff members engaged, and exams conducted to test the “capacity and merit of rote learning.” This way, we weaken the national economy, jeopardize developmental activities.
It also causes economic loss to everyone involved in education; while suppressing and starving all three domains nurtured in productive activity. This is a single most important cause of
1] Reduction in the dignity of labor amongst those who continue to learn, as well as a reduction in the income of the concerned families and the nation
2] Lack of education, lack of employment, and starvation or criminalization amongst those forced to drop out because the poor villagers’ children normally contribute to the earning of the family.
3] Inhuman suffering of those millions of students dropouts, who somehow manage to get into the hell of cheap child labor for subsistence; due to economic reasons.
But their spiritual, cognitive, psychomotor, affective, and productive domains are defective. Their spiritual blossoming, self-empowerment, creative wisdom, intellectual competence, productive skills, self-sufficiency, and even physical health are deficient. Thus we have an increasing number of unproductive criminals and mental wrecks or highly competitive efficient maniacs pursuing petty goals at the cost of others! In short, the present-day education system harnesses arrogance and diffidence; amongst those who continue to learn.
For those unable to continue their education, the abyss of being child labor, stealing, delinquency, criminals, perverts, beggars is wide open! The piecemeal approach or facilitation of petty pursuits (under the guise of development and progress) is not only useless but is, in fact, counterproductive! It leads to the cancerous spread of industries with uncontrolled production of unnecessary utilities and their maddening marketing. These industries consume energy, fuel and add to undisposable waste and pollution. This sickening and stressful atmosphere nurtured by the present education; promotes the growth of terrorism on the one hand and pretends to act against it (in a counterproductive way) on the other!
Mainstream Education System and its courses and careers revolve around and serve the grossly petty and superficial considerations, motivations, and interests, and this state of affairs; is strongly protected and strengthened by the elements with similar interests! Hence the present laws, rules, and regulations also promote present education and its ill effects.
Some institutions and individuals, for whom we have great respect, are involved in the holistic approach to education (mainstream, formal, informal, curricular, co-curricular, extracurricular, and education of physically and mentally challenged children). But these efforts are too feeble to make a difference in our life.
While piecemeal approaches are failing; there is no adequate awareness and promotion of holistic education, which leaves the vicious cycle of stress distorting education and distorted education creating, aggravating, and spreading the stress; to continue unabashedly unabated.
Hence, the ill effects of stress on present education and vice versa; can be eradicated if we understand and propagate the defects in present education and promote holistic education as an international solution. It has to be appreciated that no statesman, no political leader, no policymaker, and administrator can bring about change in an existing system (in a democratic setup); unless we evolve a consensus about the changes in the majority of people; whose cooperation is very vital.
In short, the policy of holistic education; demands that every school, college, university, etc., must become the center of production and service, self-sufficient, and aid in self-sufficiency and blossoming of everyone involved in education and the nation.
The students, teachers, and others associated with education; must blossom as independent and empowered individuals; spiritually, intellectually, mentally, instinctually, physically, and economically.
In practice; every day; approximately
20 % of the time must be spent in production, service, etc.
20 % of the time must be spent in physical activities
20 % of the time must be spent in personality (conceptual and spiritual) development and
20 % of the time must be spent on entertainment
20 % of the time must be spent on the cognitive domain
20 % of the time must be spent in production, service, etc.
1. The productive domain should be an essential ingredient of the education system, but no particular job should be enforced. The teachers and others should participate in the productive domain. Production and service can involve community projects such as plantation of medicinal herbs, rearing of cows, home flower gardening, chalk sticks, carpentry, pottery, cleanliness, crafts, skills, arts, and their sale according to the situations… Working physically in different ways and earning is not a burden. It is an opportunity to grow from within. It is an opportunity to develop our self-esteem. It is an opportunity to become self-sufficient.
2. This leads to self-sufficiency in schools. They do not have to depend on heavy fees or federal grants or donations, and this way, they become accessible to all, rendering the reservations redundant!
3. Through the productive domain, the hypokinetic stress, emotional stress of being dependent and intellectual stress of excessive memorizing is averted.
4. Due to productive domain, the dropping out due to lack of earning (as is common in the case of millions of students in many parts of the world) and then turning into helpless, vulnerable, and cheap child labor would come down.
5. Being empowered, the students would not go through the stress of unemployment and turn into helpless, frustrated mental wrecks or criminals.