As winter makes way for spring, it is a time for us to embrace the ever-changing nature of everything around us. Spring marks a fresh start, a ray of hope as sunshine enters our lives once again. At this juncture of change, we find ourselves questioning if we need to change the way our children are educated, the way schools impart knowledge, and what is truly the meaning of being learned.
On Saraswati Puja, a festival celebrating wisdom, knowledge, music, and arts, we ponder more and more about this. When we were little, we were excited about dressing up in stitched yellow sarees and attending the rituals. As we grew up a little more, it became a day to put our books away, for Goddess Saraswati to bless them. Gradually, it started becoming synonymous with wanting to get straight A’s, and today we question this for our children.
Does learning and education mean nothing more than being mere puppets of memorization and details of dates and formulas? Is developing skill sets such as critical thinking, creativity, and adaptability of known knowledge to situations, not the true meaning of being learned?
As we look at it, Goddess Saraswati who has transcended generations as the epitome of knowledge, is an ambassador of the importance of fluid knowledge and not rigid curriculums.
Solving real-world problems, being able to communicate effectively, collaborating, and applying knowledge to suit the requirements are skills that help in both academic and non-academic pursuits. Discipline, clarity of thought, wanting to follow one's dreams, and the passion to see it through are all important lessons to learn. Nurturing unique talents in a world where everything has an audience and a career path not only makes happy children but confident adults.
The traditional cookie-cutter method where acing in math was the end goal is no longer a valid decree. Each child is different and distinct – and celebrating and embracing this is the true spirit of wisdom. Reading with them, teaching them to journal, to question and find answers, to apply concepts of math in everyday life, and to enhance their understanding of how things around them work, are simple ways to make them ready for a tomorrow where the absolutes of today will be obsolete.
Let us use this occasion of Saraswati Puja, to commit to providing our children with an education that opens a world of possibilities for them. May the Goddess bless them with eternal hunger to learn, for that is what will help them be knowledgeable always.
Shweta, Ankita and Nidhi