Education and wisdom

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.
– Albert Einstein
As per Wikipedia, ‘wisdom’ is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom has been regarded as one of four cardinal virtues.
All parents desire that their children get the best education this world has on offer. They want their children to study languages, math, science, history, social studies, etc, in school and colleges. Parents expect that good education in school and good results would lead to a placement in a reputed college; that education in a good school and college would further lead to the child getting a well-paid job in the government or in a reputed company; and that a good job will make the child independent, enhance the reputation of the family and maybe fetch a good bride/groom!
However, schools and colleges concentrate mainly on academic (scholastic) education. For grooming of children, schools and colleges include some co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in the curriculum. However, subjects like moral education, good behaviour and humility, and leadership qualities like honesty and integrity are not taught to the students in organised classes. Very less emphasis is paid to teaching the children about their rights, duties and responsibilities. Mostly grooming of children in these virtues is left to the immediate family, relatives and society as a large.
Education arms a child with theoretical knowledge without major emphasis on character-building qualities. A child’s upbringing is said to be good when they are humble, obedient, polite and courteous. If the child does okay in academics, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, it is an added bonus. It is generally expected that children who have attended reputed schools and colleges, placed at a first class jobs, and whose upbringing has been good, generally grow up into wise men.
However, we have seen many of our gaon buras and village elders possessing wisdom despite being less educated and less travelled. On the other side, we also have met highly educated people who have travelled extensively, being absolutely worldly wise with minimal moral ethics.
Many of these officers are educated in professional colleges outside the state. Despite being well educated and well exposed to all facets of life, many of them indulge in unfair practices, display arrogance of money and position, and care a hoot about moral ethics. In fact, it may not be wrong to state that some of them possess much lesser wisdom than many uneducated villagers!
Today’s children are smarter than the older generation. It is not an easy task to groom or counsel them to be wise men or women. To groom them, parents, elders and teachers have to demonstrate integrity, honesty and moral character of a high order with personal examples.
Honesty, integrity, discipline, humility, good manners, etc, are the founding stones for grooming a child into a mature and responsible citizen. Citizens of most advanced nations possess these fundamental values of integrity, honesty, discipline, humility, helpfulness, etc, of a high order.
Many of us have seen that most tribal villagers possessed these fundamental qualities of integrity, honesty, humility, helpfulness, etc, of a high order. The pertinent question therefore is: Where have these values vanished? Have good education and modernization made us less wise? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)