ROTE LEARNING: A CURSE
By: Syed Mustafa Ahmad and Syed Mehroosh
The writers are siblings from Hajibagh, HMT, Zainakote
It is a universal fact that the ultimate aim of education is personality development. Education is both a way and an end in itself that provides opportunities to a student to become a realized personality. To become a realized personality, both memorization and observations are necessary. The former opens up the closed sections of the brain, while as the latter is all about exposing an individual to the realities of life. But the irony is; when the memorization is solely taken for education. Cramming notes and facts are never an education in itself. It, in the long run, manipulates the very aim of education for nothing. This malaise is not a product of some years. Since 1835 Act, we have been caught in the rat race of memorization. Thomas Macaulay was aware that if the ancient period of India was glorious, their modern was not. For this purpose, he introduced the system of learning where clerks and subordinates are manufactured. This system is all about mugging up of both facts and falsehoods. If this is the case, there must be reasons for this. In the coming lines, let us know some of the causes for this curse. The first is outdated syllabi. For decades, thinkers and common people have been stressing upon this fact we must have the child-centered curriculum rather than exam dominated curriculum or in other words, happy curriculum. Moreover, they disagree with the people, who believe in strict discipline. They believe that it hampers the progress of child’s brain. But their suggestions have been falling on deaf ears and the result is that for the sake of so-called learning, students memorize things without understanding it. Furthermore, notes are prepared by someone. In this way, it goes from bad to worse. The second is laziness. Students have been made lazy enough to go for readymade things. They are not ready to observe, experiment and criticize anything. Instead, they want something that is acceptable and very short in nature. Their brains are filled with the suggestions that rote learning is better learning because it fetches marks. On the other hand, critical thinking may lead in trouble. In this way, they waste a lot of their time in other pursuits rather than investing their time in doing something on their own level. The third is competition. In the present world, to remain in the competition means that one has to pass and qualify legally or illegally. Critical thinking and experimental things may shut out a student from the competition. The only way to get through is to memorize the derivations of both Physics and Maths and become a physicist as well as Mathematician. Who, at the end of the day, is going to ask them about what they have done? Outward display of learning is more charming than an ocean of knowledge and experience inside a child. The fourth and last is ignorant society. Our society is illiterate as well as uneducated. For it, reading and writing is education. This is the narrowest kind of education. Education is something lifelong process. In the unequal society, to find equality is education. Finding beauty in ugliness is education. But this type of mindset is unknown to people. Our society judges on the basis of jobs, fluency, memory, etc. However, there is nothing about facing the real challenges of life. Society needs problem solvers; not problem creators. So, the need of the hour is to do away with the rote learning and come up with something beneficial for the students as well as society. We cannot go on losing our precious brains in the name of education. It is best that we get awakened now.