PURPOSE OF EDUCATION
A simple definition of education is a process intended to produce a socially, intellectually and emotionally competent person. The purpose is noble, that is, to activate the thinking centers of our brain, to make us realize its potential and the rewards that can be achieved if these nerves are set to a logical and reasoning thought process.
With such a lofty purpose, the use of education cannot be restricted to something as practical and temporal as earn money. An individual does not attend a course in literature or commerce merely to learn about the Shakespearean language or Keynesian Theories. The broader goal to achieve, on the way to the degree, is to stimulate our mind to gauge and understand the world, to cultivate an analytical and rational approach to life and at the same time delve in the details of Keats’ poetry and Kotler’s norms on marketing.
In this age of fierce competition, a professional qualification is more than necessary to earn our bread and butter and to have an occasional burger, but is it also mandatory that if you possess the qualification, then you go out to earn the bread? The general reaction of people today when they see a non-working woman is an astonished and startled face. The person may not be working either out of choice or because of circumstances. When the first reason holds true, the person will laugh at the surprised expression with calmness but in case of the latter, though the person may account her situation for not working, that pitying expression will prick her somewhere deep. Though we may come to terms with our undesirable circumstances, it is not easy to accept them whole-heartedly. It is imperative that we understand that it is important to be an educated, informed and confident person and not necessarily a working woman.
An analogy that comes to mind is that of a First Aid box. When we set out trekking, the medical kit gives us a sense of security, to alleviate the pain in case of an injury. But we do not always put a band-aid on just because we have one. Education is also to some extent similar to the first aid box, which gives us sense of confidence when we embark on life’s trek. It energizes our dormant decision-making power. At numerous times each one of us stands at the crossroads of life. Every time if we wait for somebody to hold our hand and put us across the road, sooner or later we are bound to be taken for a ride. But with our educational first aid box, we become independent, and can also help others to cross the road. It is good sense to be equipped in the battlefield.
In the growing world around us, there is a marked change in the lives of women specially the developing eastern countries. Women are taking the lead in all walks of life from Condoleeza Rice to Indira Nooyi, from J.K. Rowling to Shirin Ebadi or from Kiran Mazumdar Shaw to Kiran Bedi. This is surely a sign of progressive, mature and an equal society. There is a zeal and passion in women to prove their worth in the outer world and proclaim “WE HAVE ARRIVED”. But in our common lives, this attitude has a graver and unapparent reason for it. The bon ton around us still does not acknowledge “Home maker” as a vital thread in the fabric of society. The word “home maker” which is a refinement for “house wife” still conjures up an image of a docile and a diffident woman.
Only if we had a degree as “Bachelor of Home Making”, people would see a housewife in a different colour. But what if a professionally qualified woman opts for the profession of Home making!! Do we sneer at her? Our intelligence and qualification is not a means to earn money or to prove something, it is an end in itself. Leading a home maker’s life is by no measure a lesser skilled job.
ONUS OF OUTLOOK
On whom do we set the blame on for this biased outlook? To a large extent it is the collective effort of the housewives themselves. The world sees us no different than the way we see ourselves. If the homemaker does not take pride in her own job, we cannot expect others to advocate the importance of her work. Homemaking is both an art and a science and each homemaker’s efficiency differs. Consequently we see some houses are more organized, disciplined and well functioning than the others. We see kids with varying manners, behavior and even academic keenness. At an impressionable age they learn more from their surroundings and most from their mothers.
RISE IN YOUR OWN EYES
Education does the value addition to the profession of home making. It lets the reins of imagination and intellect loose to harness the passive ideas. What we make of ourselves is entirely our prerogative. If we present ourselves as short crust pastry to the world we should not expect to be viewed as chocolate truffle cake. If we are convinced about our choices and ourselves, nobody can confuse himself or us. A homemaker who plays as diverse roles as – an understanding mother-cum-friend, parallel support to her husband, a hostess at her best, and less than an arm’s distance for her friends, holds her own ground. At the end of the month, she does not receive a fat salary cheque, but she certainly enjoys the contentment, her existence brings to her family and herself.
Individuality is about creating opportunities for you because a lot of times our circumstances steal them away. It is about making the most with our abilities, in the least that we have. Knowledge and individuality are much more than learning about computer circuits, human anatomy or tax planning. There is a distinction between qualification and education. Qualification helps you decide if mutual fund is good or bad for your investment but education aims to help you decide what is right or wrong in your life. Education makes us give correct judgments on issues where Supreme Court has no jurisdiction and an educated homemaker holds no less importance in her jurisdiction of family and friends than a Chief Justice in his state.