Ubi dubium ibi libertas- Where there is doubt, there is freedom.
This famous quote gives me ideas about how are education systems should be. I have done all my education from schooling to my MBA in India. I was privileged to be a part of some of the best schools and colleges in India.
But, when I reflect back on what I learnt there, I find that they did not teach me to doubt, to experiment, to discover to dispell existing notions. They actually made me a conformist. Whatever the teacher says or whatever is written in the books is considered sacrosanct. Students who dare question these ‘well-established’ truths risk a lot. Its possible that they might be considered as outcasts too in their academic communities!
I was watching a Robin Williams movie called ‘Dead Poets Society’. Mr. Williams spoke very passionately about encouraging Free Thinking in educational institutions and had devised novel ways to stimulate freedom and innovativeness of thought processes. In one such instance, he walks into a classroom full of teenaged students and stands up on the desk. Next, he asks each one of the students to stand up on the teacher’s desk and see the world around them…..What was the idea behind this?
Mr.Williams says that we all believe that things will appear a little different from up there, but we never bother to try it!
The analogy, I find, is brilliant. The whole purpose of life is to experiment with new things, toy with novel ideas, dispelling pre-conceived notions and discovering a new truth everyday. If you do not doubt, you are not even thinking. Education is not mere absorption of truths, its the discovery of truths that is the hallmark of great education. It is such an education system that has the potential to churn out the Einstein, Gandhi, Nash or Jack Welch of tomorrow.