In today's world education is the only way you can reach the heights you want to achieve. This is especially the case in countries where development is still taking place, like India. Education is a key component of the India society and people have begun to recognize the importance of the need for education. In India over 229 million students are enrolled into the schooling system, this number is staggering. The only reason why India's development isn't threefold of what it should be is because this education is not put to the right use.
In India, the education system is result oriented rather than knowledge oriented. I say this because students in India would rather mug up everything than understand the 'why's' and 'what's'. This is not the children's fault by itself, it is also the teachers and their parents fault as they encourage children to just cram all that is required into the students mind so that she/he can perform better at an exam. This, according to me is outrageous and I am completely against this type of learning. Sure, performing well at exams is important but sacrificing the chance to actually learn and understand something is not worth it. Learning is all about understanding 'why' and 'how' some things happen and to have enough knowledge about the things that occur in your surroundings so that you can form an informed opinion about it.
Thankfully my parents were also of the same opinion and so they sent me to a school called Mirambika which was completely different from all the other schools and the education system. Mirambika had its own curriculum and way of teaching. There were no proper textbooks before grade 8. Till grade 8 we learned from reference books (from the huge library) and from trips to museums and monuments etc. The school's population was less than 150 children at all time even though the school had enough area to fit 1000 children comfortably. The student to teacher ratio was 5:1 at most. All of this gave a feeling of belonging and the school became more like a second home. This sense of security allowed us to express ourselves better and really understand what we wanted to do.
In Mirambika, we would study everything students from other schools would study but just in a completely different way. This way we were really able to understand the topic with depth. For example: When we studied about the different revolutions of the world, in 'normal' schools they would spend maximum a week on the five revolutions (How do you understand within that?) whereas we spent around 6 months on them. We studied each revolution separately & in depth and, in the end, we even held a seminar about the topic with various well-known historians coming to hear us talk about them. I am glad Mirambika taught in such a way as because of this I was able to spend time on understanding what I really like and what I would like to focus on in the future. Through the freedom that Mirambika provided us with, we were also able to grow mentally and spiritually as well. Physical exercise was given extreme importance as well. So every school day, we had an hour of sports and exercise. This freedom was not found in other schools. During our senior years (grade 9 and 10) we were given the independence of studying on our own in an area away from the classroom. We could ask for the help of a teacher whenever necessary but it wasn't compulsory.
The teachers in Mirambika were very close to us (we called them didi and bhaiya which is sister and brother respectively). They would help us with any problem be it personal or academic. My passion for football was noticed by one of our teachers and he told me to try writing about the game. This little advice helped me understand what I really want to do in the future. Now thanks to his observation, I write for magazines and I have written more than 25 articles.
When I would talk to students in other schools most of them had similar plans to each other about what to become: an engineer, a doctor or business man/woman. These children usually pick that kind of career because it is what is 'accepted' in the Indian society and what they were told to do by their parents or other elders. I would find this funny because not a single one of my classmates would even think about taking up something like that. It wasn't because we weren't smart enough to follow a similar career path but because we wanted to do work that we were happy doing. The sad thing though is that when we would happily tell people from outside about what we want to do in life, they would immediately judge us by saying science & technology is the only right option and that choosing other streams of study was for people of "lower knowledge". Thankfully I didn't listen to them and continued with sports journalism and economics.
Unfortunately, Mirambika was only till grade 10 and after that, I had to join a 'normal' school. People told me I would experience a cultural shock and wouldn't be able to study with a set timetable. But it was exactly the opposite, not only did I do well in my studies; I was able to understand things with ease thanks to the way I learnt in Mirambika.
Whatever I am, whatever I want to be in the future has been shaped thanks to the freedom and courage given to me by Mirambika.