Education has been described as a process of waking up to life – waking up to life and its mysteries, to its solvable problems and the ways to solve the problems, and to celebrate the mysteries of life, to the inter-dependencies of all things, to the threat to our global village, to the power within the human race to create alternatives, and, to the obstacles usually entrenched in economic, social and political structures that prevent our waking up.
Education in the broadest sense of the term is meant to aid the human being in his/her pursuit of wholeness. Wholeness implies the harmonious development of all the potentialities God has given to a human person. Stephen Covey in his book “The 8th Habit from Effectiveness to Greatness” speaks of a paradigm shift in looking at the four basic needs of people – needs of the body, mind, heart and spirit that make up the sum total of the human person.
True education aims at the integral formation or the full flowering of the human person on this earth in the pursuit of his/her ultimate end. I want to understand education as helping young people “to develop harmoniously their physical, moral, intellectual, and emotional endowments.”
Today, we are in a globalised and liberalised world economy. Knowledge, technology, media, money and power control the world. Every one’s desire, it seems, is to have more money and power in order to have a good life. But the good life is what each one defines for himself/herself. There isn’t a universal criterion at present for defining the good life. Everyone thinks that if he/she has more money then, that good life would be attainable. So there is a rush for getting money by hook or crook without any regard for the wellbeing of one’s neighbour.
Against the backdrop of this consumerist and materialistic mentality, I want to propose certain fundamental of Education.
In my personal opinion, the quality of education in any school or college or university can be determined by four basic components, namely, the Input, the Output, the Outcome and the Impact.
Input stands for everything that the students gets from a school or college – the building, the facilities, the opportunity to develop one’s talents, all the teaching learning process, the library, the labs, the overall environment, the ambience etc. If the input is good, the Output can be certain to a large extent.
Output stands for the results, the skills learned, the talents developed, the performance, the tasks completed, the quality of research papers, the overall learning level. The output varies from individual to into individual basing on the individual difference, application and commitment.
The third component is the Outcome. Outcome to a large extend will depend on the Input and the Output. Outcome can be evaluated from the achievers, the doctors, the engineers, the civil servants, the scientist, the philosophers, the poets, the actors etc that the school or college boasts off.
The fourth component which according to me is the most important, that is the Impact. What is the impact that the so-called achievers, doctors, engineers are making in the community, what is their contribution? What is their legacy? Are your engineers making bridges and building that collapse with the first earthquake or cyclone? Are your doctors ethical? Do they steal vital organs from a patient for their own personal gain? Are the civil servants your school has produced have become corrupt to a political system? Here, I would emphasize the importance of teaching values, character formation, living a life of integrity.
So, when you’re facing your students in the classroom, think about these four components while you teach your children – the Input, the Output, the Outcome and the Impact.