Aamir Khan and Hillary Clinton particpate in interactive session
Actor talks about ills of today's education system
Too much competition has taken away the humanitarian aspect from schoolchildren, who seem to be lost in the race of mathematical calculations and report cards, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan said as he participated in an interactive session with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (pictured above) at the 140-year-old St. Xaviers' College in Mumbai on Saturday (July 18).
"Today, students are mostly focussing on memorising their subjects because they have to face questions like 'Did you come first?', 'How much did you score in mathematics?'" Khan pointed out.
"I would like to hear teachers telling students: 'Hey, your friend is weak in this subject, would you help him?'"
"This will incorporate the feeling of sharing and caring among students and will help in making them good individuals. We should teach our kids to be caring," he added.
Khan also emphasised on the fact that today's education system hardly encourages children to ask questions.
"Sadly, more emphasis is given to report cards and less on exploring minds," Khan explained.
"We should encourage those minds who are thirsty and hungry for knowledge. Children who believe in questioning, searching, disagreeing and not just memorising and cramming should be appreciated," he added.
In his directorial debut "Taare Zameen Par", the actor had essayed the story of an eight-year-old dyslexic boy and how a teacher, played by Aamir, helps him emerge out of his shell.
Aamir also said teaching should be a "high paying job" to attract the best possible talent.
"Teaching should be a high paying job so that youngsters should aim at becoming teachers. I would like to see that one day in India, teaching is the most highly paid job," the actor, dressed casually in light blue jeans, a white T-shirt and a black jacket said, declaiming at length about "Teaching as a profession".
"We should give so much value to teaching as a profession that every kid that comes out of school and college should feel that he or she wants to be a teacher," Khan maintained, adding: "We as a country should give importance to teaching as a profession. Unfortunately we don't because there are more lucrative career options like medicine and engineering that parents want their kids to opt for."
Clinton couldn't agree more with Khan, who is the brand ambassador of the Times of India's Teach India initiative that is based on the Teach America model.
"Aamir has come up with some excellent points to tell us what all is required to make education important. We have the best of educational institutes in our country but they are not for everyone. Part of our challenge is to provide education to those who don't get it easily," Clinton said.
"Competition is part of a human's genes. I believe working in collaborations and corporations would help children to do well in life," she explained.
According to Khan, "most of the people entering teaching today are those who don't get jobs in the professions they want to, so they end up teaching. We have brilliant and talented teachers today who genuinely know how to teach but such people are in a minority."
"Our government should give value to teaching so that others too give it the same value. There are so many people who are interested in teaching but the pressure to become a doctor or an engineer rules out that possibility," he added.
The actor also said that education was the foundation of any society and everyone should take the responsibility to contribute something toward it.
"The most important thing about education is that it should encourage students to think. It should create people with minds to take humanity further. Today, our educational system emphasises more on memorising," Khan explained.
Indo-Asian News Service