It’s the age of information. It’s the age of knowledge. Inquisitiveness has driven human to explore possibilities. As a result, we have discovered and invented. According to a research by scientists at the University of Southern California in 2002, humankind has stored more than 295 billion gigabytes (or 295 exabytes) of data since 1986 and that is just the stored one. The total knowledge known to us would be a lot more than that.
At this point we are in an age of information saturation. A proportion of 7 billion minds is still inventing and discovering. Today, there may be quite a few gigabytes of information being updated every day. Two years from now we may have a couple of terabytes each day. This makes me wonder, can we remember all of it? What is it going to be used for? But then not everybody has to know all of it. Still, what we fail to notice is that we are building the database of basics. These basics are, as termed by academicians are, the concepts we should know. These basics lay the foundation of our syllabus. The basics make their way into our curriculum. The progress in knowledge discovery is reflected in academics but what we fail to see is human mind has limitations.
To site examples, an engineer who graduated in the 70’s had to know FORTRAN and COBOL. The engineers who graduate today have to master at least 2 languages and should know almost all of them. High school graduates today should know everything that Newton, Einstein, Bohr and every other scientist knew together. It took scientists years to learn what students learn in a year today. Today’s young generations have to learn more in less time. As a result, students today are graduating with half-baked knowledge.
Then, is there an option? Yes, academic interests should be streamlined at an early stage. I should be asked to make a decision before getting into college. I shouldn’t be learning what I don’t like if it is not necessary. In such a case 4 things can happen
1. I take a stream of my interest and I’m satisfied.
2. I take a stream of my interest and I’m not satisfied.
3. I forced myself to take a stream under parental or peer pressure and I’m not satisfied.
4. I forced myself to take a stream under parental or peer pressure and I’m satisfied.
After joining a course, by the end of a year you get an idea of where you belong. If you are case 1 and 4 then lucky you or your decision. You will enjoy your stay.
If you are case 2 you still have a choice to drop out and select a new stream and it won’t be too late. Although a possibility exists that you like the stream but not the way of learning. The Indian education system is something like that. In an era of applications, your entire childhood is spent on learning in theory. There is very less of practical aspect. There are greater chances of remembering what you did, than what you read.
If you are case 3 you are among the majority of students joining demanding graduate courses such as engineering or medical. In such situations you should drop out. If there is parental pressure, you should convince your parents or ask someone to do it. If they are not convinced, show them 3 idiots. May be it will work. If they are still not convinced then you were born in the wrong place. In any such case, you have to get out of there as soon as possible. You cannot spare being and knowing that you are in the wrong place.
Majority of the students today are dissatisfied either because of the way of learning or because of their streams. This is reflected in their academics and they tend to somehow get done with it. Every year a set of students graduate with dissatisfaction and end up in places they don’t like and yet we hope to be a superpower in 2020.