The Fault in our Syllabi

EDITOR: Aesha Kallattuvalapil

As you read this, someone somewhere is cutting out little paper squares to stick in their math lab book, probably.

After having spent 14+ years in school, I can conclusively say that I know nothing. Sure, I can factor polynomials, name (most) of the countries and their capitals and tell you when World War -I began. But if you ask me what the fifteenth alphabet is, you would be wise to expect a recital starting with A. It’s the same when it comes to months. That’s irrefutable proof that school succeeded in educating me, but not quite enough. And certainly not about the things that do matter.

In case you were wondering, or have ever wondered, you will never use calculus in your everyday life unless you become a calculus professor, a mathematician or the alien race taking over our planet mandates the knowledge of differential equations as humankind’s only defining character. Knowledge of basic mathematics is crucial, although I don’t remember the last time I didn’t turn to a phone or a calculator for help. In the tenth grade I learned how a light bulb works, but I still need my father (and sometimes an exorcist) when the lights in my room start flickering. I do not know how to fix flat tires, reply to official emails, identify profitable ventures and more importantly, use theoretical knowledge in practice. Problem: If A, B and C  each order one starter, one main course and one drink, and B orders a dessert and C gives half his main course to A, then how many tears were shed on that table when the bill arrived? Solve for ‘x’ and show your work.

The education system is seemingly about how much a student can commit to memory, without ever truly knowing why. They’re expected to stock their brains with information and regurgitate the same on a piece of paper within a time frame. Granted that knowledge of history is important to prevent the past from repeating itself, but what good is memorizing a bunch of dates which will inevitably be forgotten at the beginning of the next year to make room for more information? I’m glad that I know why leaves are green but my knowledge of the cross-sectional diagram of a leaf does me no service. “I spend my days finding the surface area of cubes and cuboids” – said no one ever.

We’re taught to read and repeat and make no real contributions on our part. We’re told not to think for ourselves but rather to believe as fact what others have said over the years. Schools should encourage its students to study so that they may enhance their knowledge and not just pass an exam. Intelligence should not be judged on how many anecdotes and numbers a student can recall. We must address the fault in our syllabi and give way for earnest discourse.

In conclusion I would like to say, mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.

 

 

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