Sunday, March 8, 2015

Agriculture in Indian Education System

While working on a small kitchen garden in my backyard, I realised how little I know about farming. Looking at the soil, I have no clue if it is fertile or for that matter what kind of soil it is. I have sowed the seeds of cauliflower but, I have no clue how the plant would look like when it will germinate. I hope not to remove it mistaking it for a weed. How much water is adequate for plants? How much sunlight is needed?

I remember reading about all the fancy principals of Physics and even theory of relativity.I have went through the rigmarole of learning calculus, trigonometry and the fancy theorems of Geometry. The concept of theorems itself is interesting. First we decide that I am right and then everything else conforming to me is right. It was still fine for me to read all the above stuff as I happened to do Engineering. (Though somewhere I feel it's a very convoluted argument). 

This is becoming the dilemma of our education system. We want to teach everything to students without worrying about if they are really learning it. The system is about teaching and not about learning. And on top of it we want to teach everyone everything possible. And the funniest part is we miss to teach people the important skills of life.

Take mathematics. For a person who is not going to be a mathematician or engineer, for him the only mathematics they need to understand is the rules of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Add some understanding of fractions and decimals. An idea about area and volume. And the most important thing is the interest rates. Make them understand that the EMI that they pay or the personal loans they take has an interest rate which compounds. Many people earn for banks, for their whole life.

Coming back to the knowledge of farming, introducing that to a level in the curriculum will bring agriculture at par with  Science and Maths. Sincerely I believe, teaching agriculture is far more important than teaching Pre historic period. I am not demeaning History in any way. I have a passion for History but at a mass scale teaching concepts about agriculture and farming are far more important. This will encourage people to look at agriculture in a more positive way. Most of the urban population imagines farmers as poor people who keep doing suicides.  This will also encourage kids to look into farming as a career. It's great career and business if someone looks holistically into agriculture. Agriculture cannot be just about farming  but one can build a food processing business in front of it. 

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