An Introspection of Freedom of Thought in Educational Institutions


(Note: This article may reflect the situation of only certain education systems across the globe)
Freedom of thought has been a topic of the battle for all the ages and community. However, when it comes to the education system and the educational institutions, it is a completely different story. In the ancient times, gurukuls were the places, where students inculcate the habit of questioning and answering everything and everyone around them. The inquisitorial notion was developed. This helped the students find their inner calling and move towards it effortlessly. 

Come to the current scenario, let me start with a situation;

A student, keen to learn something new attends a class. The Professor is explaining a particular concept, of course not in any high spirits. However, the student finds the syllabus outdated and asks the teacher to explain the concept in relevance to the day to day happenings. The teacher scornfully replies and continues in the same baritone. 

Second Situation

There is a course fair to opt for electives for the next semester. The students opt for courses which are offered on a large scale. However, after a couple of weeks, the students are informed that the some of the courses which were offered are revoked. The students are outraged, but however, they do not have the freedom to opt for the courses they want to. 

All the above examples give a fair idea of the type of freedom of thought and expression provided to the students. No person can object to the rules and regulations if found unfair and deterring their growth. No one can object the curriculum if found redundant to their progress. No one can object the Professors, if found biased, to their development. It is a vicious cycle as if objected, can result in catastrophic side effects.

This topic has often been the crux of many debates for a lot of years. But isn't freedom of thought a basic human right? Isn’t it as essential as the freedom of life? Alas, it does not feel so. The performance of the students is deteriorated. Nothing whatsoever can be questioned or acted upon. However, they are expected to deliver the astounding performance. 

To make amends- allow the students to have a freedom of thought, to think aloud and execute them. To think and to work, and to share perspectives right through the hierarchical ladder with an open mind and actually be received with a progressive attitude from the stakeholders. It is the means to become prolific and move on the path of excellence.

Source: This article was originally posted in Linked In by Vijayalakshmi Swaminathan

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