One Martin Luther King stated, “Intelligence are character are the ultimate goals of true education.” But in today’s world, true education is far behind. Indeed, literacy has progressed and developed very rapidly, but there has been no corresponding movement in education.
To understand the difference between literacy and education, we must first understand what they are. In summary, literacy teaches us how to read and write. Education gives us those tools and also gives us advice on what to read and write.
Of course, morality teaches us to go against the famous saying that says, “Give man fish and you feed him one day. Teach the man to catch fish, and you feed him for life.” But there is a major difference. This proverb is related to handing over something to a person on a silver plate, as opposed to teaching someone valuable skills.
This at hand refers to literacy and education, the art of listening for a moment and understanding for a lifetime.
Let us take the example of a person who knows how to read and write very well. Say, his entire education has taken place in an English medium school. He is very proficient in English. Hence, he is literate. But does it mean that he is well educated? Not necessary. We can say that he is educated only if his knowledge and information is reflected in his actions. If a person uses inappropriate language and abusive words, he cannot be considered an educated person. The action of an educated person is surrounded by a sense of calm and serenity.
Education versus Literacy
Let’s discuss the difference between literacy and Education.
- Literacy teaches us how to read and write, while education teaches us what to read and write.
- Literacy is fact oriented while education is value oriented. For example, a literate person will talk about economic growth rate while an educated person will talk about economic growth with distributed justice.
- Literacy imparts information while education imparts knowledge. The difference between information and knowledge is that information is technical or theoretical knowledge of any subject while knowledge is awareness of how, where, when and why to use information.
- Education brings holistic development of human personality, i.e., physical, psychological and spiritual development while having literacy instead of leading to development. maintains the status quo.
- Last but not least education revolutionizes thinking. It inspires people to think in an unconventional but creative and innovative way. It brings curiosity and rationalism into the thought process. It frees the person from the mental slavery of superstition, prejudice, disbelief and old rigid social and religious customs.
Not literacy but education makes a person wise. An educated person can only bring around positive changes in society and contribute to the development of society, which leads to the development of the country. In India, almost all literate individuals know the saying “honesty is the best policy”. But the question arises as to whether they follow it all in their lives and in their daily activities. The answer to this question is known to each of us. In reality very few people implement it, though everyone knows. We deliberately try to avoid fact and this is the difference between an educated mind and a literate mind.
As I said before, literacy teaches us how to read and write while education gives us tools as well as what to read and write. Because of this, literacy is more fact-based and quantitative, while education is value-oriented and qualitative.
For example, a literate man will talk about demographics and statistics, but a well-educated man will take into account the characteristics of the population in appropriate proportions before discussing demographics.
Literacy is mainly confined to formal school. But education goes beyond that. It involves not only formal education but also informal. In which aspects of behaviour, home education, family aspects, respect for parents and attitude towards society are the same.
Literacy simply refers to the fine-tuning of skills, which is of course helpful and beneficial; and also focuses on maintaining the status quo, but education, however, goes far beyond that.
It shows the all-round development of man. In addition to skills, it includes many other things, including values, ethics, and virtues. It brings about the holistic development of the human personality. It helps us to develop physically, cognitively, spiritually and socially.
It’s basically as simple as this. Literacy will give you valuable information. Education will provide you with invaluable knowledge. The difference between literacy and education is that the first is very theoretical in nature, while the latter teaches you how to use that information for the good of mankind and the world in general.
For example, a man with a degree in chemistry knows how to make an atom bomb and use tons of atomic power. But a person with true knowledge will use that information to build a nuclear power reactor that will provide thousands of people with electricity for constructive use rather than destructive.
Education is the same as knowledge and worldly awareness. Supreme education is that which not only informs us but keeps our lives in harmony with all existence.
Rabindranath Tagore, the composer of our national anthem, and one of the most well-known thinkers in the Indian subcontinent as well as in the world, is based on the concept of education. As per his perspective, the objective of education is creative self-expression through physical, mental, aesthetic and moral growth. He often stated that the regular type of school was of a manufacturing nature and was the only method of discipline designed specifically to grind similar results.
The reason why university education is so backward is that when everything else in the world has evolved, and we have evolved as human beings, the content of our part and curriculum remains the same as it was twenty years ago, albeit with a few minor changes.
If so, much progress has been made in technology, methods of transportation, nutrition, food, architecture, etc., then why are only education and society left behind? When you think about it practically, the only reason why society is moving at a snail’s pace is because education has not changed, and the mindset of generations has stopped.
One practice that is frequently practiced in most graduate colleges is that if a topic of discussion arises, which is not supported by a famous research paper, the issue is not addressed. But I don’t think that’s true education. After all, to write a research paper, the idea must have come to one’s mind.
That someone has to work on that idea and only then will we know if the issue is a fact or not. If students are not allowed this idea in their school years, how will they learn to be open-minded?
The purpose of university education should be to be a true servant of those who live and die for the good of the world on a large scale. It should kindle the fire to work for the betterment of the less privileged among us, to help the sick and disabled, to fight war and to advocate for world peace. It should be consistent with the goals of coordination and true education.
Literacy Winning the Race
On average, the majority of the population knows three or four languages. We improve our language skills and study each other’s potential accomplishments. In fact, the standards for what it calls “absolute” have become much higher.
Despite this, the world does not seem to be largely educated. Science has proven that the world may be coming to an end due to rising pollution and global warming, but this does not seem to affect anyone. Yet in the year 2000, when Arya Andhashraddha claimed that the world would come to an end, everyone was in a panic. So now, when we can actually make a difference, why not try it?
Meanwhile, money is being spent on building statues and rebuilding monuments of historical significance, while people are dying every day in Flint, Michigan due to a shortage of potable water. In Ohio, the new ban on abortion has freed women from their own rights over their bodies.
All of these are examples of how literacy has grown so rapidly, but there has been no corresponding growth in education. In fact, it is very likely that he has fallen behind.
Advantages of Education
“Education is what liberates,” is a primitive saying that is still true today. It does not refer only to spiritual knowledge, as salvation does not refer to spiritual liberation after death. This knowledge refers to all possible education and training necessary for the service of mankind.
Freedom here means freedom in all ways: freedom of thought and speech, freedom from slavery, freedom from one’s own body, and so on. There are two types of servitude. It can be either the domination of others over us or the power of material things over us. The knowledge gained in pursuit of this ideal only constitutes a truly dedicated study.
Real education revolutionizes thinking. It inspires a person to think in a perhaps unconventional, but definitely creative and innovative way. It frees the person from the mental slavery of superstition, prejudice, disbelief and old rigid social and religious customs.
It only goes beyond rationalism; It also brings curiosity. There is a famous saying that “Curiosity kills a cat.” However, most people do not know that it continues, “Curiosity kills the cat, but satisfaction brings it back.” And that’s what happens when we feel curious and work on it!
To quote Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world.” And really, it must be used! But who is going to change schooling from literacy to true education?
In order to educate people and children, we must take care of the teaching method. We should have skilled and reputable teachers who can educate the younger generation because once enlightened mind cannot become dark. Nowadays, we learn for grades. We pursue discrimination in children based on their academic grades. Students with different abilities should be mixed together in the right order without discrimination so that they can learn from each other. Everyone has their own abilities and interests. We should encourage them to excel in the areas in which they want to grow. They should be given the option to develop themselves. If we judge a fish by its ability to climb trees, we are fooling ourselves. When teaching a child, both parents and teachers should keep in mind Margaret Mead’s quote: “Teach a child how to think and what not to think.”
The goal of education is not necessarily that mastering a subject but also mastering an individual.
We should put all other businesses aside, just get them out. We should stop ourselves from commenting on others, stop gossiping completely and then start working on ourselves. Just as Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
As a person, it is important to educate yourself with the right goals in mind. We already know how to read and write, and have therefore been given the necessary tools. We should bring up our education system, which not only teaches us the basic subjects of geography and languages but also the true philosophy and wisdom for life. At last, it is not literacy or knowledge that makes man, but true education and wisdom for real life.