“Education would be so much more effective if its purpose were to ensure that by the time they leave school, every boy and girl should know how much they don’t know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.”
Today, I had been discussing with my father about buying a camera, when a strange thing happened which made me ashamed of myself in spite of these 13 years of education.
Amazon.in has offered huge discounts on its products for these 3 days – 6th, 7th and 8th May. On 6th, yesterday, I saw the newspaper, with Amazon’s ad on it. But I didn’t care to go through the offers in a fit of mad anger. This is because I always used to go through such offers but my parents would never pay attention to buying them.
Today, while I was sitting with my father in the living room this afternoon, he showed me the newspaper with Amazon’s ad on the front page.
He told me to see the offer which he had encircled. I saw- – I was delighted for it was a camera with 54% discount. I was happy.
We were discussing about the Megapixels, memory card, etc. etc. when my mother asked me referring to my father, “Would he really buy?”.
I said, “Yes, he would.”
And I and my father both said to my Mom that it is so necessary to have a digital camera especially if people are interested in photography.
He said, “Its 54% off.”
Then he wondered what would be its actual price.
My father is Graduate but I and even he, never thought he was so good in math.
I was wondering the actual price of the camera by the complex algebraic process churning up in my mind. But at the same time my father suggested some other method which I had never heard of.
That’s why I ignored him and kept on doing my work.
Then I took calculator and I started to calculate according to my process (algebraic process which we are taught in schools). It came around Rs. 4250.
I told him but he said,” No, it would definitely be something around Rs.5000”. When he calculated, it came around Rs. 4750.
Then I took a paper and a pen and calculated again systematically which was a very long process of course.
The answer came Rs. 5000 and now I was correct this time.
The price of camera after discount was Rs.2300.
Then my father told how to calculate it on calculator. Type 2300, add 54 with the symbol % to get the answer i.e. 2300+54%. But that was 200% wrong step, we both realized.
Coz in this step we were adding 54% of 2300 to 2300.
The ones who know anything about computer language might know that in computers ‘%’ sign means mod and that is a completely different operation from the way we use this ‘%’ sign.
So, even I suggested my father that in calculators and all, this ‘%’ sign means something else. But he continued to explain me his way.
He said let’s take 5000 according to you to be the actual price.
Type “5000-54% = “ in the calculator.
And guess what?
The calculator showed the result 2300.
That was what we wanted. Now, it was confirmed that Rs.5000 was the actual price and when discounted 54%, it was marked Rs. 2300.
I was shocked!
I asked him to explain me again.
I couldn’t believe.
Then he said me to explain my method.
I took the paper and pen and solved again the problem with algebraic process and it took me almost a minute to solve systematically.
But through calculator just a few seconds.
I mean to say, its good that in schools we are taught, made to practice and we are tested the actual method how to solve a given problem – the systematic method – which helps us to know what is the logic used behind some digital devices. That is perfectly OK. This method tells us actually what we are doing.
But can we really afford to use this method in real life. REALLY?
Really, we can’t afford to loose one full minute calculating, discount % , discount, actual price, marked price,etc. in front of – say a customer!
My point is- why aren’t we taught practical methods alongwith these theoretical methods???
Why aren’t we made to use calculators to solve DAILY LIF PROBLEMS in schools???
O f course, we can all do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division on calculators. But can we solve such real life problems on calculators in just one or two steps??— we can’t.
When I got to know this method, I could not look into my father’s eyes, but instead – laughed at myself.
Why are we just made to read MORAL SCIENCE books – why can’t they be TAUGHT to us? Why can’t we be made to understand them?
Theoretical approach is the most important to know the logic behind. But what is its use if we don’t know where it is to be used & how?
Daily life situations definitely need to be handled practically- theoretically , they can only be understood and organized and planned.
An engineer is surely more dignified and educated than the technician. But even he/she can’t do all the work by himself/herself. He can give directions always, but can’t implement always.
While a technician can do all the work if guided , and almost all the works necessary in daily life, just by himself with his experience! Strange! Isn’t it?
So, definitely, students, alongwith being imparted bookish knowledge, should also be made to develop skills. So that, even if they are not good in academics, they can still do something – the basics required for a basic peaceful life!!!