Richard Feynman’s small story….

RichardFeynman-PaineMansionWoods1984_copyrightTamikoThiel_bwOne small inspiring incident described by famous scientist Richard Feynman tells us about education and it’s purpose:

All the kids were playing in the field and one kid said to me, “See that bird, what kind of a bird is that?” And I said, “I haven’t the slightest idea what kind of a bird it is.” He says, “It’s a brown throated thrush,” or something, “Your father doesn’t tell you anything.” But it was the opposite: my father had taught me. Looking at a bird he says, “Do you know what that bird is? It’s a brown throated thrush; but in Portuguese it’s a . . . in Italian a . . . ,” he says “in Chinese it’s a . . . , in Japanese a . . . ,” etcetera. “Now,” he says, “you know in all the languages you want to know what the name of that bird is and when you’ve finished with all that,” he says, “you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. You only know about humans in different places and what they call the bird. Now,” he says, “let’s look at the bird.” He had taught me to notice thing.

You can see complete Interview with BBC

 

The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge

Sharing with you come of interesting excerpts of Abraham Flexner’s paper “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge”.

“……….through out the whole history of science most of the really great discoveries which had ultimately proved to be beneficial to mankind had been made by men and women who were driven not by the desire to be useful but merely the desire to satisfy their curiosity.

“Curiosity?” asked Mr. Eastman. “Yes,” I replied, “curiosity, which mayor may not eventuate in something useful, is probably the outstanding characteristic of modern thinking. It is not new. It goes back to Galileo, Bacon, and to Sir Isaac Newton, and it must be absolutely unhampered. Institutions of learning should be devoted to the cultivation of curiosity and the less they are deflected by considerations of immediacy of application, the more likely they are to contribute not only to human welfare but to the equally important satisfaction of intellectual interest which may indeed be said to have become the ruling passion of intellectual life in modern times.”

The Parrot’s Training – Rabindranath Tagore

Here we are posting another Beautiful Story by Rabindranath Tagore. The story is of a parot, but it points to lot of things we know about present scenario of Education and what is the problem ‘Jigyasa‘ wants to fight.

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ONCE UPON A time there was a bird. It was ignorant. It sang all right, but never recited scriptures. It hopped pretty frequently, but lacked manners.

Said the Raja to himself: ‘Ignorance is costly in the long run. For fools consume as much food as their betters, and yet give nothing in return.’

He called his nephews to his presence and told them that the bird must have a sound schooling.

The pundits were summoned, and at once went to the root of the matter.

They decided that the ignorance of birds was due to their natural habit of living in poor nests. Therefore, according to the pundits, the first thing necessary for this bird’s education was a suitable cage.

The pundits had their rewards and went home happy.

A golden cage was built with gorgeous decorations. Crowds came to see it from all parts of the world. ‘Culture, captured and caged! ‘ exclaimed some, in a rapture of ecstasy, and burst into tears. Others remarked: ‘Even if culture be missed, the cage will remain, to the end, a substantial fact. How fortunate for the bird!’

The goldsmith filled his bag with money and lost no time in sailing homewards.

The pundit sat down to educate the bird. With proper deliberation he took his pinch of snuff, as he said: ‘Text-books can never be too many for our purpose!’

The nephews brought together an enormous crowd of scribes. They copied from books, and copied from copies, till the manuscripts were piled up to an unreachable height. Men murmured in amazement: ‘Oh, the tower of culture, egregiously high! The end of it lost in the clouds!’

The scribes, with light hearts, hurried home, their pockets heavily laden.

The nephews were furiously busy keeping the cage in proper trim. As their constant scrubbing and polishing went on, the people said with satisfaction: ‘This is progress indeed!’

Men were employed in large numbers, and supervisors were still more numerous. These, with their cousins of all different degrees of distance, built a palace for themselves and lived there happily ever after.

Whatever may be its other deficiencies, the world is never in want of fault- finders; and they went about saying that every creature remotely connected with the cage flourished beyond words, excepting only the bird.

When this remark reached the Raja’s ears, he summoned his nephews before him and said: ‘My dear nephews, what is this that we hear?’

The nephews said in answer: ‘Sire, let the testimony of the goldsmiths and the pundits, the scribes and the supervisors, be taken, if the truth is to be known. Food is scarce with the fault-finders, and that is why their tongues have gained in sharpness.’

The explanation was so luminously satisfactory that the Raja decorated each one of his nephews with his own rare jewels.

The Raja at length, being desirous of seeing with his own eyes how his Education Department busied itself with the little bird, made his appearance one day at the great Hall of Learning.

From the gate rose the sounds of conch-shells and gongs, horns, bugles and trumpets, cymbals, drums and kettle-drums, tomtoms, tambourines, flutes, fifes, barrel-organs and bagpipes. The pundits began chanting mantras with their topmost voices, while the goldsmiths, scribes, supervisors, and their numberless cousins of all different degrees of distance, loudly raised a round of cheers.

The nephews smiled and said: ‘Sire, what do you think of it all?’

The Raja said: ‘It does seem so fearfully like a sound principle of Education!’

Mightily pleased, the Raja was about to remount his elephant, when the fault-finder, from behind some bush, cried out: ‘Maharaja, have you seen the bird?’

‘Indeed, I have not!’ exclaimed the Raja, ‘I completely forgot about the bird.’

Turning back, he asked the pundits about the method they followed in instructing the bird. It was shown to him. He was immensely impressed. The method was so stupendous that the bird looked ridiculously unimportant in comparison. The Raja was satisfied that there was no flaw in the arrangements. As for any complaint from the bird itself, that simply could not be expected. Its throat was so completely choked with the leaves from the books that it could neither whistle nor whisper. It sent a thrill through one’s body to watch the process.

This time, while remounting his elephant, the Raja ordered his State ear-puller to give a thorough good pull at both the ears of the fault-finder.

The bird thus crawled on, duly and properly, to the safest verge of inanity. In fact, its progress was satisfactory in the extreme. Nevertheless, nature occasionally triumphed over training, and when the morning light peeped into the bird’s cage it sometimes fluttered its wings in a reprehensible manner. And, though it is hard to believe, it pitifully pecked at its bars with its feeble beak.

‘What impertinence!’ growled the kotwal.

The blacksmith, with his forge and hammer, took his place in the Raja’s Department of Education. Oh, what resounding blows! The iron chain was soon completed, and the bird’s wings were clipped.

The Raja’s brothers-in-law looked black, and shook their heads, saying: ‘These birds not only lack good sense, but also gratitude!’

With text-book in one hand and baton in the other, the pundits gave the poor bird what may fitly be called lessons!

The kotwal was honoured with a title for his watchfulness, and the blacksmith for his skill in forging chains.

The bird died.

Nobody had the least notion how long ago this had happened. The fault- finder was the first man to spread the rumour.

The Raja called his nephews and asked them. ‘My dear nephews, what is this that we hear?’

The nephews said: ‘Sire, the bird’s education has been completed.’

‘Does it hop?’ the Raja enquired.

‘Never! ‘said the nephews.

‘Does it fly?’

‘No.’

‘Bring me the bird,’ said the Raja.

The bird was brought to him, guarded by the kotwal and the sepoys and the sowars. The Raja poked its body with his finger. Only its inner stuffing of book-leaves rustled.

Outside the window, the murmur of the spring breeze amongst the newly budded asoka leaves made the April morning wistful.

Financial Education for Kids

Should children be told about Finance in their earlier education?

There can be different views of this. Some will say children should be exposed to realities of financial world very early in childhood. Others will not agree to it and will say that their childhood should not be distorted with money matters.

This debate will continue, but efforts have already started to give children flavor of Financial world. Recently came across animated series “Secret Millionaires Club”. In Secret Millionaire’s Club, an animated Warren Buffett is a mentor to a group of kids who have adventures in business and learn financial lessons along the way. You can view all episodes at: http://www.smckids.com

The series has very useful lessons for children from none other than world’s best investor ‘Warren Buffet’.

“It’s important for kids to develop good financial habits from an early age and that is what Secret Millionaires Club is all about,” Buffett said. “It’s not intended to teach kids how to read a balance sheet, it’s meant to provide a fun way for kids to understand business and develop good habits from an early age,” he said while talking about the series.

Besides the animated learning series, the site has many useful games for learning about money.

This is not the first time we are seeing Financial Education for kids. There are already many resources available, such as:

Rich Kids Smart Kids : The site and concept is developed by very famous author “Robert Kiyosaki”. He is famous for his book “Rich dad Poor dad”.

The Mint : Launched in 1997, the site provides tools to help parents as well as educators teach children to manage money wisely and develop good financial habits.

The Financial Fairy Tales : Gives financial education to kids through fairy tales.

But the question still remains. Should children be exposed to Financial Education in early childhood. What are your views? Leave your comments.

Story of The Animal School : It tells a lot

Here is a Beautiful Story by George Reavis. Read it and it will tell lot about the present scenario of Education and what is the problem ‘Jigyasa‘ wants to fight.

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Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of “a new world”.  So they organised a school.  They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying.  To make it easier to administer, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent at swimming.  In fact, he was better than his instructor, but he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor at running.  Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school, and also drop swimming in order to practice running.  This was kept up until his feet were badly worn, and he became only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that, except the duck.

The deer started at the top of the class in running, but had a nervous breakdown because of so much extra work in swimming.   The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class, where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down.  He also developed a hernia from over-exertion and then got C in climbing and a D in running.

The eagle was a problem child, and was disciplined severely.  In the climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well,  and also run, climb and fly a little, had the highest average and was top of the class.

The moles stayed out of school, and fought the rates because the Governors would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum.  They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the rabbits and the lemmings to start a successful private school.

Does this Story tell something to you…

Moving Education starts Computer Education for Less-privileged Girls

‘Moving Education’ is joint initiative of ‘Jigaysa’ and ‘Innovative Foundation for India’. Recently ‘Moving Education’ started its first project for Less-privileged Girls from Rishikesh. The project is for two months and these girls are being imparted basic Computer education to enable them to earn their livelihood. The beneficiaries of this project are 11 less-privileged girls. These girls come from families which are less financially empowered.

The project is started at ‘Sunrise Computer Center’ and ‘Moving Education’ will fund the education for these girls. ‘Moving Education’ will also try to provide these girls proper employment.

Complete details about the project can be see at ‘Moving Education

Welcome to Jigaysa

Yes… We are still in our starting phase. We got our legal form in the form of Charitable Trust. We got our website. But there is a long way to go. We know what is our ultimate goal. We know what we want to achieve. But how to reach that goal is still a mystry , for us. Lot of planning and strategy need to be made.

Next goal is to formulate principles and objectives of Jigyasa….