I read Fountainhead by ‘Ayn Rand’ in my final year in college. I was absolutely spellbound. It completely changed how I view this funny thing called ‘life’. Now let me summarize the story for you.
Fountainhead is story of a architect Howard Roark who envisions a utopian world for himself and chooses to act on it despite the burdens that are brought forth with social obligations. He refuses to relinquish his freedom & integrity for any sort of compromise. He designs modernistic buildings irrespective whether they will be accepted by the general public. Another book written by Ayn Rand is ‘Atlas Shrugged’. It is good too.
I think we should a learn a bit or two from this idealistic character called Howard Roark. I would try to weave the story of Indian Education System in terms of the ideals of Howard Roark.
Breaking some common assumptions of the students with a rational view-point
“If I study hard at throughout my life, like get good grades in my CBSE, SSC, or any other shitty Board Exams and then throughout my College years, I will be rewarded handsomely at the end.”
The answer is Yes and No! Of-course you will be rewarded with something. Probably preference over other students during job interviews. Probably you will gain some respect in the society. Probably a great job ( I call it enslavement ) at an MNC. But that’s not the point. The point is who gets to decide what reward you will get?
A good rational person will tell you it is the reward which you choose. You should have the freedom to choose your own reward and then earn it. Let me quote something from Fountainhead.
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”
Yeah seriously it is important to question what is you really want. You really goddamn fucking want. Then think what it is going to take and who is going to stop it
“But you see,” said Roark quietly, “I have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards — and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.”
― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
“A particular educational institution is better than the another one for my career”
Now, this is very much of a paradox that people are unintentionally part of. Now all of the speculation concerning IITs & IIMs or any other ‘famous’ college can be put to dust for the sole reason there are endless list of probabilities that certain course of action in the system can be good or bad for a student. If a certain student calls an institution A to be superior than institution B , or a Course A to be superior than course B, the student should take both the courses or get admitted to the both the institutions to give clear & informed opinion of the same. But that’s not the case. And it is highly impractical for the student to do so.
Now who exploits this Paradox
Coaching Classes. First it is important to accept the fact that coaching classes are businesses. If there was no hype surrounding the IITs / IIMs / any other institution claiming to be superior the business of the coaching classes will shut down, that particular instant. Now let me put it into perspective how large is the coaching classes market (Approx 40+ Billion Dollars). And it is still growing.
Solution to this will be to put more and more of our tax money into improving public institutions. For the reason there is a great divide between the quality of education received in rural areas and urban areas. Increasing the education budget overall by the government and making the coaching classes completely irrelevant.
“It will take lots of time till find my footing and make something of this world”
Screw this world! Ayn Rand says
“Patience is always rewarded and romance is always round the corner!”
Competence that’s what we need.
“It’s easy to run to others. It’s so hard to stand on one’s own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can’t fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is your strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It’s easier to donate a few thousand to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It’s simple to seek substitutes for competence — such easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence.”
― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
So the book Fountainhead promotes individualism as a necessary part of life. Individualism is defined as the habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant. Its is easy to go on auto-pilot mode and let the universe dictate how you will live or in this context, how you will study, which institution will enslave you. I firmly believe, if any revolutionary changes are supposed to happen in the education system those will happen first at the individual level. Let governments come and go, but it is the individual student who has the responsibility to question himself about what he wishes to do or what he can change in this world. If there is any revolution that’s gonna happen in the education world of India it gotta be on the individual level. And lastly I would like to quote Ayn Rand again.