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  • Priyank Sharma

What's education for? Who's a well educated individual?

The story is of my engineering days at NIT Jalandhar. Since it was an NIT, the students in this story lie in the top 5% of the 1 million students who took the national level entrance exam. These students got education from probably some of the best teachers, schools, edtech and coaching institutes

Exam time.

In engineering, we used to take 6 mid-semester exams in 3 consecutive days (2 exams a day). Those 3 days were probably the only days when every engineering student studied and studied a bit hard.

This is the first day of the 3 days. After getting done with our second exam, we're coming back to hostel brooding over what's the syllabus for the next day (yes, syllabus :D)

As we entered the hostel, I casually looked at the notice board. There was a notice that read URGENT Blood Required today; two units: one unit A -ve and another unit of any blood group.

My immediate thought? Felt happy that my blood group was A-ve.

I quickly called on the number given; I was told that the blood is needed urgently and if possible could I arrange one more unit of any blood group? No problem I said.

I went to my best friend; told him about the urgency. He said: "do din baad chalenge, abhi exam h" [We will go after two days, exams are there]. I thought he didn't understand the urgency; explained him again that it's needed TODAY. He didn't budge. I didn't waste time.

Went to another friend. Same response. I couldn't believe what was happening. Exams vs Dying human - that was an easy choice I thought.

I don't remember the number but I would have gone to atleast 10-15 friends - each one of them denied point blank. No one cared if someone was dying and all looked worried about the exams next day. Or they probably thought that the concerned person will be able to find blood somewhere else or it's not their responsibility; tbh, I don't know.

Finally, I went to a friend who had failed and had backlogs in 10 subjects already; I knew he would be worried about the next day exams and obviously won't agree but I was falling short of options. Thought of just trying luck; I told him the whole story - he didn't flinch; agreed immediately and we both were off to the hospital in no time.

Coming back to the questions:

Who's a well educated individual?

Is it my friend who had failed and had backlogs? or other students who had great grades already but couldn't donate blood?

What's education for?

I see a lot of edtech spaces and organizations putting so much of efforts on learning outcomes but what do those learning outcomes even mean to us, as a society and as a community? like what does a 100% in science even mean? Does it mean the student will create a destructive software or create a gene replacement methodology with that knowledge?

To everyone who's reading this, how do you ensure the latter?

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