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  India   All India  25 Jan 2019  Plain truth: Math still problematic for kids

Plain truth: Math still problematic for kids

Published : Jan 25, 2019, 1:07 am IST
Updated : Jan 25, 2019, 5:15 am IST

86% of youth in the 14-18 age group are still within the formal education system, either in school or in college.

ASER 2017 was carried out in a total of 28 districts of 24 states. About 2,000 volunteers from 35 partner institutions, visited more than 25,000 households in 1,641 villages, surveying more than 30,000 14 to 18 year olds in all.
 ASER 2017 was carried out in a total of 28 districts of 24 states. About 2,000 volunteers from 35 partner institutions, visited more than 25,000 households in 1,641 villages, surveying more than 30,000 14 to 18 year olds in all.

Every year, the ASER report shocks the state education system into improvement. Drawing up comparisons between government school students and their peers in private institutions, the ASER report shows that the former are catching up with the latter. Although reading levels have improved, mathematics is still a hurdle. It's time to revamp the education system, argue experts, for it lacks an overall vision that will better prepare children for the future. Ralph Alex Arakal reports.

Dr. N. Prabhudev

Knowledge of ignorance Is Exploration of what we know about what we don't know:
Can there be any knowledge without a humble awareness of ignorance? It is knowledge of ignorance that makes us truly human. Ignorance itself doesn't equal stupidity. Ignorant is being simply unaware! It's simply human nature. It is healthy ignorance! There isn't a person on this planet who knows everything, despite the plenty I've met who think they do!

Every time I acknowledge my ignorance, it adds to my knowledge. My ignorance made me judge people by using my own yardsticks. If it wasn't for my ignorance I wouldn't have learnt that judging a character does not define the character, it only defines who I am. The "knowledge-ignorance paradox"-the process by which the growth of specialized knowledge results in a simultaneous increase in ignorance. Information Paradox is Drowning in Information and Starving for Knowledge. Information is not the same as knowledge, but there can be no knowledge without information.

It can be argued that the truly educated are distinguished not by the extent of their knowledge, but by a greater and more nuanced awareness of their areas of ignorance. Actually, the two go hand in hand: true knowledge comes only with awareness of one's ignorance

Birds and animals definitely have knowledge of things - where to nest, how to build, where to dig, how to stash for the winter, when to run, when to bluff, and so on. Birds can navigate their way thousands of miles in the sky and many species of fish can do so in the ocean. Squirrels know when to hoard and where to dig. These are all kinds of knowledge, and some are beyond the capacity of human beings.

It isn’t knowledge that distinguishes human beings from other organisms. What they do not seem to have is knowledge of ignorance. Human beings do not just know what they know; they also have a fairly good idea of what they do not know. Non-human beings too know what they know, but there is nothing to indicate that they are aware of what they do not know. The unknown is much larger than known. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. There are no possessions like knowledge, and no poverty like ignorance. This world is a battleground between wisdom and folly, righteousness and wickedness, good and evil, or right and wrong.

Let us start with every day phenomenon. Sunset- A tide of darkness sweeps over us every few hours. While we are in the light of the sun we work and play. During the night few boldly have gone out into the night to look around. And what did they find? The universe! Our thinking has been stimulated by darkness. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are? Thus runs the nursery rhyme. What it conveys is not just wonder, which all complex beings have, but also knowledge-ignorance.

Almost everything that exists becomes evident only in the night. A few hundred billion stars, including sun, compose the Milky Way Galaxy. A few hundred billion galaxies compose the universe.  Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise - Thomas Gray. In childhood I wanted to be happy. And this state of happiness required less worries; naturally, ignorance became an option for me to be careless about my surroundings? which made the adage "Don't worry, be happy" attractive to me.

Life doesn't allow us to choose what we witness, what information we take in, what life teaches us and the way the information affects us. Fearing knowledge sounds silly. ignorance can help you stand out. A quick trigger doesn't equal accuracy. Admitting ignorance can build trust.

These days those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know. Ego is the biggest culprit. Admitting ignorance would have betrayed my title-professor-and the expertise that title was supposed to represent. We've mastered the art of pretending to know the answer to a question, smiling, nodding, and bluffing our way through a makeshift answer. We've been told to fake it until we make it. Hearing someone candidly admit ignorance can be refreshing in a world filled with know-it-alls.

Ignorance Demands Arrogance, While Knowledge Inspires Humility? We have been brought up with the hubristic and misleading belief that knowledge makes us truly human. It doesn't, on its own. What makes us truly human is knowledge of our ignorance.

Unlike knowledge, which is infinitely reusable, ignorance is a one-shot deal.

Is The Speed of Darkness Faster Than The Speed of Light?

In principle, shadows can move faster than the speed of light. Strictly speaking darkness cannot have a speed," says Pete Edwards of Durham University. "It does not move or travel in any way. However, if we think of darkness as the absence of light, darkness is chased away by light and so it disappears at the same speed as light arrives. In this sense the speed of dark is equivalent to the speed of light."

I believe the speed of darkness is a 2.3 times the speed of stupidity. Stupidity has just about the same speed as that of gossip. Both are highly destructive and have limitless potential for harm.

Socratic ignorance refers, paradoxically, to a kind of knowledge-captured by the well-known statement: "I know only one thing-that I know nothing."  Paradoxically, Socratic ignorance is also referred to as "Socratic wisdom."

Socrates believed that philosophy was an improvement of the soul as it reveals our ignorance; therefore it is important to live an "examined life." Wisdom is a sort of recognition of your own ignorance, thus Socrates knows that he is not wise; therefore he has wisdom. Ethics of ignorance, including the right not to know, considers the supposed virtues of ignorance, and concludes that there are situations in which ignorance is morally good.

The writer is former VC, RGUHS

Tags: aser, education