I REFER to the letters "High in education, low in virtue" from Dr Elizabeth Joseph and "What do you say when an engineer punches an ATM?" from Jeremiah Tan (NST June 5).
They asked the same question namely, has our education system failed us? The answer must be "yes" and this modern day education system has in fact, failed the whole world.
The world has built many colleges and universities, yet we have no peace because what we consider as education is but an incomplete one.
Let us ask ourselves these questions: What is education actually? What kind of education is needed? What are the benefits of our modern day education? What is the end of education?
There are two kinds of education, the external and the internal. The external are the facts about the external world, condensed into a book for students to fill their heads with and empty them in examinations.
This "book" knowledge is indeed important for one part of life, which is securing a job and earning a living. However, by receiving this external information, it does not mean that we are educated in the true sense of the word.
Obtaining this external information does not make us a human being. The internal education which springs from the heart should be understood and imparted to students. This internal education could be termed as "culture", which consists of the cultivation of discrimination between good and evil and basic human values such as love, truth, righteousness, peace, devotion, discipline, duty and others.
What kind of education is needed? Education must be a blend of the external and internal in order to create true humanness in a student. External education alone cannot confer human values and benefit the world.
Such a system will remove all evil qualities in a student and we will have a noble person equipped with knowledge to serve society.
To illustrate this point, let us take two scientists as an example. Both of them studied nuclear sciences (external education), but only one had the benefit of an internal education. The scientist who only had an external education goes on to make a nuclear bomb that destroys lives. The other scientist, who acquired external and internal education, uses the nuclear knowledge to help people prosper.
Why do we need such an education? The world is in a bad state because of human activity. This activity is the result of one's thoughts which can be influenced by many external factors. If the thoughts are good, all actions will be good.
What has modern education contributed? We have seen massacres, holocausts, famine, rape, torture, Apartheid, killings and ethnic-cleansing. What is the end of true education? Is it money? Titles? Fame? Glory? Or is it character?
By Ariff Shah R.K, Penang Source: New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 11 June 2012