Cooking education: what is education?

A week ago, my new place of residence had welcomed a new cook, a young boy of 18 years old age. I upon meeting him, asked him about the studies, if he had done any. He felt a bit embarrassed, I thought, on asking that question. He sheepishly told me that he had only studied till the 7th standard, and because of an unavoidable family crisis, he had to take up small works here and there.

An eighteen years old boy who has an ample amount time in his hand beside the usual working hours he is involved in, without having any school to study in, might land himself in the darkest place under debilitating habits and house an evil inside his mind. So I advised him to pick up reading.

Now, I do know that his family responsibilities won't allow him to go back to school but is school necessary to continue his education. Education is a lifelong learning process. Many of us, specially in our country, fall into the societal myth that it is only the school education, college degrees and certificates which make them educated.

However, I , specially after having grown into an adult, after receiving various pieces of papers certifying my pompous education , do not believe any longer that it is only the degrees that matter in the longer run. Society accepts people based on the number of degrees that they have and the jobs that such pieces of validated certificates bring to them. But what after that? But what about the willingness to learn and educate oneself continuously? But what about understanding issues of the nation, the state , the locality? But what about giving back to the humankind the knowledge and opinions one can form through the continuous learning process?

No, I believe that education should not be limited to accruing degrees to boast and boost a career. The idea of education, to me, goes beyond such societal definitions. If the boy, our new cook, starts reading again, obviously through various means which includes but not limited to the right use of smart phone, that he has, and internet facility, which he does have, won't he be a better person, a responsible one at that , an awared one at that with opinions and solutions to issues that he might face in his life? Who says that you need to have a masters degree in political science or literature to know the nuances of the same? Can't one, if he knows how to read and write, pick up any book that he wants to read and be knowledgeable? Education is not limited to mere certificates. I have seen many who do not know an iota of things related to their proud degrees and seen some who know a lot about and beyond their formal education.

Education is a tool, an instrument of self sufficiency, a mechanism to raise the self worth and awareness of one's surrounding. Won't he, our cook, enjoy a life of independence and enlightenment if he pursues his own education through books, news, magazines and articles? Won't he be a better cook, an educated cook, albeit without certificates but with high self esteem, if he continues to read and enjoy the process to an extent that he would not want anything else but books and company of knowledgeable people?

I asked him to bring back his old text books and utilise his alone time in educating himself. If he starts enjoying the company of books, he will start enjoying his life in a way which is far better than the ways of educated degree holders fighting with each other over baseless myths and withering away their life in the pursuit of illogical and irrational societal goals and ambitions.


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