The top brass in the Government has rightly, though belatedly, taken the initiative on skilling the economically productive sections of the country’s human resources. Identifying the faculty of talent and nurturing it to blossom are equally rewarding pursuit, earlier the better. The rich stock of sculptures and frescoes across the land that have endured over centuries, monumental structures including imposing temples and not to forget the practises of raising crops followed by protecting the stock as well as processing into dishes with delectable taste as a legacy of later generations stand as irrefutable testimony to the skill set of the land’s past diaspora. The cases of prodigious philosopher Adi Shankara of eighth century and scholars who authored awesome highly rated voluminous literary works such as the epics which are quoted extensively by knowledgeable speakers of our times represent the talent factor, explained as samskaara (ability acquired during previous lives). Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920) and Shakuntala Devi (1929 -2013), known for their wizardry in the field of mathematics are modern examples of persons with extraordinary talent.
The institutions of imparting knowledge aimed at empowering the inmates of the now-gone gurukula of the distant past provided wide avenues of learning in virtually all aspects of life in total contrast to the modern schooling system focussed on passing examinations with high marks.
Skill and talent may be two sides of the same coin, but the synergy by super imposing skill over talent requires a clear understanding of the aptitude of the target learners on the part of the teacher. The rigmarole of syllabus to be followed more in words than in spirit as in the present scenario seems to hide the talent of the pupils and kill the chances of acquiring skill. The issue of unemployment is figuring in public domain and debated more with anguish and despair than looking for steps on creating opportunities for arresting the rise in the number of unemployed people. Equally important are the skills of communicating with proper body language and working in teams.
The schools will do well by making time to enlarge their dialogue with pupils beyond the blackboard and the text book. Every pupil has the seeds of skills and talent that need help from their teachers for the seeds to germinate and grow into robust trees. Today’s youth must be enabled to learn the trade and not just the tricks of the trade.