“Luckily I’m not educated,” he tells students. “If you act like an illiterate man, your learning will never stop… Being uneducated, you have no fear of the future.”
His wife Shanthi agrees with him on this point. “If he had completed his education, he would be like any other guy, who works for someone else, who gets a daily wage,” she says. “But because he did not complete school, he had the courage to come out to start a business of his own. Now he’s employing other people.”
I know this man is truly remarkable and inspirational, and not everyone will end up like him of course, if they had to quit school at a young age to help their widowed mother support a poor family in a very poor country with little to no welfare support.
I just think this has relevance to education and my concept of it anyway. If one’s curiosity is never quashed, and always motivated, one can achieve a lot just working on their interests. And that is true however you choose to educate your children. I just wish schools are not so concerned with teaching to the test these days. That does little to encourage young minds to be curious and creative. And I feel this story illustrates how autonomous learning works in a way. From start to finish, this man was driven by curiosity and interest alone. Not for money nor fame. He is remarkable because the harshness of his life did not quash his hopes and desire to follow his dreams.
This is what unschooling looks like, albeit in a more sheltered environment what with us living in more developed countries and nowhere near the poverty levels the man encountered in his life. The drive to learn starts with a question or problem in one’s head that one wants to solve. And the rest follows. There is no need to pre-plan or anticipate what “subjects” or topics a person needs to learn now for later. One solves a bit of the puzzle one step at a time, one day at a time.
Still a wonderful article to spend about 5 minutes reading. It makes me feel happy inside, and inspired to continue doing what I am doing for my children. And it serves as a reminder for me to try and focus more on my children’s individual interests and prioritise their time accordingly so they can explore what they love. To expose them to a larger variety of experiences and opportunities. And to allow them to grow in their own way.
By the way, he has done a TED talk here :
Worth watching if not just to catch a glimpse of how this man is like in real life.