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The Education Revolution

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My grandfather often tells me stories of his early days. In those times, believe it or not, Pakistan was actually considered a tolerant and peaceful place. Foreigners weren’t murdered, kidnapped or robbed the moment they landed in the country. Therefore, my grandpa had quite a few foreign professors, most of them Americans. My grandpa was part of something like the very first Bachelor in Education (B Ed.) batch in the Punjab. Anyway, he sometimes narrates the difficulties he faced in studying the newly-imported subject.

Considering how the field was only recently introduced in the country, there weren’t a lot of books and resources available in those times. Luckily, one of the American professors had brought two text-books with him. These served as the only written resource the entire batch had for the entire program. So, making the best of it, the batch made an hourly schedule for the books. My grandpa was only allowed a total of two hours daily to read the two books, which were then passed on to the next scholar, who passed it on to the next guy after his allotted time ended, and so on.

Hence, the only thing that stopped my grandpa and the other students in his batch from achieving their full potential was a lack of resources, a lack of opportunities, a lack of facilities. Truly, a tragedy. However, an even bigger tragedy is the fact that the story of my grandpa’s B Ed. batch is neither rare nor exceptional. Millions of students in developing countries, from schools and universities alike, struggle to break away from the chains of mediocrity and elevate themselves. Sadly, most of them fail and are forced to resign themselves and simply cram the inaccurate notes concocted by their teachers, without comprehending even the simplest of concepts.

In recent years, a small ray of hope has gradually started penetrating the darkness caused by ignorance and incompetence.  These guys…

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They offer free, high-quality education to everyone. It’s a bit amazing when you think about it. Now everyone with a decent internet connection (and a proxy because of the Pakistani government’s smart decision to block youtube) can get educated for free. Perhaps the best among them is the third guy from the left, Salman Khan. As I’ve mentioned before, Sal has set up an organization called the Khan Academy which is committed to standardizing education, and making it free and easily accessible for everyone. Here is a kind of mixed sample of some interesting videos:

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The Epitome of Humour

I was just browsing through youtube for videos that explain how coils are used in electro-magnetic fields, and their applications in cathode-ray oscilloscopes and hadron colliders etc. That’s when this guy appeared in one of the suggested video

this_guyThe video had an education-ish name so I opened it and braced my mind for the impact of new knowledge. What followed was the longest fit of laughter I’ve had in years. To be fair, I did learn a lot of stuff. But in spite of the fact that his videos are intended to be educational, they are irresistibly, uncontrollably, mindbogglingly hilarious!

He is like the electrical engineering version of Coyote from Loony Tunes’ “Road Runner”). He teaches you what not to do while handling circuits, by doing it himself!

From what I’ve found out from his youtube channel, the guy’s name is Mehdi Sadaghdar and he is from Canada. From his videos, I’m guessing he is an electrical or electronic engineer. He only has about seven videos, and yet has over twenty thousand subscribers and over two million views. This is quite prodigious.

This, in my opinion,  is his funniest video to date: