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Leading Out

Arun Kapur


Pages: 100 Rs. 195

An educationist leads by example

Arun Kapur’s work grapples with the role and purpose of education, writes Swapan Seth

Swapan Seth  29th Jan 2012

ccomplished copywriters are known to adopt this technique as part of their craft. Drop a penny on the cover or the headline and then furnish the explanation at the end of the entire story. Evidently, Arun Kapur has a third career in mind, after educationist and author. Leading Out, as he explains later in the book, is nothing but the root meaning of the word "educo".

And therein lies the plinth of this marvelous piece of prose.

What is the role of education if not to lead the young out into a world where they can employ the education they have so generously received? Not just in the professions that they will pursue, but also in the shaping of the podium of values on which they will stand in their lives.

Kapur's premise is fairly clear. Leading Out is not about leading into careers. It is more about leading into life. It is about empowerment in the most powerful facets of life.

If my ageing memory serves me right, Kapur writes about education without mentioning a single subject of study. The curriculum is cast away. What is embraced is the untaught chapter of life.

The current educational system is sadly a ritual of passage: our children are over-schooled and under-educated.

He is quick to concede early on that the current educational system is sadly a ritual of passage: our children are over-schooled and under-educated.

The other aspect about education that he stresses on is rather Bezosian in character. Kapur, like Jeff Bezos, believes that the true trot of education is its ability to educate us to make choices. Not always the right ones, but certainly the informed ones. He believes choices are the putty of life and the more children are taught that, the more prepared they will be when they are lead out.

On page 21, there is a line tucked away amidst a flourishing crop of words, something that has stayed with Kapur, a line he heard from John Martyn, the former headmaster of Doon School: " If education is preparation for life, the first thing it must teach you is that life is worth living."

Arun stresses this point periodically in his book. He believes that life is worth living irrespective of the genome, the gender, the geo-politics or the geography of your being. I would take his word for it. Since I do know that he has touched and taught across these constituencies. He has frolicked with the fortunate and chatted with the challenged.

Is Leading Out a prescription for preparedness?

I think it is.

It is a checklist for one's character. It's a checklist for one's career.

Arun had the noblest intentions when he set out to write Leading Out. He wanted it to faithfully answer the true purpose of education.

He ended up writing a book on the true purpose of life. For which he is worthy of both forgiveness and congratulations.

For when does education end and when does life begin?

Unlike Kapur's vision, that line is a tad blurred.

Swapan Seth is CEO, Equus Red Cell. He is also a parent of two children studying in Vasant Valley School, of which Arun Kapur is Director

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