Of Einstein, Fish, Trees, and Indian Education

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
— Albert Einstein (?)

Let the mythbusters take care of the examination of the authenticity of this attribution. The important part here is the story of Mohammed and Samit*.

Mohammed was the captain of my high school soccer team. He was also the Yellow House captain, part of the school Volleyball team, the 100m champion and the finishing member of the 4x100m relay team. Unfortunately, Mohammed was also the person who consistently scored lowest in the English, Math and Science class, and therefore wasn't really well-known among the teachers.

Samit was the head boy in high school. He was also the chairman of multiple clubs, leader of multiple academic competitive teams, and the default representative for any public facing school event. Samit did not participate in a whole lot in non-required sporting activities; that did not keep him from being the favourite among the teachers.

Even 8 years back, I wondered what the reason was behind the way the two, both friends of mine, were treated by the teachers. The answer given by my peers -- It's the Indian system of education. Curricular scholarship is all that mattered, and unfortunately still does. While we had coaching classes for all the sciences, even playing sport in the PE classes was frowned upon as the exams approached.

Playing sport is not going to get you into good colleges. 


*Names changed.