What Quora Tells Us About Indian Education

Quora.com is a question and answer website, set up in 2009 and opened to the public in 2010. Both its founders had worked at Facebook, one of them as its chief technology officer.┬áThe company’s model resembles Wikipedia.org to a degree — members ask questions and receive answers from the community, while everyone else can read what has been asked and the answers that have been given.

Quora has attracted answers from famous personalities, among them former US President Barack Obama and India’s Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. But the questions Indians ask are revealing. Before you proceed, we recommend reading this post.

Quora hosts a number of ultimately pointless questions asked by Indians. Most of them are open-ended questions asking about the “best” of something, without understanding that “best” is a relative benchmark so the answer is likely to be subjective. For example, take this question: “What is the best gaming laptop in India?

By its very nature, this is an extremely open question that can never have a definite answer. And so, this person has received recommendation for several different laptops. Now, he will be even more confused which laptop to buy. Has Quora helped this person? Equally, has Quora benefitted from this question? The answer to both is No.

We believe such questions on Quora reflect two points our education system instils in the minds of students:

One, the belief that there is one, and ONLY one correct answer to every question.
Two, this correct answer will be given to you by somebody else.

It has been a basic lament that our education system does not allow students to develop individual thinking or their own form of expression and forces them into rote learning. Quora provides us with clear and live examples of this very specific failure.

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