The first and foremost interpretation of this quote by Victor Hugo, understanding it in simple way, is that a child who enters in the world of education learns from his own surrounding and nourishes his mind properly, either to lead an excellent practical life or for the development of his strong character in social life as well. All most all, efforts should be made in academics and learning is to achieve personal high standards. Hence, this is what a school is supposed to instill in its disciples.
Many thinkers and philosophers emphasize the necessity of education to enable each generation to have the best qualities and also suggest that it is dangerous for a nation if its peoples are not literate, as this will cause decline its prosperity and honor.
My opinion is that this is not an ultimate fact, as there are numerous examples that could disprove this, looking at present and past history which reveal that men of great prospects, were complained to be academically incompetent even when their schools were unable to help facilitate their minds, only then to proves themselves intelligent in other ways. This shows that their thoughts were prisoned under their circumstances and then set free. If they had thought to fly like a bird, they did it same time their school were objecting to their abilities, by force or by assigning them something that did not match their dream.
Here another aspect arises, whereby many schools and institutions commit the crime of repressing an individual’s rights or giving him chance to represent a new thought or idea. Schools are the legal killers of ideas and excellent minds. Philosophers are right when they argue that an individual who is learned know about his rights and abides the laws. While that is true, at the same time, we have examples that learning in such circumstances makes a person rebel. If a genius mind commits himself to rebellion, it would not be easy to estimate what how, and to what extent, he will damage the whole system. Many nations had suffered from such rebels, brainy people who could make the system a dangerous prison in and of itself.
And there are examples of people who were not “school-chasers”, they were never known as “school-toppers” in fact they had a bad reputation about their study skills. These are some children who, although they strongly resisted schooling, were able to create history. We can see now that the schoolers who dropped out from schools, colleges and even universities after being labeled as the dullest students of their respective institutions then went on to prove that they had something that their schools were unable to harvest in their minds.
Albert Einstein was labeled, by his school, as an abnormal child. In today’s world and in the history of our time, he is considered one of the greatest people of all time, a true genius. People who are college dropped outs have billions worth of assets and have given the world new heights of discoveries and ideas. These dropped outs even go on to hire the toppers of universities in their companies and give them a job. Let’s suppose that, after completing their education, if they had not been given a job, what would happen to them? Without the entrepreneurs of the world? Would they only be called literate but not be beneficial for country or nation?
Education teaches us about liberty and freedom, but what kind of freedom and liberty? This is a grave question. Schools deny the responsibility of a person’s growth; they only enroll already shining stars.
Schools create a prison around a genius person that is never encouraged to look beyond his, limits are more often considered prison. If one intellectual is not allowed to readdress the old theories or create new ones, or conduct a whole new set of customs, he is imprisoned even though he is a genius. This because no one would allow him to branch out, especially narrow-minded teachers who believe they know what is best. Schools say they put pupils first, but it is actually teachers.
Students are like hordes of dull-minded individuals; they do not cultivate assets of the future. They are assigned to work like a dumb robot that could not think or feel at all, and the pressure of years of study is enough to destroy any fresh idea.
To the last point, students are taught how to be wealthy in the future, but they are never taught how to create peace. They are taught what their duties are. They are never taught what their rights are. And ultimately they have to protest for their rights in backward countries.
These obstacles are the hurdles to Hugo’s quote, which forms a perfect flowing road to follow.