S: My cousin, who is 12 years old, sends his assignments to his teachers through email. Can you believe it? When we were 12, heck until we reached university, we never used anything other than paper and pen. These kids have grown up too fast.

A: Wow. Does he go to one of those smart schools, where teachers think that learning does not happen in classrooms, rather only by engaging with each other?

S: Yes one of those. I read the curriculum once. For the whole year, they only have one miserly workbook. The rest of the sessions are just dedicated to interacting with the class and the teachers. I mean, it’s good that they are focusing on letting the children critically think on their own. But I’m not so sure, how sustainable this is. Especially in a school system, that is oriented towards grades.

A: Critical thinking is one thing. Letting these children be deprived of actually working hard, is another. Yes, there are many problems with only emphasizing on book learning, but you cannot discredit the fact that we were able to handle the Pakistani university workload, because of that. This is not a perfect world, where you say a bunch of ‘innovative’, things in the class, and get awarded for it. You need grades. For that, you need to work hard.

S: What about changing the whole grade culture? It is an awful rat-race, one that crushes all ambitions of students. Maybe this new system of learning, one that is focusing on the student as an individual, might not be so bad. It can actually work. The students need all the inspiration they can get.

A: I agree that this grade-culture is detrimental, but giving them an easy way out is also a train wreck waiting to happen. If they are so dependent on computers and digital media for their information, they will never value the importance of a book. Remember the times we used to read encyclopedias to get some extra information. At the undergrad, we used to camp outside of libraries, stacking piles of books to read. If everything is online for them, where is the learning in that?