Making children practice handwriting is a wasteful exercise. With the advent of computers, handwriting has lost its relevance. Support and oppose.
Support .. Computers are making inroads into our lives at an unstoppable pace. With the advent of AI, IoT, Machine Learning etc., Information Technology will touch every sphere of our life. The effect is everywhere there to see. Post Offices have recorded sharp fall in the number of letters they handle. This is so, because no one actually writes using the pen and paper. All communications worldwide are done via the fast, safe, and cheap mode –the email. The authors, lost deep in their creative thoughts, write their manuscripts in laptops. Lovers exchange their romantic letters through mail, using emojis to underline their emotions. Students type their answers, though some orthodox examiners still insist on handwritten answers. However, the writing in the wall is all clear. Writing by hand is a vanishing act. So, why punish a child to write with beautiful, clear letters?
In elementary schools, many succeed to improve their handwriting: some fail miserably. These pupils are chided by the teacher in front of the whole class. It’s a demeaning experience, a scar that remains with the learner all his life. It undermines his self confidence. The examiner mistakenly gives more mark to an answer written with a beautiful hand, although its content may be pedestrian. In the same way, a brilliant answer may get the writer lesser mark just because his handwriting is bad. This is injustice and irrational.
The time, energy and effort a child spends in improving his handwriting can be better utilized to learn the basics of the Keyboard, and trick of MS Office. Let’s, therefore, not hesitate to discard habits that have no relevance today, such as the bullock cart is ceding its road space to the mini truck, or the ballot papers are being replaced by EVMs. [295 words]
Against .. Undermining the art and practice of handwriting is bizarre. Handwriting is the hallmark of one’s personality—of his inner self. When we grow up and live away from our old parents, what will please us more? A much-awaited, hand-written letter, or a cryptic hastily-written mail that pops up on the screen at every hour of the day? A post man rings the bell, shuffles his bag, and delivers a letter. There is a frenzy of emotion attached to the one or two minutes that elapses in the process. Bereft of such excitement, such waiting, life will be dull and mechanical. In a far-flung place, a villager wants to write a petition to the Collector, or to the police inspector. Where does he go to access a computer? Will he have broadband access?
Practicing handwriting disciplines the mind. It teaches us to be meticulous with whatever we do. It might inflict pain, cause harassment to a tender mind, but it shapes the mind to tune itself to the intricate woven world of science and literature.
Communication is not always formal or official. Computer-enabled communication might be desirable in many situations, but when it comes to personal touch, emails are grotesque, and inhuman. So, in trying to be efficient, let’s not rob ourselves of our inner human core. [218 words]