In a closed group of friends where many are parents, few expressed their issues with current system of education and also how demanding both parents and institutions have become and literally orchestrate a learning environment that curbs creativity and eats away the happiest stage of our lives in the name of projects/assignments and homework. Some even blamed the society that predominantly comprises of parents who stuff their aspirations and dreams into their kids, invariably killing their individuality. They contended that this kind of conditioning is the primary reason why many are in jobs that they don’t like and also a major reason why they are in jobs that has no bearing on their qualification.
As a learning and development professional, who had spent some quality time with premiere educational institutions trying to understand what they envision for their students, I have often witnessed a dire necessity among institutions for making parents happy. This quintessential stigma often becomes the central plot while deciding the curriculum that each grade will be exposed to. In an extremely competitive environment where every child is a contestant in a society driven RAT RACE, we often forget that there are many who don’t want to be RAT in the first place. I personally believe that it is not due to the fault of any individual (parents), or any school or the government. The simple fact that the world has changed – and our education system has not been upgraded to fit the contemporary framework for eons are often overseen or plainly neglected. Blame the “If not broken. Don’t try to fix it” mindset
Problem with Our System
Our current system is largely based on a system developed over a century ago around the industrial revolution. A factory manufacturing model where children are placed on a learning conveyor belt, then sorted, packaged and labeled according to their custom fed intelligence. With advent of technology and especially the internet, children have access to huge amount of information and somehow that excites them more than tailor made knowledge nuggets that the current system feeds in the name of education. They crave for something that excites them, something that stimulates them. They need a system that makes them understand their potential and pursue their dreams. We live in a time where one size can never fit all. We need a system that helps kids discover and enjoy what they are good at. It must impart Life skills such as team work, problem solving and planning. These should be practical activities linked to academics.
Need able sculptors
It is also imperative that certain impetus is given to the standard of teachers. Along with comprehensive understanding of pedagogy, subject matter expertise and academic skills; factors such as students’ various characteristics needs and the way it needs to be handled must take prominence. There is a strong need to train teachers to adapt instruction to the diverse student abilities, learning styles; personality traits and needs by using more differentiated teaching strategies.
Respect for ALL
“MA- English? You are planning to be a teacher?”
“Oh! Home science eh? You will be a good wife!”
“Hotel management? So you are a cook!”
The above are typical statements that send waves of hatred towards any stream that is not Engineering, Medical or Business. This needs to stop. This hurls young, unaware minds into jobs they don’t like and by the time they realize what they are good at, they are already in their thirties with sharp daggers called “commitments” hanging above. As a society we need to learn to appreciate every stream and respect them.
Unless we as a society collectively oar that change, the boat will never reach the shore.
MHRD’s List of themes for consultation on School Education does look like it is has taken few steps to address many of what was discussed. Especially with agendas like:
- Strengthening of Vocational Education.
- Reforming School Examination systems.
- Re-vamping Teacher Education for Quality Teachers
- Comprehensive Education – Ethics, Physical Education, Arts & Crafts, Life Skills.
- Focus on Child Health
Let’s hope for the best