Change beckons Indian education system

Real education challenges the intellect and does not give in to conformity. Imagine a Harry Potter without an iota of experience as swishing a wand, or casting a spell; or a Lord Voldemort glancing into a book every time he needs to execute a wicked incantation! Lot of budding ‘Harrys’ in the sprawling Hogwarts of the Indian education system come across a similar fate every year. Structural and functional anomalies plague the system from its very base to the apex.

Change is the only constant in the education which we could like to see more often. Here are a few things that would revamp the Indian education system and make it more suave:

•Skill-based education

Education has been solely about knowledge in Indian context, of course, slowly we are gearing up to life skills teaching. But we have a long way to go far in implementing the philosophy ‘Teach a man to catch fish and you feed him for a lifetime’. The knowledge gained by students these days is rather  effervescent as soon as they finish their semester exams. By the time they get employed, it seems to have just vanished. Skill-based education can teach students how to apply the knowledge taught in classrooms in real world which is challenging. Students learn to adapt effectively to the changing dynamics of the work world if they are well versed in life skills.

Acknowledging creativity

Rewarding students for topping the university and scoring high marks is not new. The need of the hour is to reward creative thinking in academics rather than just studying what is prescribed by the syllabus. Teachers mostly focus on completing the portions than encouraging innovation, research and abstract thinking in the students. As long as one submits the assignment, one gets internal marks. What about the unique effort that goes into finishing the assignment and the distinctive research work done by him or her? Not all teachers have time to recognize this endeavour. Original answers in exam get less marks than the ones that conform to the answer key standards given to the evaluators. The universities need to give special instructions to teachers to pay exclusive attention to the creativity of the pupils.

•Smarter teachers

We need much smart people who teach the students and give them a holistic view of the subject. We do not need teachers who dictate notes as we have enough for that. We need teachers who stimulate the students’ thinking and outlook. Teachers who think at a tangent are rarely found in schools and colleges. Here education qualification of the teacher is not the key rather the way he or she imparts knowledge in the students is what matters. Does the teacher delve into imposition or liberal process of inculcating knowledge?We have many who are proficient in their subjects but when it comes to teaching they lag behind. We don’t want teachers who are interested in their pay-cheques or in holding onto their mantle. We want entrepreneurs and leaders in the guise of teachers. It is not possible to get an Amartya Sen to teach economics in every college but it is feasible to someone of his intellectuality and caliber.

•Technology Infrastructure

ICT should be incorporated everywhere in India with regard to education. Researching on internet should be encouraged in every remote village school. One has to learn to gain knowledge in an easier way. Making students more independent and instilling self- learning through investing intechnological infrastructure is pertinent. The knowledge delivery mechanism can become more sophisticated if tools such as cheap smart phones, tablets and computers with high speed surfing are made accessible on a wide scale. Students’ level of comprehension and practical skill will improve with the use of ICTs in our education system. The lessons in class would be interactive and engage all students in discussing the matter at hand. Making presentations in classroom with the help of PowerPoint will help boost their confidence.

In Kerala, teachers and students use advanced IT resources like GeoGebra, an interactive geometry and calculus application. Free software such as this are in use in many schools since 2007, one of them includes Ghemical, molecular modeling software with GUI and 3D visualization tools.

“The colorful canvas of education in our country is enameled with an unrelenting film of mechanical memorizing. Text-books present a dull monochromatic picture of principles, laws, definitions, and suchlike that ogles back at the innocent student viciously. Habitual mugging up eats into the curiosity and fascination of the pupil, toppling him head-on into a rut of pure confusion. Banality inevitably becomes a burden, while the scientific mind an academic wilderness.” says Udita Shukla, an associate engineer at Qualcomm services.

She further opines on our education system, “Incoherence and chaos demolish tall edifices of conceptual clarity, courtesy, laxity in hands-on practice. In other words, our curriculum relies heavily on theoretical comprehension of topics, rather than a pragmatic approach towards solving problems. We produce hoards of geeky engineering wizards with a mere smattering knowledge of applying their skills. Practical exams have emerged as formal, wishy-washy evaluations, which focus more on securing error-free observations and pre-known results rather than a true, learning experience.”

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