HOW SHOULD EDUCATION BE RESTRUCTURED
April 16, 2021, 3:33 p.m.
Pens of Law students
Profile of the Author: Avanish Singh is a student of MA Education at Azim Premji University, Bangalore.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation annually releases the Global Innovation Index ranking. India ranks 48 in the 2020 ranking. 1100 out of 1100 patents and 3500 out of 3500 trademark applications filed by Indian startups between April to October 2020 got rejected. The complete onus of these indices and the data cannot be put solely on education, however, the role of education in kindling the innovative spirit can also not be ignored. In India, when tracing back the educational policies since independence, we find a constant mention of the need to step away from the system of rote learning to promote critical thinking and innovation. Every new policy drafted and implemented has recognised the importance of critical thinking and innovation.
Why Schools Lag Innovation and Critical Thinking
The development of the current modern education system can be traced back to the age of industrialisation. The system was implemented with a clear objective to train the students to fit them in the factory model of production. Since then, the same education system has continued. There have been changes in the content, but barely at the structural level of education. The school structure functions in a way that suppresses the instinct to question things, innovate, and invest in out of the box ideas. There is a set pattern across the country in which the teacher delivers the lecture to the students oblivious of the fact that every student is different in N number of aspects. Correspondingly, as asserted by various research reports, every child has a different learning rate. The way teaching and learning happens in our schools is through the approach that “one size fits all”, whereas, the teaching-learning process needs to contain a personal element. The renowned scientist Albert Einstein once said that “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.
The Way Forward
In today’s age, a high population brings forth more challenges for sustainable development and co-existence. Though, this can be looked at as an opportunity for more entrepreneurial approaches to solve various emerging problems. Greater challenges require more innovative solutions. Undoubtedly, a higher population demands large scale bureaucratization. Hence, to bring in personalisation, we need additional resources and innovative approaches. Capacity building for technology can also play a major role in enabling personalisation. There can be a shift in the existing structure in terms of the teacher becoming a facilitator. The approach of a teacher telling the right answer to the student can encourage them to ask more questions. This will nurture them with curiosity rather than being filled with mind-numbing facts and data. The curriculum should also address skills that one needs throughout life. These may include:
The Emotional Intelligence Quotient: It could enable the child to recognise and understand the emotions. It will guide him to make better decisions based on emotions. The prevalent problem of suicide among students remains unaddressed due to the exclusion of these aspects from the curriculum.
The Art of Dealing with People: It will teach them whom to befriend, whom to trust and what are the consequences of certain kinds of behaviour. This can help them form better connections. They can also be taught basic philosophies of life like how truth and gratitude play an essential role in life and the formation of better human character to ensure harmony in society.
Imagination, Creativity, and Thinking Out of the Box: This can be used to solve real-world problems.
Technology: It is taking over our lives at a rate faster than we can adapt. At times, faster than we can comprehend the consequences of a particular technology. Technology has huge potential to enhance the quality of education. Thus, the curriculum should include lessons on how to use technology for the advancement of mankind so that it remains a boon and not become a bane for the generation.
Post-colonization, the pathshala system weakened and the European model took over the same even with limited resources. There were few studies to understand the education system pre-colonization. Nevertheless, we can research the subject to comprehend how the education system was in the past decades and how we can inculcate the good parts from the same to the current education system. While implementing all this, there should not be any politicization of education as it is axiomatic that the current education system is an enterprise. Therefore, the education system should not function as a profit-making sector. Moreover, it should be ensured that education does not remain a profit-making market for the corporate world. There has to be a policy regulation to monitor the monopolization of education. The quote by T.S Elliot could guide in restructuring the education system as aforementioned:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”