The news of a much- needed change in the education structure in the country from end to end, arouses instincts of enquiry even before one gets to know of the nuts and bolts. Three cues that gave me a gut feeling, that matters would be on the mend, were the change of the name of the ministry from HRD to Education, stressing the core aspect. The second, that education shall now get 6% of budgetary allocation. Lastly, and the most convincing one was when my mobile flashed that Didi and her bright brigade were planning a mass protest against the new re-structuring to a new Education Ministry. What would India be without the Bengal, and the Punjabis and Sikhs (with due humility before my clan), who have a high percentage of geniuses, either side of the normal! Guajaratis, of course come in the universal category of business excellence.
Education, its definition confined to the present context of government policy, rather plainly stated, is a system wherein a child of 3-6 yrs. Is inducted into a training program of studies, physical activities, sports to a varying combination, where the meaningful milestone certification comes twelve years later. Thereafter, he is free to appear for eligibility courses for adaptation to higher skills as IT, engineering, medicine, pharmacology.
The present system was 10+2, thereafter 3yrs graduation, and to be a master with 2 additional years.
Coming to a few highlights, the present segmentation of training is 5+3+3+4. In the first “5” the essence is in allowing the child and the system to analyse basic skills, reading. imbibing, play, hand crafts, and social skills of group activities, considering the diverse back grounds the kids come from. Any further stress, and some genetic, inborn talents may remain dormant.
The next “3” + “3”, is where the system brings in a new twist. I believe, this is where formal education of various subjects begins as it is now. In a way, it should encourage a larger exposure to knowledge. The lessons in basic computer knowledge should begin here. These are impressionable minds. I have often seen 4-6 yr. olds run F1 class safari games on their hand play stations, where the parents raise their hands that they won’t be comfortable downloading the game from the play store!
Formal training may be tough as it is now. An obligation to learn, what is considered as a difficult subject by the kid cannot be under estimated. Lessons in geography not liked at school, may become a shortcoming if he becomes a weather analyst along with computer training. Here would be a need to tie -up with leading schools for online or offline courses.
The second “+3” is the crux, unalienable, part like it or not. No pain, no gain. I remember Mr Obama’s words on US campuses, “Why can’t you learn maths and science like the Indians”? A world statesman, still working on racial harmony must have gone through the feeling sometime in his college training.
“+4”is the game changer, if we can carry the bat through. After1-2 years of gruelling coaching, which most prefer, having reached the IEPs as IITs, a break with academic credit marks secure, a break up to 5 years, and re-join, gives lateral expansion to employable abilities, or actually a job in industry, fending funds for further studies. For instance, working with a SAP organization, of a smartphone company, and in due course starting one of his own! Solar energy, or apprenticeship in hydro cells, may help him launch a start-up.
The other option of IEPs expanding into humanities, arts is perhaps on, in terms of HR, Industrial psychology, bio medics. Literature is getting more digital, and so are the classes all over. Talking of hand-drawn art, it is the basis of computer graphics—the crux of visual marketing! Conceptually a great thought, except that Indian educated egos are too liberally principled to take matters hands-on than seeing the value of patience getting better outcomes.
As a matter of fact, one does not piss against the wind, or spit on a steamy pancake by the side of the road! The consequences can be variable, but never worth talking about!
The other, different, though inseparable part of education is “learning”. There are parameters that measure the input and imbibed ratio, though much needs to be standardized. This is what an examination does. To inculcate the habit of search for knowledge, and yet keep it diversified. In day to day classes, a 100 MCQs can be flashed, fortnightly and time be given to find the answers.
The second part of classroom/online learning can be checked by asking short “ref to context” on the same, but slightly off-course topics.
I know better authorities on this, but, with permission, may I quote, that Vedic texts are classified as “Shruti” (knowledge out of listening to the Divine), and “Smriti”, the remembrance, analysis, and correlation of these in real life. Pragmatism has not been sidelined.
This concept needs to be re-packaged, for gen Y’s approach to the essence of learning.
Finally, as the program rolls out in definitive as well as pilot trials, on the ground feedback may ask for space for modifications.
Two facts that need to be ironed out, is seaming the existing Commission on Higher Education. The other, with acceptable liberty to Individual Universities, what sort of financial control shall be enforced, to prevent a burden on the deprived sections.
“Rekhtey key tumhin ustad nahin ho ‘Ghalib”
Kehtey hain agle zamaaney mein koi ‘Mir’ bhi tha”
(You are not the lone master of Urdu ‘Ghalib’
They say in previous times, there was a ‘Mir’ too)
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.