Reading through this article made me remember my school and college days and think as to what is quality education? How do we define it? We have been talking a lot about how bad the education system is in India, but how do we fix it? In US people say that China and India are doing better than them in maths and science, and in India we say that we do not have facilities as good as the west. Then what signifies good education?
When I look back at my life, I was always interested in Maths, Science and Computers, but I hated Social Sciences and Languages. But the curriculum was always fixed, and I had to take all the courses. I did well on the courses I liked, but dragged on others. Teachers were like “masala” in the recipe, as they made the course more interesting or less. Good teachers made boring subjects slightly interesting and bad teachers made interesting courses boring. But irrespective of the kind of teacher, I did well in the courses I liked and bad in courses I did not like.
Every human’s DNA is hardwired to work in a certain way. Some people are born genius but some find it tough. Thus every child is different. A good education system can be one which targets each child differently. A system where a child learns at his or her own pace. Also something where presence of a good or bad teacher in the classroom does not impact. A system bounded by curriculum does more harm than good. Children should be able to do courses they like at a faster pace and should be given option to leave a course that they do not like (probably keeping a bare minimum pass grade will be fine). There are multiple concepts like “Constructivism” and “Adaptive Learning” that can be game-changers to bring in quality education.
Internet and Technology will play a key role in changing the education system in future. Internet as a source of knowledge has a great potential to change the role of teachers and students in a classroom. It will provide more power to the students as knowledge seekers and make teachers more of facilitators in the classroom. With technology, multiple roles will be created within the teachers, with some as more content creators and others as facilitators in the classroom. Good teachers, who are content creators, will centrally drive the content generation and others will help students go through that content in the classroom. With constructivism, more activity based learning will be promoted so that students understand the concepts well, and with adaptive learning, it will be made sure that students go at their own pace and do not skip important concepts. Technology companies working for education will have to make sure that a perfect ecosystem is created so that it is easy for students to access good quality content.
Education in India has been a problem since the British rule. Good quality primary education focusing on creativity was never a priority for Britishers as well as our leaders, making our foundation very shaky. Education during the British rule was focused on creating “officers” to manage their government offices. Their aim was to create a generation of followers and not thinkers and leaders. Post independence, all efforts were put in to setup “institutes of national importance”, but primary education was completely neglected. To improve the education system in India, the government should first target the primary education. They should make sure that it reaches the masses and fosters enough creativity. Technology concepts explained above can surely help them do that. They should make sure that the same quality content reaches every nook and corner of the country. Every child is provided equal opportunity to excel irrespective of class, cast and location. With role of teacher reduced in the classroom, the education provided to students in villages will also improve. At a high school level, more focus should be put on content that can help students define their career path easily. It should be more focused on introduction to different vocation. And finally college education should be all industry based or research based based on a student’s preference.
India needs an education system which can create thinkers and leaders in our future generations. A system that targets all the flaws at different levels starting with primary education. Technology can play a big role in helping us achieve the same, so a lot of onus lies on the technology companies working in the education sector along with the schools. The problem is big, but I feel that we have a solution and we have to march towards it together.