The Indian education system has come a long way from the age of the gurukuls to the digitally-driven smart classes. And in the past few decades, it is striving hard to match the pace of the global village.
But till date, it is not enough to be celebrated!!
According to UNICEF, India has made great strides in improving access to quality education!
But our system needs to be in top shape to meet the expectations of this highly competitive post-pandemic world!
Here’s a look at 5 potential ways to improve our mainstream education system at the ground level:
1. Stakeholder Involvement to Get the Basics Right
Despite some well-drafted frameworks and futuristic policies, we still MISS THE BULLSEYE because of our prevalent system issues. In other words, our education sector is bearing the brunt of a defective system structure.
Our faulty administration and insufficient monitoring mechanisms keep these policies ‘MOSTLY ON PAPER’. As a result, mostly these reforms do not even reach the students.
These challenges are not confined to the division of legislative powers in the federal structure. But also to the overall mindset of the masses and their acceptance of the age-old voids.
There is an urgent need to strengthen our system with a strong sense of ownership across departments, profiles, and even the stakeholders. Today, we need a combined effort of the government and the stakeholders to execute the visionary practices of our ‘Education policies’.
Apparently, there should be a SHARED RESPONSIBILITY across the society to raise the bar of education. Because it is essential for each one of us to know the designs of the policies introduced by the government in and out. Each member of the social system should be equally responsible for ensuring adherence to these policies at the ground level. Only then we can expect some change at the grass-root level.
2. Purposeful Education
Another big reason behind the ‘BROKEN INDIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM’ is it’s faith in the age-old practices like cramming and memory level teaching. Types of soil, historical facts, and other fact related information is still a part of our teaching and learning process, making it more and more deficient in practical knowledge.
These frivolous techniques are just an aid to succeed and survive the mindless rat race of grades. On the other hand, purposeful learning is more about connecting the parts of the concept together and cementing it at an understanding level.
In other words, we need a more constructive and concept-oriented system that empowers our students for global citizenship. Purposeful or meaningful learning is also great to nurture high-order thinking skills in students. And it promotes problem-solving and active learning in them.
The National Policy of Education, 2020 acknowledges the importance of rational thought process, a scientific temperament in students. But it is possible only through purposeful education.
One practical way of materializing this is to follow Jean Piaget’s ‘Cognitive Development’ theory. This one is ideal in today’s age and date because it deals with the development of the student’s reasoning abilities and aims at building conceptual understanding. There is an urgent need to implement such theories in our classrooms and strengthen our teaching practices for better learning outcomes.
3. Driving 21st Century Transferable Skills
As per UNESCO, the lack of skills and abilities in Indian youth is the biggest reason for ‘unemployment’. Unfortunately, our masses of deprived of training and skill-building programs. And over 30% of the Indian population (between the age groups of 15 to 29) falls in this category.
In a world where skills have a high value in the future, our Indian system still lacks this 21st-century skill-building. Intelligentsia across the world has suggested a simple solution to incorporate these portable or transferable skills in our main curriculum. Because there will help our students to explore different career options even without prior experience.
Especially in this ‘Information Age’, such soft skills are a passport to the best opportunities in the global workforce. Because the Indian students need a strong skillset to survive the competition of the international workforce.
The NPE 2020 does talk about skill-building through innovative ideas such as ‘Bagless days’ etc. but again it is limited to hands-on activities and experiential learning only. In the end it does not match with the global perspective of these 21st century soft and transferable skills.
Hence, our system needs to be revamped to inculcate these relevant leadership, decision making and complex communication skills in students.
4. Improving Teacher Quality
The ‘tripolar process’ of education needs the support of a good teacher. But, our education system does not have enough quality teachers.
A shortage of qualified teachers and their professional development is another big shortcoming that needs immediate attention in our country. To realize our high-end educational goals and fill the gaps of our existing system, we need expert educators who can convert theories into real classroom practices.
At this point in time, India requires highly enthusiastic professionals who are in love with the teaching profession. And these stakeholders alone can enshrine the values of our education policies and turn all the futuristic designs into a reality.
Most importantly, we need to get the right talent in the industry. And empower them through technological upskilling and other professional development activities. A lot of these aspects are already acknowledged but again the ground level implementation needs to be reshaped.
The thumb rule here again is to manage the workload of our teachers. And go a mile ahead to retain the best talent in the system. Additionally, professional recognition, incentives, and provisions to maintain a good work-life balance are also a need of the hour. We cannot expect anything to improve if we do not manage this talent of the education industry.
5. Integrating Technology
Skill gaps and educational crisis in India are depriving our population of some life-changing opportunities. But thankfully, when technology has transformed the entire world, it is also an answer to our problems.
Through Ed-tech we can create an alternative pattern of regular classroom learning. And it is an ideal way to support the traditional schooling structure and eliminate issues like inclusion, engagement, quality, and overreliance on educators. Besides an immersive learning environment can simplify even the most complex topics. And again it is a great way to boosting tech-based soft skill training in young learners.
The Indian government is already in the process of promoting digital learning through various projects. But they should also follow the footsteps of other countries who are doing better in this field.
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the best examples of ICT advancement through the improvement of internet connectivity. Hence, we should take up first things first and connect even the remotes of Indian regions with the internet. The government initiatives will reach the people only if they are digitally literate, which again is dependent on the access of internet connectivity and other infrastructure.
Urban India has already experienced the technological boom with the rise of online education supported by online learning platforms. And now it’s time to connect the other parts of our country with this ‘LEARNING REVOLUTION’.
The Indian education system needs a highly practical and well-executed ROADMAP to reach the desired benchmark. The way forward is certainly difficult but still not impossible!
Hopefully in the years to come, the world will see a new face of Indian education, where it will be an inspiration for other nations to follow!
And to make this happen we need to make use of technology which is a true GAMECHANGER!