“If I do not understand the way you teach, teach me the way in which I will understand!”
There are four stakeholders to a child’s education – the child, the parents, teachers and the government and each one of them is interlinked. The child behaves how his parents and teachers teach him to, the teachers teach how the parents expect them to and also how they would get the results that the parents desire. The parents do what the society demands and what the education system demands of them and the government decides the state of the education system and how each of the other three stakeholders behaviors should be by controlling the curriculum and the grading system in education.
Sadly, all four pillars of our education system have become precariously frail and weak. On all four aspects, we are perilously failing, thereby paralyzing our system and draining our children of their skills, creativity and their uniqueness. Firstly, the children are being forced to learn through the cramming-vomiting system. The rote learning methodologies ruin the cognitive skills, the logical reasoning and the creativity of the children. They are programmed to take in information and not knowledge.
Secondly, the major challenge in the education industry comes from the teachers. The teachers who we trust our children’s future with, are trained under a curriculum that hasn’t changed in the past 25 years. They are given no exposure to the latest trends in technology and teaching methods. For most teachers, it comes as the last choice when picking a career and which is why, people who do not get jobs elsewhere, opt to get into teaching which results in lack of passion, interest and motivation on part of the teacher. In a country where Guru’s were given the highest order and considered to come even before god, such a sorry state is certainly something to worry about.
The third major challenge comes from the parents. In all my parenting sessions, I ask the parents what they want out of their children. The most common answers are – happy children, smart children, knowledgeable,successful in any field they go, etc. and yet, what they ask for is 99% marks in all subjects. Who guarantees that a child who scores 99% marks will be successful in future? He might get through university colleges on the basis of his marks, but will he be able to get through the entrance examinations to professional courses, which demand much more than cramming? Will he be able to face a personal intereview or qualify in a group discussion? These skills have to be imbibed, more from experiences than from marks.
Lastly, one of the biggest players in the education industry – the government,t has posed the biggest challenge by not keeping education and politics separate. Ours is a dismal, outdated and collapsed system, that controls the curriculum, but does not have the independence to change and modify it over time. Every single move is political and that involves, even changing the curriculums. There is no accountability and responsibility taken by the government, which is why, in most government schools, absenteeism of teachers is very high and the so is the drop out rates.
Education is serious business and its time our country and its caretakers start taking it as one. Being the single important tool that can change the fate of our nation, it is time we make efforts towards educating our generations in a progressive and forward looking way!