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By Way2k Way2k
Way2k 5 Oct 2012
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The True Currency of Knowledge
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India Shining, India’s economy is developing at a fast pace. Even when the rest of the economies of the world are going down, the Indian economy is said to be healthy. Reading an article in an economic daily, Andreas Schleicher, a member of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), said that “knowledge and skills have become the global currency in 21st century economics, but there is no central bank that prints this currency. Everyone has to decide how much they will print.” He had very rightly pointed that oil, gas and diamonds were important for an economy.

The true currency of knowledge

However, these should be used as a means to an end — which is to strengthen ones economy and society by building “schools and a culture of lifelong learning.” It is high time that policymakers in the country devise methods to actually make schools and colleges temples of learning. What we need is innovators who are able to take the road less travelled and brief about changes in our system. We are a young nation. It is said that in the year 2020, 70 per cent of our population would be below the age group of 30. This would be our asset. The need of the hour is to work on the mindset of our young ones to create a dynamic India.

As Sir Ken Robinson said, “If you are not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” We have, to a great extent, broken the barriers of age-old customs such as education being a priority for the boys and not for the girls, rote learning, the poor quality of education in government school, etc. With the introduction of CCE (Comprehensive Continuous Evaluation) the CASE started a major initiative to rid the education system of its malice. The idea behind this scheme was to help the student better his/her performance by identifying difficulties at regular intervals. The teacher’s objectivity gave way to a systematised methodology of evaluation.

Learning is not confined to the textbook. In the true sense, it has gone beyond. Imagine being evaluated on a poem, a debate or a project! Logic, reasoning, learning by doing and activity-based learning are the keywords today. For the first time in India’s education history, equal importance is being given to scholastic and co-scholastic areas. The teachers’ first reaction was one of doom and despair, (which now) has changed to a large extent — a few being critics whereas a large percentage being silent admirers. Yes, the CCE system is excellent. The student is proactive, so is the teacher and the parent. Everyone is working towards de-stressing the child, catering to his/her holistic development.

The CCE provided a breather to the age-old education system. But in its implementation, CCE has not been as uniform as expected. Its operation in metropolitan cities is very different from what is being implemented in smaller cities. However, let us hope that the system will grow from strength to strength. There is talk about de-stressing the child. This has been done as the number of suicides by the student body was increasing. Counsellors, psychologists, therapists and teachers have made the phrase ‘Child-centred/centric’ a reality, when we compare about the old ways of schooling where the rod was used sparingly, where the teacher’s eye was enough to mould us to be on the right path.

The only question that comes to our minds is, did our generation have some problems in our ‘holistic’ development? Did the ‘stresses’ of life actually help us to become more competent to face the world? Agreed, competition is tougher for our students; (seats in colleges are less and the numbers wanting to get admission is huge); expectations of everyone are sky high. But putting the teacher in a straight jacket is not the solution. At any Parent Teacher Meeting, 90 per cent of the parents complain that their child does not listen to them and that they would like the school authorities to take action. Some even go to the extent of saying, “We will give it in writing that you may even slap our child.” Ironical.

Yes, capital punishment has been rightly banned but reprimanding a child for his/her welfare should not necessarily be seen as a negative. The teacher is a facilitator, guide, friend and a philosopher. Let us give him/her the due respect. A country where education is prioritised can reach the pinnacles of excellence. The currencies of knowledge, therefore, are the students and the teachers. One needs to nurture both so that India can proudly call herself a truly developed country.

—Author is the Vice-Principal
The Indian School, Sadiq Nagar, New Delhi

Courtesy: Express India

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