Trends In Education

Ms. Madhu Hora

Principal, Dean, Junior College, The Bishop’s School, Pune

The Indian education system has proved to be successful the world over with Indian students being sought after by the best universities and corporates in the world. The vast syllabus, the stringent examinations and the competitive spirit it inculcates prepare students to cope with challenges, manage time and instill a work ethic to become successful individuals.

Having been in the education sector for a few decades as a teacher and an administrator, I think there is great scope to better our system, while retaining its well-established strengths. I feel our system can be more accommodating by permitting a wider mix in the choice of subjects. Such choices would help students pursue subjects they have an aptitude for as well as breaking the rigid notions that science is for intelligent students, while other streams are for the lesser ones. Inter- disciplinary choices would make students be better informed, empathetic and more well-rounded citizens of the world.

Skill development is a much- neglected area which requires immediate focus. Students must be encouraged to work with their hands from an early age. Every student must during his school life develop at least one skill - be it carpentry, farming, masonry, handicrafts, cooking, electrical/electronics, plumbing etc. It will not only make them more complete individuals but also break the prejudice about skilled workers. Many students would find their calling by their exposure to these skills.

Life-skills education and sex- education should also find its place in our education system. We seem to churn out students capable of scoring 100 percentiles but are incapable of doing the simplest tasks of everyday living. The introduction of these topics would help us achieve greater gender equality among our youth as it would break down the age-old notions of stereo-typical gender roles. It would also help in viewing and appreciating the opposite gender with greater respect.

The quality of student life could be greatly improved if we could make changes to our system of examination which is dependent on rote learning. Rote learning leads to stress, with many students succumbing to this pressure as they do not have the tools to cope with it. Open- book examination and application oriented testing needs to be adopted to test knowledge and not the ability to memorise and recall. Work has begun on this front but we need to make the change quickly and in an efficient manner.

Technology has begun to play an important role in class room teaching. We must be careful that this does not weaken one of the greatest strengths of our education, namely the personal equation between the teacher and the taught. The Indian education system that is built on the guru- shishya heritage not only moulds the mind but the overall personality of the taught by their close interaction with the teacher.

Abhijeet Banerjee, Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai who are world leaders in their respective fields, are products of the Indian education system. In order to be relevant in a rapidly changing education scenario the world over, our education system must adopt change, and adopt this change quickly.

Ms. Madhu Hora

Principal, Dean, Junior College, The Bishop’s School, Pune