Are Academics Alone Enough?

Shivani Sahni

Principal, G.D Goenka Public School, Bahadurgarh, Haryana

The world is changing at a rapid pace, becoming ultra-competitive hence, academics alone are not enough for children to achieve success. Innovative programs that provide a tailored curriculum and specialised learning environment will make the essence of the teaching-learning system.

The need to conceptualise ideas, imaginations, and concepts is much more than merely gaining knowledge and understanding. Today’s requirements beyond academics are:

  • Gaining life skills.
  • Sensitivity towards the environment.

Transformation of Education System in India is the need of the hour. Vocational training should be made part of school and college curricula to prepare students moving out with the desired skill set.

CBSE started with a brilliant concept of CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) a few years ago. However, it failed miserably due to lack of training of the teaching fraternity and its immature implementation.

Teachers need to be equipped to be facilitators eliciting responses from their students and building the concepts on students’ previous knowledge rather than teaching or lecturing. A minimum level of learning must be ascertained before the students move up the grade. Educating through conventional methods have their positives; however, learning experientially has far more benefits.

Project-based learning offers the scope to Observing, Experimenting, Questioning, Researching, Associating, Networking (Collaboration), instill the skills of Initiative taking, Leadership, Public speaking etc. Here, the focus is laid on the process rather than the product.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Keeping in mind this famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, there is a need to extend a platform to teachers and students to perform and experience the process. Teachers need to be encouraged to be facilitators rather than teachers.

To be smart, strong, and happy, there is a need for 21st-century skills. The skills that teach a child beyond academics. Based on the research, ATC21S defined ten 21st Century skills into four broad categories which are grouped under Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, Values and Ethics. It suggests the following:

1. Ways of Thinking

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical thinking, Problem-solving, Decision-making
  • Learning to learn/metacognition (knowledge about cognitive processes)

2. Tools for Working

  • Information literacy
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) literacy

3. Ways of Working

  • Communication
  • Collaboration (teamwork)

4. Ways of Living in the World

  • Citizenship – local and global
  • Life and Career
  • Personal and social responsibility-including cultural awareness and competence

Equally essential are coping strategies to enhance innovation, leadership and wellness skills to enable children to manage the fast-paced, socially-connected modern world. Cultivation of positive mental habits like grit, gratitude and optimism must not be overlooked.

There is a paramount need to create a continuing consciousness among students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders about the utmost importance of protecting and preserving our environment. Emphasis must be laid on continuous improvement of environmental consciousness through appropriate classroom / school-wide activities etc. to address the Global concerns of environmental degradation.

There is a strong need to sensitise students to the reality that it is they who must take responsibility for their planet as they simply do not have any time to lose.

Including the 9 R’s, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Reduce, Restructure, Reconnect with nature, Rethink on what went wrong, Repair, Remodel can bring solutions to the problem of environmental degradation.

Only together, we can achieve the goals we create to make the world of our dreams.

Shivani Sahni

Principal, G.D Goenka Public School, Bahadurgarh, Haryana