We asked India’s leading Educators and Academicians on what reforms they would recommend to the Modi Govt. in the Educational sector, over the next 5 years. This is what had to say.
Mrs. Anita Makkar, Principal, D A V Public School, Sector 14, Gurgaon
No Detention Policy
The ‘no detention till class VIII’ policy ought to be rolled back with immediate effect. Contrary to the idea behind its conception, it only ends up encouraging mediocrity. Secure in the knowledge that they can’t be detained, children start taking their academics lightly. A student who could push himself beyond his limits to get a good score, stops striving so much so that he doesn’t even exploit his inherent potential and ends up being an underachiever. It is imperative to enroll students in school at the elementary or primary level and it is important to provide them with opportunities and incentives to stay in school. However, if promotion to the next class is perceived as a deterrent to dropping out, it should be imposed only till class II. Once a child reaches this milestone, the desire to continue would establish itself. The fear of being detained will provide them the necessary impetus to explore their limits, discover their capabilities and enhance their abilities.
Upgrade on the Basis of Co-scholastic Brilliance
I firmly believe that education is not confined to academic excellence and a school should look for the overall personality development of every child. For this, a school should cater to the co-scholastic interests of students keeping in mind the concept of Multiple Intelligences. Every student has his or her own strengths which need to be identified, acknowledged and respected. Opportunities should be provided to hone these intelligences so that children excel in their strengths and make them their skills rather than using them for moving ahead academically. Using these strengths as a crutch for scholastic merit does not serve any purpose. A talented sportsman should be provided exposure in his field rather than making that a reason to get admission in a scholastic course for which he displays neither interest nor competence; making it a punishment for the student.
Autonomy of Schools
The government should respect the autonomy of private and public schools and not interfere in their day to day working, policy drafting and decision making. The schools face a lot of complexities in their working vis-a-vis induction, admission, transaction, training, drafting, implementation, etc. They ensure parental partnership at every feasible step helps students perform well without a sword dangling over the head. They perform extremely well without a sword dangling over their heads. In fact, a system should be put in place where the government is a need-based monitoring body, instead of a threatening institute for an ambience conducive to efficient and optimal output.
We, as care givers, cater to a huge client base and it is vital to deliver fruitfully. Teachers form our largest resource base and their competence should be our top priority. Taking cognizance of the dynamics of teaching learning and the constant changes in the pedagogy it is imperative to move with the times. The only constant in a teacher’s life is evolution. To stay ahead of students, or at least, with them, continuous training is crucial. The stress today is on project based learning and activity based teaching. Training programmes should be made mandatory and accessible for all teachers to enable effective teaching.