Shifting Paradigms of Education

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By: G.S.Oinam

Learning is an ongoing process and it does not stop even when we start working, believe in professionals who are increasingly opting for executive education courses. An analysis they do, years of experience, relevant qualification and managing a humongous workforce is not enough to being the perfect leader. Instead of becoming complement, one must strive further; devise new ways to excel, not only professionally, but personally as well. So is true when it comes to scores of executives and professional make guru, their learning process does not stop and look for in such programmes in developing and evolving leadership skills from time to time. While attending executive programmes, the participants are also made to attend workshops, interactive sessions, team building exercise and the like to make a way to strengthen the personal effectiveness of the leader.

The learning take place in most class rooms is not ‘learning with understanding’. Even worse, students, across al states, find it difficult to comprehend what they read. They were some of the findings of the Student Learning Study (SLS) by Educational Initiatives (EI), released recently in New Delhi. Learning levels among students, even today, are extremely low. A fair amount of rate based or procedural learning is evident especially in basic numerical skills. And students of government schools showered a much lower performance. Vyjayanthi Sankar, Vice President, larger Scale Assessment, EI, said’ learning levels are low across and the challenges is far all be it government, researchers, NGOs, private firms or individuals—to work together to bridge these gaps’ Therefore, changing the system of education is not only the responsibility of schools and parents alone. Government initiatives on right track must be follows by schools and parents.

What should be the road map for higher education in the 21st century? Balangadhara Rao, Director, Research Centre of Ghat University, Belgium says higher education in the 21st century should be focus on developing the ability to flourish in a world that is fundamentally diverse and irredeemably different. The government of India is thinking on the right lines that instead of a “knowledge absorbing society, has to become a knowledge creating and knowledge generating society”. According to M. Anandakrishnan, Chairman, IIT Kanpur, “we need to go beyond multidisciplinary options towards an interdisciplinary approach. All cutting edge developments in technologies occur at the interface of two or more disciplines. In recent year, the spectacular growth of knowledge in science and technology has been made possible by the integrated efforts of scientists, engineers and social scientists in addressing complex problems from the prospective of different disciplines interdisciplinary enables integration of concepts, theories, techniques and perspectives from two or more disciplines to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline. According to survey by European University Association (EUA), the core transferable skills that a student should have, and these are quite independent in the field of knowledge, including social and communication skills, management, creative thinking, capacity of dealing with complex and multidisciplinary work and term. However, as Amitabh Jhingan, Partner, Ernst & Young, put the challenges of facing, the higher education system to be Access—availability of suitable number of institutions across regions to fulfill demand; Equity—equal opportunity for all sections of society to participate in higher education; and Quality—provision of suitable infrastructure, trained faculty and effective pedagogy in higher education institutions aimed at developing expected outcomes. The five focus area should be financial innovation, innovative use of information and communication technology, reinvigorating research, thrust on vocational education and training (VET) and regulatory reforms.
The Yashpal Committee Report titled “Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education” emphasizes the need for flexibility. Over the years we have followed policies of fragmenting our educational enterprise into cubicles. If a student of science wants to study music, she/he should be given option to do so whereas our current education system does not give this flexibility, says N.R. Madhava Mohan, member of the Yashpal Committee. Further, the key recommendations of the committee are creation of an all encompassing National Commission for Higher education and Research (NCHER), a constitutional body to replace the existing regulatory bodies including the UGC, AICTEE, NCTE and DEC. The institution of excellence like the IIMs and IITs to be encouraged to diversity, while keeping intact their unique features, which shall act as pace—setting and model governance system for all universities. Establish a National Educational Tribunal with powers adjudicates on disputes among stake holder within Institutions and between Institutions so as to reduce litigation in courts involving Universities and higher education Institutions.

Ranking and rating of Universities/ Institutions on specialised subjects and academic criteria all over the world are based on academic peer review, recruitment review, student / faculty ratio, citations per paper, international faculty review, international students reviews, student exchange in bound and student exchange out bound. Marking is given on- Alumni winning awards/ medals (10 marks); staffs winning awards / medals (20 marks); highly cited research (20marks); article published by Institution/ individual staffs (20marks); science/ social science citation index (20marks); and per capita academic performance of the Institution (10marks ). Further, ranking take account of staffing levels and research citations, quality of education, quality of faculty members, out put and size of institution. Ratings are also base on several indicators like size, visibility, popularity, numbers of rich files, academic reputation, students’ selectivity, faculty resources, financial resources, research out put per assessment, retention, graduation rate performance, alumni giving rate, corporate recruiting rate etc.
Hens Wagemaker, Executive Director, IEA, Amsterdam, argued that effective evaluation of education achievement requires not only consideration of the inputs to education and the conditions under which schooling is conducted but also examination of such educational outcomes as knowledge attitude and participation. Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) aims to provide international bench marks that may assist policy- makers in identifying the comparative strengths and weakness of their educational system. As to the latest trend, Wagemaker point out, ‘there has been a shift from concerns of inputs to education to quality outcomes. In the last 25 to 30 years, there is a great concern about millions of dollar that are being spent on education in terms of achieving the goals that are mandated by governments and stipulated in the national curriculum. As to why such assessments are important at school level, Wagemaker adds ‘the studies provide an opportunity for countries to examine the efficiency of their system; it is in terms of how efficient, it is in successfully educating children from all back grounds and regions. Also, it addresses issues of equality in terms of gender, regions, public and private education.

IEA has a model, which drives its assessment design and can be divided into three components—the Intend Curriculum (what government and policy mandate), the Implement Curriculum (how teachers function) within class rooms and their interpretation of the curriculum; and the achieved Curriculum (what students are able to demonstrate). Wagemaker adds that in addition to measuring knowledge skills, attitudes and disposition of students, they also capture a lot of information on students and teachers backgrounds, schools and their resources.
Testing for teachers:- Teachers will have to clear the State Teaching Eligibility Test (STET ) for recruitment in schools that come under RTE Act. The National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE), the authority for teacher education under RTE, will notify the compulsory STET decision, soon after it is examined by HRD ministry. The objective is two fold. This will help in setting not only quality of teachers but also motivate the teachers training institutions to produce quality students who can clear STET. M.A. Siddique, Chairman NCTE, further, state that NCTE will lay down details guideline for states to follow. The design and structure of the test would be the same across the country, but the content and language would be regional. Rishni Krishnan, Director, SCERT says ‘District Institutes of Educational and Training (DIET) as such follows a prescribed curriculum. And if the system needs to be revamped, the curriculum too would need to be revised. Anything that will benefit the system in the long run is a welcome more, she added. In fact, the test should be made compulsory even for the in service teachers, feels R.P. Malik, Chairman, Federation of Public Schools. To improve the quality of the teachers in schools, this test should be made mandatory for even existing teacher to evaluate themselves. And if a chance to reappear for the test and should not be given any increments unless they clear the test. This will help in improving the quality of even in service teachers further improving over all education system.

The B.Ed, which was earlier a one year course, will now be made a two years course. Besides, the diploma in education will be completely phased out, informed Siddiqui. P.C.Jain, President of Delhi state Public Schools Management Association says ‘traditionally, teaching jobs were in demand because of flexibility working hours, but now, it has been increased to 45 hrs per week. Secondly, there is no job security in private schools and lastly, pat packages are not commensurate with those offered in corporate jobs, hence, the profession is not attracting many youngsters these days. In such a situation, efforts should be made to upgrade the quality of existing teachers.

New Initiatives of NCERT:-NCERT is all set to roll out a text book in media studies for class XI from this academic session. This would be an elective subject and cover topics ranging from communication, understanding media, print media and journalism, media development and advertising. 2. Internet Radio: – NCERT will soon launch its internet radio ( i- radio) in collaboration with Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) and Open University Malaysia. It will air archived as well as live programmes wherein students can interact with experts. 3. Audio Book: – NCERT is also planning to convent its text books into audio books from class I to XII for all subjects and this will be made available on the i-radio. They are also organizing an international workshop on open educational resources for English language teaching in collaboration with Commonwealth Learning, Canada. 4. Interactive Programme: – During summer vacations, Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET) has planned a series of programmes, which will not only entertain but also educate children. Further, they have planned workshop on Videography, Audio Production, Computers- open source software, Puppet making among others.

This is the first year that grades instead of mark were announced for the class X CBSC result. This welcome move as it is aimed to ease stress for students. Under this new graded system, students were awarded A1 (91-100), A2 (81-90), B1 (71-80), B2 (61-70), C!(51-60), C2(41-50), D(31-40), E1(21-32), and E2(20 and below). The internal assessment marks of the students were added to the Board examination scores with grades. Under this system, E1 and E2 grades will be given chances for improving performance. There is a provision for A1 grade students to be awarded with merit certificates