Inside the curriculum and outside the curriculum!
Secondary schools, at least in the most resourceful ones, must be open-minded, open to new ideas and new experiments.
Outside the curriculum, a range of activities, from good libraries, high quality journals to travels and visits to historic sites and even foreign countries and also extra-curricular activities like debates, music and dances and even interaction with diverse outside talents, visitors from nay streams, from literature to sciences -all contribute to the students building self-confidence to acquiring creativity to innovative mindsets.
In colleges, there need to be some more time before the current commercialisation phase gets settled.
Education can be for all. Education quality can’t be equal quality for all! In the current socio-economic, not to speak of cultural and other immediate concerns like ethnic, linguistic and even casteist and other quota-based and quota-promised and quota-offering populist politics, to talk of quality education upto a point is permissible.
Beyond a limit, we are talking of a taboo topic!
This of course was very evident from what the participants were able to say.
It is of course always welcome to debate education.
Quality education is much talked about subject. There was the other day in Bangalore a small seminar under the CII National summit on quality education. Some of the notable educators, those who are engaged as ministers, higher education experts and university Vice-Chancellors and even the It education company like Educomp were the participants.
What they all said?
Some of the words and expressions and opinions are of course very familiar to anyone engaged in this field. Facts and figures kill creativity. Then, what is creativity and how creativity can be fostered in our present day education?
Innovation is key to quality. Education degrees, we take it degrees like B.Ed or M.Ed or such degrees are very weak, at worse bogus.
Quality enhancement, rather than quality in education. IT techs in education and teaching kill the human interaction, it is better with chalk and talk, said one expert.
Now, as a journal committed to education in its multi-dimensional sense, we have to see only at some partial manner.
If we take on every dimension we are likely to run into rough weather!
There is always the class-dimension to education, as to other issues.
The class bias can be seen even now in our educational policies.
What the politicians promise is just to pander to the popular views and assumptions and even false promises and false dreams.
The English-medium craze even among the poor is only a reflection of the popular belief that once an English medium education can be negotiated to a child then the child is assured of success in life.
So, we need not just education activists and educators and other professional groups.
We need true and genuine and even radical education thinkers or philosophers who can outline a future for the society or the world an educational belief system where everyone feels they have a place.
Such large scale visions can be given only by such visionaries.
A Rousseau, one John Ruskin or a William Morris is the only choice open to any educational dreamer.
Education reformers have to settle with lesser goals only.
We have noticed all these years of running this journal, that even the s0-called best schools, say, the best ones in Delhi or Mumbai or Kolkatta or Chennai or Bangalore, they are at best two faced.
One, some idealism, more of infrastructure facilities, best buildings, some fully air-conditioned, even food menu with summary foods and at best producing some top scorers in the CBSE or state board exams! Is this the best quality education?
The other face of these schools is sheer commercial drive! Money is the mantra for most of these schools, as far as we know.
We have noticed that none of these schools, the top rich and the top well established, monetary-wise, have no interest whatever about quality, either within their premises or in the outer world!
They don’t subscribe even to the best journals of education value.
How many schools subscribe to National Geographic or New Scientist, not to speak of Nature or some other journals of international recognition?
Within India where is a school journal devoted to education? Education quality? Not to speak of educational philosophy or philosophies?
So, what we are talk about when we talk of quality education?
We of course don’t even dare to ask questions. Is there the education ministry doing something in education? In primary education>In Secondary education? In higher education?
Anybody can dare and question about the promises made by the Prime Minister to establish 1,500 universities? Sam Pitroda’s earlier promises? The HRD minister? When you last heard of him or his views on what he is doing?
So, let us be most in our attempts to provide quality education.
The other day we read, of course this is no big news, that in most states, education had been turned into a private profiteering of a very deplorable kind.
In TN, AP or Karnataka, there are any numbers of engineering or medical colleges where you can just get admission not on the basis of your marks in secondary education but on the basis of your ability to put the cash on the table!
There are dental colleges with the active connivance of the state governments, not even with any approval by the Dental Council of India.
What we say of this one branch is almost applicable to all other branches.
Then, the latest plight of students with B.Tech and even with M.Tech applying for Village administrative offices (VAO) posts under the suffocating government services!
So, what is the way forward?
We ask this question and leave it at that!
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