“Why can’t schools be only for 4 hours, and the rest of the time, we get to do what we want,” is a query raised in one of our children’s workshops by a 12 year old. “You know this is an era, where kids by default know a lot more, read up independently and can work out much more thanks to technology. Yet our teachers, insist on repeating as if we will forget. We are wired differently, when will the world understand that we do not need to be ‘stretched’?”
Wow! While we all felt this at some stage in our schooling life as kids, we never voiced it. Let’s examine what this child was referring to – the fact that some things, in the modern era can be made easier thanks to resources and technology, and the general exposure this generation has makes them process faster, so should we be doing things differently? If there is this pre requisite knowledge, and we are speaking of the flipped classroom etc, do we really need to ‘stretch?’
I dare say: we need to examine this. Back in my days, B.Com was 2 plus 3, total of 5 years programme, and no one questioned, if the content could be done in 1? We felt it for sure, no wonder that my graduating batch in Sydenham had more CPA, vocational degrees because, clearly, we were multitasking and coping with two degrees simultaneously!
Case to point, the recent decision to extend B.Ed to 4 years, is wonderful in its intent but let’s hope the review committee makes it more internship focused, more ‘job experience’ oriented than the plain vanilla theory and lectures because that is not what this country needs. We need serious educators, we need professional mindsets and we do need qualifications but any graduating student will say, as a teacher, nothing works better than being in a classroom and every theory goes out of the window, when you walk into a classroom full of children.
Extending the program may make only the serious contenders join the field, but in a country already crying for teachers, are we addressing the problems or adding to it?
Instead of making it more demanding upfront, consider mandatory upgrades, for example: credit scores for those teachers who remain updated and hone their skills. Instead of laying down theory, why not have more case studies and space out skilling programs such that teachers are better equipped to take on today’s children and make learning in the classroom meaningful?
While the intentions are great, it is imperative that a bit more thought about the delivery and application will go a long way in giving India an advantage in the world of education.
The 12 year old student aforementioned is indeed the voice of today: Learning must be relevant, contextual and sustainable.