Dilemma with Education System


Famous scientist and author Roger Lewin once said, "Too often we give our children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." Is that the dilemma with our education system today? Shreyashi DasGupta investigates.


Education is an important aspect in everybody's life. With increasing levels of competition one is often left asking questions. Manali Singh, a parent of a seven-year-old, asks, "What is the quality of education one gets? How much do our kids actually learn?"

When the Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal proposed the idea of scrapping class 10 board exams, everybody seemed to have an opinion. Sonali Shah, a parent says, "Why can't we give our children a good balanced education where the child gets to learn in a play-way manner?"

Another solution that's being offered by some schools is called 'theme-based learning' or 'experimental learning'. This method of learning helps kids gain knowledge on various subjects and also teaches them to question and analyse rather than by rote learning.

Schools like Holy Family High School in Andheri have language, mathematics geography laboratories. Professionals from different fields come and teach students in an interactive manner and improve their communication skills. In the mathematics laboratory students are offered staircases with numbers on them which they can climb to learn sums. The geography lab is like a museum with different kinds of rocks, stones, sand and miniatures of monuments. Father Francis Swamy, principal of Holy Family High School says, "We encourage teachers to find innovative teaching methods especially in subjects students are scared of and try and make them interesting for them."

Parina Kothari, a student from Cathedral and John Connon School says, "We are encouraged to think and be creative. Like for our environmental studies class, we not only make charts but also create models to depict different subjects." Tejal Kothari, Parina's mother adds, "They also have a reading programme where the mothers are invited to be part of the class. The kids read the book and prepare a book report. Parents may be called upon to help the kids. Thus the collaborative learning enhances their knowledge and skills."

Where traditional schools are reinventing themselves with new methods, a lot of experimental schools are coming up to support change. Praniika Borkar, a 15-year-old studying at Tridha school says, "We learn about agriculture by visiting a plot of land where we learn sowing and ploughing. History is made interesting by asking students to dress up according to the attires worn in the particular era we are learning about."

According to Praniika this new experience is far more enjoyable than the traditional method of learning. Leena Borkar, Praniika's mother, is from a conventional educational background and she wanted her daughter to enjoy education through an innovative learning method as this would help her reduce stress levels. This according to her, "enriches the knowledge and encourages creativity."

Apart from schools, different NGOs too have created modules and educational aids to help children learn. Ramesh Panse, Founder of Gram Mangal says, "We follow Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligence in our school. The theory states that there are a number of distinct forms of intelligence like verbal/ linguistic intelligence and logical/mathematical intelligence that each individual possesses in varying degrees. But there are other intelligences which are also important. At Gram Mangal, we try to identify and incorporate these intelligences among our children in schools. With the help of educationists and other module creators we are developing new teaching methodologies."

With the introduction of innovation in the field of education, are we all set to revolutionise the system?

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