I was in Venice, Italy recently to present a research paper at the ICECP 2012 : International Conference on Educational and Child Psychology. Several interesting papers were presented and it was interesting to note the varied objectives and directions in education that countries across the world are working towards. It was heartening to note that most of the issues that we face in India are the ones that countries across the world are facing. Lack of quality teachers, Engaging the learner of today, Inculcating values and morals in society and so on. One particular paper that caught my attention related to the changing dynamics of education in future keeping in mind the ‘Migration’ that is taking place across the world. The paper went on to prove how important migration is for countries to sustain themselves and keeping their doors open to migration in an increasingly globalised world is beneficial for their economy.
Every time I travel and I mention that I am from India, the way the people react is very interesting. Apart from Gandhi, Yoga and Bollywood the one thing that the world sees in India is an economic super power of the future. The world looks up to India for its tremendous future, I really wonder if our schools understand this and if we are preparing our children to grow up to be leaders in the world.
Travelling through Italy I found it difficult to manage life as I do not speak Italian or even French not many people comprehend English there. If you are in France you have to know French, not many people speak ‘Anglias’ or English. Infact the UN recognizes 5 languages as official French, English, Mandarin (Chinese), Arabic & Spanish. If I look back at some of the language debates that happen in India I find it very short sighted. Yes we need to preserve our heritage and languages and encourage children to learn our state languages, but when are we going to mandatorily learn languages that will give us an edge in the world in future? Several researches across the world have proven that young children can learn 5 to 6 languages with ease. I respect Hindi and Kannada & I love English the 3 languages I learned in school, but I definitely regret the fact that I did not learn French or Spanish as it would have helped me immensely today as a global citizen!
I personally believe that most schools in India today are creating self-centered and individualistic kids who are being trained to focus on grades for themselves and seek a career that will give them the basics that they are aiming for. In this fierce focus to achieve individual success I rarely see a glimpse of future leaders in our school going populace. If India has to live up to its future potential, schools of today must equip children to be able to survive anywhere in the world.
The 3 most important skills that we need to teach our children to be global citizens of the future are to be sensitive to the world around us, take up challenges and to communicate effectively. Hope you keep this in mind while you are making your school calendar for the coming year.