One of the biggest changes that has taken place in the past decade is the value of information in our society. We live in an information era and information is available to everyone almost freely irrespective of their educational qualification. What one needs to know is how to access and process that information. Our educational system relies on testing children on the quantum of information they possess. Ironically the world around them does not value them for how much information they have, what they can do with the abundant information is what is going to determine their success in future. This change has led to a huge confusion in the minds of everyone and what we are going through is a transition phase.
Everyone today has an opinion on how schools need to be run and how children need to be brought up. On one hand you have the average parents who believe they know what is good for the child and will go out of their way to intrude the process of schooling and force their opinions on the way schools are being run. This fact is highlighted by the change in philosophy with which schools are run these days, parents are customers and schools need to provide ‘Customer Satisfaction’.
The government on the other hand has in the recent past has gone over board with its innumerable recommendations and laws on education. Some of them seem very shallow and very little thought has gone into making of these laws. But the larger point is that the policy makers have education high up on their agenda and their interference will only grow in the days to come.
In addition the industry at large has taken cognizance of the failure of our educational system to provide the relevant workforce, their lobbying and pressure is one of the biggest reasons why the government is taking keen interest in education. Entrepreneurs or as we now call them ‘Edupreneurs’ is a buzz word in India and everyone is fuelled with an intent to change the educational system. The technology and IT revolution has given birth to several new models of disseminating formal education. Home schooling is being talked about quite frequently these days and with technology allowing
In a world of uncertainty I am certain about one thing and that is ‘Change’. Education will change in the coming decade much more than it has in the past two centuries. For most educators tough change means looking at improving our existing model of education, they are happy making modular improvements in the manner they run schools. I believe that adding infrastructure and training teachers is a very short-term solution, in the long term we must question the relevance of schooling itself. With the way things are changing around us I am not sure if the existing model of education will exist a few decades down the line.
Does this mean the extinction of schools as we know them today? When I look at the kind of people running schools, the quality of teachers and the quality of children coming out of our schools I am confident that schools are well on their way to self-destruction. My hope tough is that a new order will emerge which hopefully satisfies the educational needs of our future world till then we will have to live with a ‘Confused Educational System’.
I wish you a very Happy New Year 2013, I hope the coming year will bring ideas and innovations that will make schooling relevant in the years to come.