We know the education system as an institutionalized way of producing students as per the benchmark of subject grades, that turns them into a commodity for higher education and job market. This system is largely dependent on two centuries old Victorian model introduced by Lord Macauley aimed to produce clerks for colonial masters. The world has now moved on to the fourth industrial revolution, where disruptive technology is driving exponential change in our everyday life; yet our education system is still rote with instruction led delivery designed to address requirements of the obsolete industrial economy.
Back in the 20th Century, the child was thought of as a piece of raw material to be shaped by the educational ‘factory’ into a quality ‘product’. However, the time has come to compete on human advantage and not with machine learning. Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group, rightly says “We cannot teach our kids to compete with machines”. It is vital to have an education system that focuses on developing human potential through the active application of knowledge to build skills.
“The industrial age really profited from process improvements and economies of scale, the information society values creativity over experience,” says Peter Arvai, CEO of Prezi, the cloud-based presentation software company. Creative endeavors, social interaction and collaborative problem solving will be the cornerstone of competitive advantage to be nurtured in our students in this era.
Alvin Toffler in his book Future Shock (1970) posited that “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”.
So, what does this mean for the education system? It is to unlearn the assembly line teaching approach of driving grades through textbooks & measurement metrics and start to learn the skill building approach of knowledge application through immersive, experiential learning. It is about not just subject knowledge but the essential socio-emotional and life skills in tandem.
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn: Alvin Toffler
There have been many developments in the education space starting from interactive learning, the inclusion of technology, changing dynamics of assessment and the start of skills or life skills education. Approximately 90 percentstudents prefer interactive, immersive and gamified learning compared to the existing classroom learning methods
There have been global researches (CASEL, 2008) that have proven an increase in academic gains of 11 percentile, with the addition of Socio Emotional Learning program in their regular curriculum. While approximately 90 percent (Arc Skills Evidence Paper, 2018) students prefer interactive, immersive and gamified learning compared to the existing classroom learning methods.The govt. has also been instrumental in bringing reforms and changes into the existing systems, such as CBSE’s CCE, Delhi Govt. Entrepreneurship curriculum, happiness curriculum and the introduction of Vocational skill courses in schools. While what we really must look at is the right execution and implementation of these innovative reforms and programs, through measures such as capacity building, technology adaption etc.
In the last decade, there have been many developments in the education space starting from interactive learning, the inclusion of technology, changing dynamics of assessment and the start of skills or life skills education. The educators are taking steps to revisit the established rules and regulations, making changes which are benefitting the students, Arunabh Singh, Director, Nehru World School, rightly says, “While surface level understanding can be reached through Industrial models of teaching. For deeper learning to occur, we need to invest time in pedagogical approaches like differential, Project Based, Experiential and individualised learning”. Organizations are coming up which make sure that the child learns the best of his or her ability. Making sure, that the student of today become a leader of tomorrow.
Our education system can no longer be synonymous with marks, boards and examination-time, it must promote personal potential and not just churn out engineers and doctors. We need more entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, sportsmen etc.
It is time to applaud the process of learning rather than the outcome of teaching.
As with any change, it’s a step at a time and staying with it!