‘Every child is born curious’ was the highlight of one of the recently concluded webinars organised to discuss various facets of the National Education Policy 2020. While every educationist is hailing the welcoming policy, little do they emphasise the enormous damage their educational institutions have always been doing with the imposition of rote learning.
The Indian traditional education is rooted in the principles of questioning, venturing for truth, and creating unique solutions. This knowledge is to be achieved through perception, inference, verbal, testimony and comparison which is theoretical as well as practical. Even the foundation of formal schooling begins with play schools and kindergartens that teach students the art of hands-on learning and make them learn every concept through experiences. Then why does it happen that these very educational institutions, later contradict the foundation that they lay and turn to robotic way of teaching and learning. We memorize, study for the test and forget, only to know 10 years later what an atrocious world we have been constructing that insisted on having only one right answer to every question.
Moreover, with the advent of industrialisation, the larger goal of the human population is fixed at fulfilling the pre-determined role. Education has just become a means to achieve this goal. Children, full of questions about things that interest them, are learning not to ask them at school. Against a background of tests and targets, unscripted queries go mainly unanswered and learning opportunities are lost. Schools that are supposed to be the temples of learning and new discoveries have ended up becoming manufacturing hubs producing literates in bulk. Even the renowned educationalist Sir Ken Robinson FRSA reiterates that “schools kill creativity”, arguing that “we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather we get educated out of it”. Yet to Robinson, “creativity is as important as literacy and we should afford it the same status”.
Intelligence is not the product of academic abilities alone, but is a blend of three C principle- ‘Curiosity, Creativity, and Critical Thinking’. Unless our three C principle is institutionalised, our educational outcomes will end up being skewed and homogenous. This is because over the time, degrees get devalued, jobs perspective get subsided, but only those who are trained in the skills of reasoning and problem solving will end up charting new paths. Nevertheless, there is a need to produce doctors and engineers but there is an equal need to produce humans with creative abilities and a sense to ask right questions, to empathise with problems, intelligence to critically analyse it and innovative enough to find solutions to it.
India has already made advancements in technology. It is now on its path to become the silicon valley of east. All this is being done to transform nation sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society, by providing high quality education to all. With the average data cost of Rs 7/GB, technology-based interventions has also become the accessible and affordable to all. It’s time that the institutions and mechanism should make a paradigm shift in their process of teaching and assessment of learning to align it with the evolving needs of the new world order through technological and digital interventions.