CBSE schools have started online classes with teachers sending out videos via Whats App and conducting “live” sessions over Zoom and other such platforms.
I don’t know if children would learn anything from these sessions – the jury is still out on that. However, one thing is for sure – Many parents are going to choose home schooling or No Schooling if this comedy show continues. In one sense it has brought into sharp focus the apology that passes of as “teaching” and “education” in our country.
The stark reality is this – so many of us are flushing hard earned money down the tube in the false belief that we are educating our children and equipping them for the “future” – a future that no one is sure about nowadays with the COVID-19 situation.
It is not just about teachers not being able to cope with the technology or the newness of the transaction-modality, it is more about the poor quality of teaching, transaction, engagement, and subject-matter-expertise.
A teacher must teach the subject and not the textbook. Even during the days when I attended school, I found classrooms claustrophobic and textbooks restrictive. A subject is a playground, the textbook is simply a window inside your room that lets you look into the playground – nothing less and nothing more.
And the less said about the textbooks the better – the books are outdated and disconnected from what children face in the real world.
I don’t think it is fair to blame the teachers alone. Most of them are not in the profession by choice but rather compulsion. Private schools are concentration camps where teachers are paid a pittance and parents are milked dry. Government school teachers make a decent package but they are essentially residue of society with a few honorable exceptions – and even those that are good don’t have students to teach!
It is not enough to have committees and come out with White Papers and National Education Policies. A complete overhaul of the Education System is required that calls into question the very fundamentals of what we think is education and what children actually NEED.
So what do children need? Here is a list of things that children need to be able to do and need to be taught – in no specific order. Seth Godin talks about this and much more in his Stop Stealing Dreams
- Communication & Interpersonal skills
- Values & Integrity
- Read & Write
- Solve Problems
- Think Independently & Interdependently
- Put duties above rights
- Respect for Nature
- Concentration and focus on one Task
- Responsibility and Accountability
- Make decisions/choices
- Pursue knowledge for its own sake
- “Learn” for 1 hour everyday – learn something that is not part of school curriculum
- Learn to be silent
- Learn History & Culture
- Learn one trade/skill
- Learn how to work in teams
- Trade passion for fear
- Dignity / Respect
Will write more on this topic
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