I sincerely believe that it is much more than high time we in India completely revamped our education. Here is setting the ball rolling –
Some background ideas for a thorough relook at the education paradigm –
- Education does not mean only education in schools and colleges. Education is an activity that starts at an individual’s birth and should continue till his/her death.
- Education will undoubtedly come from the academic institutions in a major way; but work places too should focus much more on continuing education of their staff.
- Education should be designed so as to help every individual figure out his own unique potential, strengths and weaknesses and to deploy them for one’s own benefit as well as that of the society at large.
- The academic education should be aimed primarily at discovering an individual’s own unique potential, strengths, likes, skills and suitability for various tasks. This will help one decide what jobs one is best suited for. The second part of the academic education should then allow the individual to acquire some basic experience of real life tasks in the functional areas that he/she is suited for and would like to pursue.
- Academic education should start out with giving an as wide a sampling of various subjects as possible. Here, the sampling should be more in the nature of real experiences (something like Shanti Niketan approach) rather than learning by rote from prescribed text books. Then, gradually, an individual should be allowed to pick and choose what he/she likes and what he/she is suited for. There should be no rigid prescriptions as to the number of subjects/credits etc to be done by everyone. It should be completely flexible and left to the individual student.
- Academic content should be primarily utility-oriented. In other words, subjects like history/geography should not be “compulsory” for everyone like it is today. An absolute minimum set of compulsory qualifications like 3 languages, arithmetic and general science may be enough as a basic education to get by in life in general for someone who does not intend to take up a job.
- There should be no standard general degrees but rather one or more specific qualification certificates in each area that a student opts for.
- Assessment of a student’s ability in a subject should be done through GRE-type exams that are available frequently all through the year. This will allow the students the flexibility to prepare themselves without “exam pressures” and clear the exams at their convenience.
- A student can collect as many different subject qualifications as he/she desires over as long or short a period as he/she wants. So, in effect, there will be no specific programs of fixed durations like SSC/HSC/Graduation as they are at present.
- Employers should align their recruitment processes to this design of education. They should publish a list of the different certificates required for their various jobs so that students are clear how and when they can try for a particular type of job. Of course, a minimum age limit can be prescribed for taking up a job.
- Also, an up-to-date all-India database of job vacancies in all public/private organizations should be maintained and made available to everyone. This will enable students to decide and plan their education in line with their own suitabilty and the market realities.