The National Education Policy (NEP) sets out its objectives and vision in various places in the document. Chapter four of the education policy states that the curriculum and teaching methods should be holistic, easy to understand, unified and engaging. For school education, it is important to create a quest for knowledge or scientific temperament, to develop a sense of citizenship, to make students aware through class XII of all the basic knowledge necessary for daily life. We would like to explain how the vision and the objectives set in the policy can be achieved. The main emphasis here is on education up to grade X as XI and XII are left out to focus on career development.
We can broadly divide the whole education system into three parts: content or curriculum, teaching method and extracurricular activities.
As for the curriculum, a review of the curriculum of various courses reveals that a fair amount of content can be removed or rearranged to bring it back to the level of knowledge necessary for everyday life. It is common knowledge that not only a child but even adults remember a story, novel or movie for a long time. This happens because the events are interconnected and at every step the reader or viewer is eager to know the next event. Anything that has a good streak and curiosity should be remembered by everyone.
This element is missing from our current program. Every page and chapter seems to generate unrelated information that is crammed together for review without a basic understanding of the topic. This can be called a vertical approach in every subject. The challenge is whether the same information can be conveyed to students with the elements of continuity and curiosity to really understand the subject? My answer to this is a definite yes. It should be understood that all the development of the civilized world has taken place as a living organic entity. It has been a gradual process. Geography, history, social sciences and pure sciences have all been intimately linked at all times. If at school level all these subjects are taught in a linked way, it would make learning interesting and lasting. This can be called a horizontal approach. The main teaching subjects up to standard X may be limited to language, basic arithmetic / geometry and general studies.
In language, there needs to be more emphasis on communication skills. Without a good command and a good understanding of the language, an individual, a society or a country cannot realize its full potential. It doesn’t need to be said that basic math, especially arithmetic, is essential for anyone in day-to-day life. The basics of geometry are also used in everyone’s life. Mathematics, besides its importance in everyday life, is also essential for developing the analytical capacity of young minds.
Basic Vedic math can help in this area in an effective way. Algebra is the basis of higher education, but can be spared until the eighth grade or can be taught for basic exposure.
All basic requirements of social sciences and pure sciences can be qualified as general studies up to class X. General studies should cover the basics of history, geography, civics, life. economy and science. All of these topics can largely be interconnected and intertwined in common threads in an interesting and fascinating way. It’s ironic that most new voters know very little about the country’s civic system and governance as they become eligible to vote. The basics of Indian culture and its positive aspects can be easily entrenched in young minds at this point.
Regarding the teaching method, it is common knowledge that teachers are responsible for completing the course in a number of periods resulting in a continuous barrage of misunderstood information in the form of course material. . Course material can be downsized / rearranged to take the pressure off teachers and students without losing on actual learning. However, teachers will need to be trained in a reoriented horizontal approach to teaching in order to maintain an element of continuity and curiosity in the minds of students.
Teachers do not have to learn anything new, but simply affect a change in teaching method. The teaching method should encourage students to ask the questions instead of the teacher just rushing through the lessons and chapters. Credit should also be given for asking the questions rather than just answering the exam questions. It is believed that 20 percent of marks could be awarded for asking questions in class. Why and how are the bases of the development of scientific temperament in students and from VI to X is the right step to develop it.
In addition, extracurricular activities are necessary for the holistic development of a child. In general, this term is understood to mean the introduction of certain sports, arts or other activities in the school. It will be good if such activities are involved which instill team spirit and the dignity of work. For example, students can clean their own classrooms and schools on certain days, tend the lawns and gardens of the school, etc. The scope can be expanded in the upper grades with the element of community service depending on the individual localities.
Instead of a homework based on the curriculum, having students choose their own area of ââinterest for specific articles / projects on the same topic with more in-depth detail can be a good way to develop the habit of self-study and can greatly help identify areas of students. of interest and natural abilities.
Another element of extracurricular activities can be independence. Students can be encouraged to conduct daily speeches themselves and help the family with chores. Parental feedback should be obtained at parent-teacher meetings. Such measures could help transform the school experience of stuffing into learning.
(Retired civil servant, the author is a civil engineer interested in educational reforms)