24 April, 2009

Changes to the Existing Education system: some ideas

I don't know if there is anyone on this forum who can influence the educational system in India, but if there are, I would be glad if they can take a look at my suggestion and see if they are any good. The following ideas are based on my own experience of studying in this country, and what I felt I missed out on.

I would like to suggest 2 extra formal subjects of study between class 5-12 in India:

1) India today. Current affairs.

News. Political/scientific/economics/any other topic which catches the fancy of the child. Each child is expected to bring in a piece of news to class and talk about it and state his opinion on it. Later a discussion about this topic can take place with the whole class.

- Encourages child to develop reading skill

- Developes his GK

- Ability to think and have an opinion with reasons

- Ability to reason with others and draw conclusions

- Increases awareness of different things going on around the child

- Encourages the child to understand his area of interest from a younger age

The teacher of this subject should also be able to help the child correlate their findings with similar situations in the past, so that the child is able to look at history as a feedback to the making of the future.
The child should be marked on:- Correctness of the news- His/her grasp or understanding of the topic- Ability to defend his point of view

2) Class of invention and innovation:

This class should encourage the child to think out of the box. To do something new. To come up with new ideas. To create something. It can be made into a fun class where each child is expected to come up with

a) A new word (with reasons ofcourse, so that they can dig up roots of word and stuff)

b) A new device (and how they plan to design it)

c) A new strategy

d) A new art form

Basically anything original, which has not been done before.Some of the lessons could be extempore (in the class topics, and make the children come with new ways of designing/doing/executing/planning it.)

The child can be marked on -originality of the idea, -it's usefulness, -it's appeal/popularity with other children in the class, -the effort taken in the development of the idea (how well thought out is the idea)

Another subject which could be better dealt with is Mathematics. The following are the modifications I would like to make to it

1) Should make the subject more visual. Sometimes we have a problem with mathematics, because it is difficult to visualise things like complex numbers, calculus etc.

2) Should give a good idea about the application and usefulness of the different mathematical tools from everyday life.

3) Should encourage use of different computer tools like matlab/mathcad and I am sure there are cheaper ones as well, which make it fun and simple for students to grasp the subject.

4) teachers should take extra effort and come up with different teaching aids to help children think of (any subject, not just) maths as a fun, easy to learn and useful subject.

And finally, the marking system should also be revised. Yes it is a competitive world and we want our next generation to be prepared for it, but at what cost? Do we want them to be little robo-lets, who spend the most important part of their lives, their childhood, memorising facts? I hope not!Why don't we have a more unbiased system which gives importance to sports and arts? Why does the student who never plays a single game, or sketches or sings or dances come first in class because he did well in his theoretical subjects? Whereas an athlete who does exceptionally well in sports, comes last in class only because he didn't score as much in other subjects? Why not make it difficult to come first as well as last in class? why not make tuition classes a thing of the past, by making learning in school easy and fun?

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