Bindu Subramaniam, singer-songwriter, author, and Founder-CEO at SaPa – Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts.
With a new school year round the corner, we find ourselves wondering what the landscape of online learning will look like this time round. We spent most of 2020 adjusting to the big shift in schooling, and helped children cope with it too. This year, most schools are better equipped, and ensuring that students are absorbing course material more effectively.
Now is a good time to revisit the latest National Education Policy (NEP 2020) and look at the ways in which it embraces holistic learning, music, culture, and the arts. Here are some of its most impactful takeaways for school leaders and educators:
- It is increasingly clear that children don’t just need to learn, they need to learn how to learn.
- Curriculum must include arts, crafts, humanities, games, sports and fitness, languages, literature, culture, and values.
- There should be no strict boundaries between arts and sciences, and curricular and extra-curricular activities. There should be holistic education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities and sports.
- In Early Childhood Education, the numerous rich local traditions of India, involving art, stories, poetry, songs, and more, should be suitably incorporated.
- Drawing, painting and other visual art, craft, drama and puppetry, music and movement have been recognised as important tools for Early Childhood Education.
- Education authorities across various states explore innovative methods to give students access to a wider range of subjects across the arts, sciences, humanities, languages, sports, and vocational subjects.
- Multilingualism should be promoted, and all language learning should aim at being experiential and enhanced through music, poetry and theatre.
- Every student has innate talents, which must be discovered, nurtured, fostered, and developed.
- Topic-centered and project-based clubs and circles (like Science Circles, Math Circles and Music Performance Circles) should be encouraged and supported at various levels.
- The new education policy must help reinstate teachers, as the most respected and essential members of our society, because they truly shape the next generation of citizens.
If the last year has taught us anything, it is that we can’t possibly predict what things will look like 20 years from now, when children are ready to enter the workforce. What we can say with certainty, however, is that we need responsible, well-rounded, and empathetic people taking charge.
The new policy is blurring the lines between “hard” skills like math and science, and “soft” or 21st century skills like teamwork and communication. And we can only take the first steps in that direction by focusing on the arts.
Also Read: Interesting music learning options