Renuka Chhabra, principal, Orchids, The international School, Seawoods
The only certainty in uncertain times is change. Change, that can be planned, but often comes unannounced. Pandemics and disasters have been part of human existence for ages. Humankind has overcome every adversity with knowledge and education. The generations of the future were healthier and more evolved because of the struggle and inventions in history. No one predicted and prepared Newton, to be a scientist, or Madam Curie studied to be an inventor. Wright brothers were not taught about aerodynamics and aeronautical engineering, but one commonality that we see in all the above and many more examples, from the present and past, is an opportunity to explore, a platform to perform, guidance to experiment, resilience to adversity, confidence in self, and persistence to succeed, and most importantly a spirit to serve humanity.
In the evolved system, we can be better prepared, only if we know what one should be prepared for. It’s said, when nothing is sure, everything is possible. Uncertainty and change can be a compass to guide us towards growth.
Educational institutions of today can be that compass.
Who had ever thought of schools coming home, food being ordered on an app, shopping on the phone at the time one desired, but we withstood the winds of change and adapted to survive, to make the best and grow?
2019-21 can be viewed as another renaissance, a revolution in terms of technological advancement in all sectors. In this tech revolution too, one thing, that is overpowering and cannot be ignored is the spread of humanity and an element of humanism.
Progress does not mean becoming like a machine, it is the human brain’s win over a machine. The future of education needs to focus on the same. When life in the future changes, which is a certainty, life skills and coping with this change will assist humans to stead themselves in a place of comfort. Bernard Russel, said in his essay, “will machine, destroy emotions, or emotions destroy machines” Need of the hour is that balance, Humankind cannot afford to destroy either.
Jobs that are projected to get redundant in the next 30 to 40 years could be, human-driven transports, humans in communication, like postal department, telephone operators, mapping technicians, and many such, which will be replaced by mass cheap schooling systems, personalized curriculums, math, and computer professionals, virtual reality people, who will be able to manage Avatar’s holograms, health care support for the elderly, climate engineers who could control and create …like present days cloud seeding, memory enhancement surgeons, time brokers, etc.…
Some predict that in less than 30 years from now, humans will have to cope with migrations to cyberspace, fluid gender identities, and new sensory experiences generated by computer implants.
Many foresee that people will be able to create a perfect match for themselves, using technology, so dating, marriage, etc. will be things of the past too soon.
With so much and so much still unrealized unpredictability, one thing that the education system can ensure is to invest in the mental and physical resilience of human beings. To prepare students for the future, present education needs to invest in the re-designing curriculum.
Homeschooling is gaining popularity and would soon be an acceptable way of Teaching learning for those who can afford it. Personalized learning, the olden gurukul system, will be the norm. Physical campuses will be a distant past with a gaining momentum of e-learning platforms.
Three must changes in the education system today will ensure preparation of a student’s mind to be equipped to handle any change.
- Curriculum that makes students “Think“
The Indian education system has rested and evolved from the scriptures. Where Shravan (Listening), Manan (Research and realization), and Nidhyasan (Application and practice) were the pedagogical and andragogical techniques for all learning. Apprenticeship followed Nidhyasan, like an internship before a scholar took up that course as a profession.
We are in an advantageous position where we have facilities to record as script and tech, that helps to revisit and rework. Need of the hour is to create a generation that doesn’t just comply but is aware, Thinks, and opinionates has a voice as an independent thinker. In simple words, the whole system of presentation to assessment has to shift from doing as directed to Your view, reason and how will it change the world, like bigger questions, where learners can see beyond the shell of themselves.
We don’t want parrots or Oysters, let the sky be the limit, who knows how to fly to look at things from all perspectives.
- Curriculum that teaches, “Survival”
Present curriculum besides, teaching computer, coding, math, and applied science, need to impart life skills that will help our present to be ready for the future
Confidence, Curiosity, Logic, resilience building, coping with failure, emotion management, Humanism, preparation for the end as a goal, reasoning, application, health and environment, Universe, and sustainability an enlarged view, social skills, and meeting the true self, will help any generation, be grounded, adjust to the changing norms, societal and family structure and values, and new social fabric in the future.
- Education is not for the age but for a “learning stage”
Education in schools must come out of the designed structure during the first renaissance, a compartmentalized format with age-specific learning goals for a product that’s sole aim was compliance. Our present system of education does not give options to students to make informed choices. It’s neither the interest, nor their stage, and ability but their biological age decides the subjects and learning goals, that restrict their mental growth, creativity, experimentation.
Children are born intelligent and very creative, let education, which is a byproduct of industrialisation, be detrimental to building a prudent progressive, and future-ready society.
For the speed that tech is advancing it becomes more imperative than ever to change the design of education that helps generations be ready not only to cope or withstand but know themselves as the most intelligent and fortunate of all creations. This reality can be ever achieved by only one agency, and that is the Education system
Permit me to call it, “The Educational Renaissance”