Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Demand to Shift the Paradigm in Education System

Schools, colleges and higher centers of learning are synonyms of the industries to produce individuals with positive traits, - positive interdependent and worth to contribute to the economy of not only of her/his country but the globe.   

Schools especially elementary level and the universities play the most substantial role in educating the students. These two are the two exterior ends in education system. Elementary education catering to the educational needs of quite a big population of the students. Unaware of all enrolled children will continue perusing education or not, elementary teachers lay down the foundation of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic; They encourage the tiny-tots to open their eyes wide to observe and identify things and phenomenon happening around them; They are suppose to identify the potential of the individuals and sow the seeds to be an artist, scientist, poet, philosopher and so on.

On the other end, universities provide conducive learning environment to elite group of students having potentials to be the innovators, research scholars, professionals and the brains that contribute towards the development of ecology, economy and benevolence across the globe. We are bound to produce the global citizens to be fitted in the megatrend of the world   to communicate and work well with others within the full range of social situations involving fluid social structure, human diversity and interdependence. Mentors are to sensitize the students towards the global issues and to find the ways to make this earth a better place to live in.

 Unfortunately, today, schools, educational institutes and we knowledge workers unknowingly contribute heavily to socialize our future generation towards a less caring and a more competitive social orientation. Apparently, the youth is easily carried out towards the strikes, bands, destruction, negative race relations, intolerance etc. whereas the youth should be engaged in activities to innovate, explore and experiment the means and resources to take the nation towards the growth and development. Rather we find most of them unsatisfied with the system. Some of them are a social character ill-equipped to meet the demands of an increasingly interdependent social and economic world. This is a severe crisis in education.

To combat the situation, there is a demand to shift the paradigm from our conventional educational practices radically. The mindset of the teachers is barricading the new pedagogical approaches. They are not ready to come out of the competitive and individualistic learning structure as the classroom practices. Today, time is changing very fast. Teachers have to incorporate the strategies which foster the students’ experience.  They have to create such a learning  situation in which it is adaptive to help each other rather than hindering or heading to competitive socialization.  

Though, we talk a lot about the latest pedagogy, methodology or innovative practices on common forums like seminars, workshops or training programs but the irony is, most of the teaching faculties are not able to come out of the traditional competitive class room practices.                
Our mind set is hindering to switch over the paradigm from:

o   Traditional Teaching to Collaborative and Cooperative Learning
o   Traditional Teaching to Problem Based Learning
o   Traditional Teaching to Projects Based Learning
o   Traditional teaching to technology based learning
o   Traditional Teaching to Garden Based Learning
o   Or Traditional teaching to any innovative practices of teaching and learning which provides the students autonomy engaging in learning activities by self. 

We are not ready to play our roles as facilitators or mentors but to remain teachers forever. For instance, technology has brought drastic changes in the world and touched our life immensely. It has influence the literacy and pedagogy. Illiterate folks are even use technology efficiently.  But… are the teaching faculties ready to come out of the shell of conventional teaching? Though, technology is made available investing heavily in the classrooms of some of the prestigious institutes,  the optimum use of it is not ensured. Sometimes it is found that these are not installed properly or well equipped classrooms, due to one or the other reasons do not  operated them regularly. Hence, it is evident that students are not being benefitted optimum out of technological infra-structure which is their cup of tea. Introspection reveals that the story of many institutions alike.
 To achieve the desired success, all educational entities should be adaptive for the teaching and learning as per the needs and demand of present generation. Still the traditional classroom practices unanimously reflect  -

o   Teacher dominated structure
o   Passive obedience among pupils
o   Exclusive use of autocratic
o   Models autocratic decision making
o   Unprepared for the democratic society
o   Socialization void
o   No opportunity of interaction among students
o   Produces students unprepared for the real world

After being graduated, a student finds it very difficult to fit into the real world. By and large, the knowledge gained in colleges and universities are not useful to implement in the jobs or employment in reality. Field works demand a different type of approach and skill which is not developed and sharpened by the mentors during student life.

Therefore, there is a need for restructure of the classrooms activities. Cooperative and collaborative learning incorporating the technology aided classroom structure may serve the demands of todays learners from the very beginning of the educational life. The school teachers should incorporate activity based group work to engaging children learn concepts, finding the facts by themselves.  Children are not a clean slate as thought in previous days. They are getting exposure form the very early age of life through media, televisions, films, travelling and tours with their parents. They are very confident in taking decisions and full of potentials of leadership.
Only one ignition is required - the teachers’ inspiration. It opens the avenues of real learning   ensuring the reflection of the learning in real life.
If they are really not wasting the water and energy at home, the teaching of the Energy Conservation lesson is successful; If they are not contributing to the pollution by throwing garbage in the open, learning pollution lesson is efficacious; If they are coming to school and doing all their assignments in time, the discipline lesson has meaning. It is very simple that the knowledge gained from the books should be evident in day to day life and behavior of the students.

The innovative means of energy conservation, sustainable development to environment protection, remedies for global warming, determination to protect young women, dedication to remove poverty from the earth, initiation to combat ignorance and spread education, adoption of indigenous way should be the ultimate focus of the Universities’ Scholars. Only completing the syllabus and conducting the exams and tests should go to back foot. GROW – Gaining knowledge, reaching out to different people, opening the world of experience and implementing the knowledge to gain Wisdom should be the fore front.

Therefore, let’s all we knowledge workers from schools to universities come together to switch over the new pedagogical practices providing students opportunities to critical thinking, creativity, developing with cross cultural understanding, sheer ability in communication and being self-reliance. Our Education must prepare them for suitable jobs and help them to be productive citizens of the humanity.

Let us all be accountable!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Social Stigma - accountability to be defined

  Upper House of the Indian parliament- Rajya Sabha, passed the juvenile bill without any amendments very late. It went to the President for the signature and became a law to enforcing the punishment to a juvenile committing crime (enlisted) at the age of 16 like an adult. The bill was the result of the Nirbhaya Case, happened in December 2012 in Delhi. Nirbhaya was abused brutally in a running bus by a gang. Among other culprits, a juvenile was also accused in the case. He was kept in Bal Sudhar grih for three years and on 20th of December 2015 released and kept under supervision of an NGO.
There was a strong rage from the different sections of the society against his released. It was a big question how a person who committed a crime which was similar of an adult can not be punished by the law? Why the government is not making a strong law against the crime happening with women in the country?
Many people along with Nirbhaya ’s parents agitated in-front of the jail, Women association in Delhi took the case to the Supreme Court. But all went in vain. The juvenile, who is now 21 years old was released by the court because there were no such laws to prevent him from his release.
After big drama, the opposition parties woke up and cooperated with government to pass the bill which was pending since long. Now the juvenile term will be applicable for below 16 years at the place of 18 years. 

If we try to figure out the root cause of the criminal personalities / children, there are many factors. The sexual assault may happen with both females and the males as well. By and large, girls are more vulnerable in this regard. More over, India being male dominated society in most parts of country, this problem is acute- victimizing the female. From the very early child hood, our parents are very careful to groom the behavior of the female child but the male kids are not fortunate enough to get the guidance and right direction of the parents and elders in the society at the right time. Most of the times, females are the center of the jokes among men’s group. They freely pass bad comments, sarcastic gesture and use vulgar language for the women/ girls. Some of them think that all girls and women are their property. Even elders stamp their approval readily saying that my child is becoming masculine on the bad behavior of the boys with an attitude reflecting.…  he is a boy and he can do it. The dare devils grow bolder and bolder and some of them become over daring to commit crimes.  

The exposure of the technology especially the internet facility is also playing crucial role in this regards. Smart phones are being used by some of the young adults to sharing the porn videos. It adds fuel to the criminal minded personalities. The rapid deterioration in the values from the societies augment them to commit crimes without thinking the repercussion and consequences further. 
On the other hand, the weak will power of the government and administration enforcing the law and the lack of fast trials in the judiciary on the convicts are encouraging the evil hearted men. Unfortunately, the very young girl children, even below five too are becoming the victims. The cruel and beast like behavior is inhumane and a blot on the face of great Indian culture and civilized society.  First police refuses to register such cases. If it does, the trials in the courts take long years for the judgment. After reprehensible cases, the comments from the political leaders and the people sitting on big posts multiply the affront of the female society. In general, the females are blamed for their dresses, places and timing to go.

Now, it is the high time to change the mind set of the parents and the society towards this issue. Females are not the commodities and the right of the male community. They are equally important contributing to the development in today’s world.

It is the duty of the parents to imbibe respectful attitude towards the women in the minds of the boys from the very early age. They should present examples from their own behaviors and conduct in this regard at the place of simply imparting instructions. At home, husbands and fathers, first give importance to the voice of the women of the family in decisions. Mall language against them are to be stopped. Blame game for wrong results are to be eliminated.
When a boy will experience a respectful environment around him, he will develop the same mind set. When he finds the same treatment and importance to his sister and other women in the family as he is receiving, he will learn automatically.

Let me talk the roles of the schools in this regards. Schools and the teachers are responsible for the negativity in the children up to some extent. Though the personality traits and basic temperament is by birth due to the role of the hormones presence in the individual, as per the psychology theory but the external factors too become responsible for the aggression in the children. Why do some children develop with arrogant assertiveness? What causes their irritating behavior? Actually, when we think seriously, we find that the type of their behavior display is the result of the behavior of their parents and teachers from the very early stage of   life. All children are not alike. Their talents and skills differ from each other. Some are very good at academics and some are not. Some academic excellent students are not at all good in co-curricular activities. But teachers’ parameters always favor the academic students.  Their poor performance may be due to language problem or cultural issues with the curriculum of pedagogy. But, at least 10% of students in all classes are being repeatedly insulted for not performing well in academics in front of their peer groups, parents and other teachers. Their repeatedly assault makes them thick skin and they stamp themselves failure. All negative and disrespectful activities start giving them pleasure. Without bothering of social norms they enjoy destruction and hateful behavior. Emotions care becomes rhetoric for them. They turn up in such a personality for whom ether is no meaning of character, values and ethics.
If a person has grown with the impression of fit for nothing, failure, scolding, insult, assault he will return the same to the other when he becomes powerful bodily.

Extreme negative people they come together as birds of the same feather flock together. Intensity of the ill actions brings all bad happening in the society like loitering here and there, theft, consuming drugs, alcohol, ill behavior with the women even rape cases etc.

Now, it is the matter of serious concern for the parents for not becoming false and over ambitious for their kids, teachers to handle the failure of slow achievers for not making them sensitive less, cruel hearted and dead emotional because the alluring  fighting scene and gun shoot scenes full of blood shed in the films and  news bulletins  containing  news threads on  terroristic activities add fuel to their mentality.  I recall one incident very clearly of my school. Once a boy of  III grade cut his both arms with blade at different places and showing the blood coming out it to other students of his class. I was reported the incident. When I saw him, I was shocked. A child of hardly eight years was not affected with his own pain. Rather he was feeling heroic at the moment. Immediately I sent the child to the hospital for the medication thinking to counsel him later. It compelled me to think …when a person can not feel his own pain how he will be considerate for other’s troubles. Instead he will derive more pleasure out of intense cruelty. He will not be touched on the pleading of the victims.
It may be the effect of the films, media, parents brought up or the treatments received from the educational institutions.
Today, it is the foremost responsibility of all of us to look into the matter for our own responsibilities for not producing heartless inconsiderate folks.  Let us together make our societies fear free zone for male – females both. A healthy mind set will assure a healthy society.

My earnest request to all the teaching fraternities to introspect the approach of the educational institutions in this regard.