Gurukul Recruiter!

There was a time when parents performed tapasya for having a kid like Lord Vishnu, and that’s how Vasudeva and Devaki might have ended up getting one in the form of Sri Krishna. 

Wonder, what today’s parents might be praying for?

To get a kid like Elon Musk or the likes of Bill gates, or even our own Tata’s and the Ambani’s! 😉

Well, times have changed, so why not the focus, many might argue.

And with changing times, skill sets that are supposed to run a nation or the world is slated to change big time as well.

With AI and Machine Learning, which have already become the buzz words, the time is not far, when the current technical skill sets that one has will become redundant.

Does it spell doomsday for the current educational setup?

Well, it would be too harsh to say that, though the focus of the very same might need to shift if they are to become relevant with changing times.

Seems like, there would be a need to go back to the fundamentals of education: manav nirmaan. 

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Does that mean, that the ancient gurukul system will be revived?

Well, to a certain extent, yes; but may be within the ambit of the current modern education system, which will start to have its leanings towards the age-old sensibility.

Does it mean that those graduating from gurukul like set-up will become the sought for, when it comes to companies competing for recruiting good talent?

Might be, which would in turn, require the companies and for that matter, all organizations to have a completely different perspective on recruitment.

How soon it might happen, is anybody’s guess!

Slowly but surely, the world seems to be moving in that direction.

Source for the Image: http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in

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The Cultivated Indian!

Oh, you don’t even know, who’s Darwin?”, says a 7th grade student to her classmate who’s just joined her class, with an accent, which is quite common among kids studying in international schools.

Well, should I be knowing the same? Do you know who’s Ramanujan?”, replies the kid, in an accent, quite synonymous with kids studying in a remote government school, to which the girl makes fun of.

When you hear such conversations, you cannot help but wonder where our society is heading?

A language, which shouldn’t be made a prestige issue but a medium to communicate your thoughts and feelings, has unfortunately become a status symbol in today’s world.

In my childhood, if a kid got educated in a convent school, it used to be a matter of pride for the parents, which has translated to studying in an international school for kids of today’s generation.

What I see in a child today is:

A constant race to speak, act and live life as the westerners would,

A constant race to prove that you are better than someone,

A constant race to get that all coveted seat in a US university,

student-education

Of course being supported by parents:

Who take great pride, if their kid succeeds in some competitive exam,

Who are all bent upon showing off their kid as a trophy to the world,

Without realising, that what they are doing is not manav nirmaan but a creation of a generation of youth,

who are driven by materialism,

who don’t have an understanding of what inclusivity would mean,

who look at every other object as it were to be used and exploited by them for their own needs,

Which by the way, seems a very dangerous situation to be living in.

For what’s the guarantee that the kids, when they grow up, would not see parents as a means to fulfil their own ambitions and needs,

which in a way is getting reflected in today’s world, especially where the husband and the wife, both are working in a professional capacity and just want their parents or in-laws to be present at home, wanting them to take care of their own kids.

Yes, we Indians realise that a kid’s interaction with grandparents is of utmost importance to their development, but, should the basis of the same be exploitative mentality, which is a result of addiction to materialism?

Weren’t love, respect and care meant to be the foundations of the same?

The way, every Indian in today’s word, is being cultivated and nurtured, brings about a deep concern for the future.

If getting a well-paying job is the only incentive to live and leaving behind the rest the only motive in the world, day is not far when parents’ trophies will turn into disasters for themselves, to begin with, and for society as a whole.

The choice is yours:

Whether you want to change the very fundamentals of upbringing,

or

Allow your kids to be cultivated into something which ensures sadness for all stakeholders in times to come?

Source for the Image: http://edtechreview.in/news/2632-technology-for-students-education

Game of Educating!

Have you ever wondered, why education has just become a means for attaining good marks, which in turn gets you a so called good job thereafter? And the education providers a business for churning out mechanical robots day-in-day-out.

After all education was never meant to be a business and a factory for generating the above, it was meant to lead to creation of responsible and sensible individuals who could, after growing up, make rational and sensible decisions, guiding the world towards a sustainable and joyful place to live in.

The question that arises is whether that’s happening? And if not, what needs to be done to ensure that it happens? Very valid questions indeed and we do have an answer, though it might not go down well with the herd mentality of trying to make millions of dollars, yet can have an immense impact on the way people perceive education in a holistic manner.

Before we get into the dynamics of how it can be achieved, let us take a pause to understand what it means for a kid. Kids are born with inherent curiosity, which they express in so called constructive or destructive ways, yet one thing that should not be taken away from them is a zeal to ask questions.

Shouldn’t our education system be encouraging questions and enabling the curiosity to flourish among kids?

Once the curiosity take its own course, kids are bound to find answers to the same, be it asking their elders (parents, siblings, teachers) or seeking it for themselves, be it internet, any chat bot or other means of digital access.

Coming to our role as adults is to provide kids an environment and assets through which they can explore this wonderful world, ask us questions when they feel like and get the answers to the same or a guidance as to where they would be able to find the answers to the same, the latter being the preferred modus operandi, as it leads to self-exploration and building a confidence to explore.

Having said the above, there are many aspects to providing this environment, especially in the current scheme of things (assuming the kids are able to come to a school, though there are other aspects of how to bring underprivileged kids to the same which encompasses mid-day meal programs etc.):

number-demolition-11-20

 

  • Physical Infrastructure

 

      1. Classrooms (black/white boards, chalk/marker, chairs, tables, lights etc.)
      2. Toilets
      3. Playground (garden, trees)
      4. Projector
      5. Computer
      6. Science Labs (chemicals etc.)
      7. Staff room

 

  • Learning Material

 

      1. Text Books/E-Books (in every language)
      2. Videos (in-person/animation) (in every language)
      3. Experiment kits (aligned to concepts and real life examples) which kids can play with, relate to and learn from the same
      4. Tools equipped with AR/VR

 

  • Teachers

 

      1. Friendly, learned enablers having teaching aides (digital and physical) who promote the culture of openness and asking questions

 

  • Parents

 

    1. Acting as enablers off the school campus, giving children an opportunity to explore

The very idea to create an exploration environment equipped with technology and other fundamental assets to make the learning process a joyful experience is what one would want to aspire for when it comes to developing that all important vision of educating the next generation.

The learning process needs to be made joyful and easily understandable which means presenting concepts etc. in a manner in which the kid would want to receive it as, which in turn means that we need to have a fair understanding of what would be received well by different kids of different levels of understanding and the matter or the material being designed in accordance to the same.

Does that mean that the grades need to be rethought and regrouped into a fundamental parameter, such as level of understanding?

If that’s the case, can the concepts be organized per se according to the levels of understanding and not grades?

Does it also translate into different explanations/pedagogy for the same concept for different levels of understanding that kids might have?

After all, a concept is grade agnostic and the very assumption that the kids of a certain grade wouldn’t comprehend a particular aspect of life is derogatory in itself.

It’s like putting the kids into unwanted boundations and making them believe of the very limitations which don’t really exist.

Strong need to rethink upon how education can be made:

Relatable (to what one sees around oneself),

Realistic (based upon pure observation),

Simplistic (easy to understand),

Unbounded & limitless (making a conscious effort of not creating superficial boundaries in the minds of the kids)

and

most importantly Enjoyable.

Source of the image: https://www.education.com/game/number-demolition-11-20/

Result Season

Come the summers, and we all are flooded with news containing the results of the plethora of competitive examinations taking place in our country coupled with the Board exam results.

On one hand, there are some fortunate students who emerge out with flying colours in these examinations, on the other hand there are students who are left wanting and face the wrath of our exam-oriented society with terminologies such as “bekaar hai”, “kisi kaam ka nahi hai” etc.

Recently I happened to talk to one such student who had failed miserably in all the exams that she had given ranging from the 12th Boards to the competitve engineering examinations.

Her family is upset that even after paying for the best of coaching institutes for her, she had failed them miserably. Constant comparisons with her friends who have been able to make it through, is driving her crazy to the extent that she had even contemplated running away from her home to avoid all the criticism that had followed since the results were out.

With the kind of the competition that every child has to go through in this country, parents must realize that there are bound to be children who will not make it to the top notch. They must therefore, instead of blaming their child, should provide a mental and emotional support to their child irrespective of the results.

Their love for their child shouldn’t be contingent, in any way, on the success or failure of their child in such examinations or on the kind of feedback they get for their child from the society and the near and dear ones around them.

It is extremely important that the parents should stop imposing their dream on their child and should stop treating their child as a trophy which they can show to the whole World.

Source for Image: http://www.testime.in/2012/02/28/cdsi-2011-final-result/

Today’s Column in iNext DainiK Jagran

http://inextepaper.jagran.com/c/186967

Add on to the Above:

How many times have you thought of things in this World which are so not perfect? And if you are a girl then the imperfectionist nature of our society tends to bother you more, especially in the context of the incidents that take place every day and are reported in nearly every newspaper in our country.

On top of that, with the kind of law enforcement mechanisms in place in our country, parents are left with no other option but to feel insecure and scared about us. As a result, some parents don’t want their children to go away from them even for studies, especially if they belong to smaller towns and cities.

This might lead to frustation in the minds of children who might have seen some dreams for themselves and not getting the chance to pursue their dreams might lead to disappointment in life.

This needs serious thinking on the part of our society. What kind of environment are we as citizens providing to the people? And what kind of legal machinery is in place where people are themselves scared to approach a police officer for their own good?

What is needed though is to instill confidence in the minds of the people about the whole system. What is needed is to make this system function well. This would in turn mean quick disposal of cases on the part of our Judiciary along with presence of responsive and efficient investigating agencies.

Bringing the above into action is a basic necessity for a democracy like us to prosper and fulfill its ambition of giving justice to the idea of a welfare state.

Source: http://www.studyabroaddomain.com/

Discrimination in Schools

It was heard of during the British days that students in schools were discriminated on the basis of their economic statuses explicitly. The implicit discrimination continued to exist even after the independence though.

But here is a case where a school in New Delhi by the name of St. Andrews Scots Senior Secondary School forces the students from economically weaker backgrounds, admitted under the 10% quota regime, to wear tags to demonstrate that they have been admitted as such. There might be compelling reasons for the management of the school to have introduced such a derogatory policy.

The other day we were complaining about a US Vice-Consul abusing the Tamilians, and we got really annoyed at the statement made. Now, what should be done? Here is a case in our own backyard, where student rights are openly violated and if this was not enough they are made to be discriminated.

The government, instead of putting Anna Hazare behind the bars, should make strong note of it and a severe action should be taken against the culprits here.

Source for Image: http://newton007.com/article/school/

It’s All About Money, Honey ;)

I came across an article wherein Jairam Ramesh had gone on to say that it is because of the kind of students who make it through to the IITs that IIT as a brand name is famous around the globe and not because of the kind of infrastructure or research or professors.

Then there were some counter arguments given by one of the country’s eminent scientist that Jairam Ramesh was being naive here about the quality of professors. Kapil Sibal event went on to say that the government does not endorse Ramesh’s view, which is purely his personal opinion.

Well, I would like to add here that the quality of professors is degrading these days. Earlier, we used to have people who were themselves B.Tech from IITs and then went on to do a PhD from some reputed institute in USA. All in all, they were themselves very hard working and intelligent people and turned out to be good professors. Now a days, IIT is recruiting people as professors who don’t have such a sound educational background as it used to be before. I am not saying that the graduates from other colleges can’t be good professors, but at least on paper if we go by the degrees and achievements, earlier, IITs used to have better quality.

But shouldn’t the discussion be also about the kind and quality of IITians who go on to get some lucrative jobs in fields totally unrelated to what they studied during their stay at IIT. Or if we dig a little deeper, shouldn’t the question be about the kind of awareness or lack of awareness our schools create about choice of career that we end up choosing a career based on the lucrative outcomes in store for us after graduating rather than choosing a career based on our liking for it. At the same time our society and our parents want us to fulfill their expectations and that is exactly what we end up doing, not able to defy the obvious, being brought up in a certain manner.

So, instead of our politicians mulling over the quality of IITians, they should first of all make an effort to create good infrastructure and recruit world class faculty. Secondly, they should try to introduce a provision of some kind of counseling for students graduating from schools.

On the part of parents and society, they should try to provide a healthy environment for their children to develop at the same time giving him/her an opportunity to do things that he/she would be happy doing.

If this was done in the first place, the so called IITians (why i say so called is because sometimes this terminology is used in a negative way for those who have graduated from the same) will not be “wasting” (as perceived by some) the enormous amount of funds being invested by the government for their education and would not be running after “the thing”, money. But as they have said it is never too late.

Having written all this, sometimes I wonder when everything in this World can be done via money then why shouldn’t one be saying: “It’s all about Money, Honey“‘.

Source for Images: http://baloo-baloosnon-politicalcartoonblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/education-cartoon.html

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/gallery/cong-ministers-sign-moa-on-river-ganga/1/3404.html