Modern education demands modern methods of teaching and learning. India’s education system is in need of a complete overhaul. The National Education Policy 2020 is the first policy of the 21st century.
The Indian school system is one of the largest providers of education to over 250 million students. Modern education is the contemporary way of educating the students in schools and learning institutions of the 21st century. The new education demands to move away from traditional mainstream subjects such as medical, non-medical, commerce, and humanities, and focus more on life skills, critical and analytical thinking, and logical reasoning. The new-age education system includes using the latest technology like smartphones, mobile applications, audio and video platforms, podcasts, and e-books to educate the learners while engaging and interesting. Now, things work in a fast-paced mode where results are expected within seconds. Therefore, the education systems across the world must evolve according to the evolution in demand of thinkers and creators. The modern education system gives less importance to traditional maths and science subjects instead of fostering life skills amongst students. The main motive is to enhance the analytical competencies, fasten the decision-making and improve the critical thinking aspects of children. The upcoming demand for jobs is a diverse field. Therefore, the learning must focus on developing human skills like compassion and inclusion for all, instead of only promoting the old scoring system in the examination.
The focus of modern education
The main focus for bettering the educational facilities is to make the learning atmosphere more experiential and focus on the real world application of concepts. The responsibility to make education accessible to all nooks and corners of the country, either through physical classes or online classes, lies on all three tiers of the governing bodies. The most suitable way of teaching students of modern times is by initiating a relationship between teachers and students that goes beyond the traditional role of teachers. A healthy relationship with the teacher makes the student comfortable to ask doubts and increases curiosity. The main difference between a traditional and modern approach to education is that traditional education is more teacher-centric, whereas the modern education system is learner-centric. The former is limited to subject learning only, whereas the latter extends beyond the subject to skill development and practical efficiency. In traditional methods, teachers or books were the only methods to impart knowledge. On the other hand, the modern technique of education involves the latest technology and uses non-conventional ways of learning through movies, podcasts, etc..
NEP 2020- A welcome change
The National Education Policy of 2020 is a welcome change as it was the first reform in education in this century. The previous 34-year-old education policy focused on traditional styles of imparting knowledge. NEP 2020 aimed at making learning in schools and colleges more vibrant, inclusive, and practical. The first and the most critical aspect of the policy is to make education universally accessible from pre-primary to class 12. It emphasised the need for quality early educational childhood care in the formative years of three to six. The new education system proposed a 12-year education period and three years in pre-schools and Anganwadi. The new system proposed increased flexibility amongst the choice of subjects available to the students. There would be freedom for the students to choose from a plethora of subjects that interest them. The rigid differences between several streams lie science, arts and commerce are proposed to be blurred.
The main objective is to give equal importance to academics, curricular, co-curricular, and vocational activities. The progressive modern approach focuses on the fact that all students have differing levels of understanding since they come from different financial and social backgrounds. The system currently in place focuses on a formal education that assumed that all the students had a similar level of understanding. Modern education would demand more emphasis on practicals rather than the age-old practice of maintaining notebooks. Teachers would have to adapt to the new changes themselves before implementing them on the students. A modern education system encourages curiosity, questioning, and inventing different solutions to the same problems. This would enhance the child’s capabilities as they get promoted from a junior to the senior level of education. Moreover, a practical way of learning paves the path for inventions and creativity. Since the modern workforce is expected to be creative and think out of the box, it is imperative to teach this ability since a child’s formative years. A New Evaluation Method The new ways of teaching and learning will give way to a new way of evaluation. An advanced marking system would relieve the students of the pressure of scoring high in their examination by any means. Studies have proven that a relaxed mind is more receptive than one under stress. A continual assessment of the skills throughout the year would benefit a child more than just mugging up certain textbook pages. Education refers to the overall development of a human being and is not limited to academics only. Therefore, an inclusive, integrated and developmental model of education is a priority for the child’s holistic development. Several parents shift their children from the government to private schools because the latter provides a better and more opportunistic environment for their children. In olden times, basic infrastructure like a desk and bench, a teacher, and a blackboard were satisfactory for the parents. On the other hand, today, parents demand well-equipped computer labs, maths and science practical labs, a playground, a knowledgeable faculty, and a growth-oriented and encouraging atmosphere.
The modern education system is dynamic and demands teachers to change, learn and grow along with their students daily. Co-curricular activities like theatre, music, dance, and home science, amongst many others, are given equal importance as to core subjects taught in school. Policymakers need to keep in mind the needs of the students for formulating effective policies while working on the quality of education being imparted to the students. Instead of ranking the schools according to the number of toppers it produces, experts should focus on how effective a school is while imparting education, and how happy the students are whilst learning to grow in life.
Views Expressed by: Karun Deep, Managing Director, Delhi Public School Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh.