A roadblock to NEP 2020: Rote learning in primary education

Gourashyam Moirangthem
Contd from previous issue
· School curriculum to be reduced to core concepts; integration of vocational education from class 6, and allow activity-based learning.
· Teachers will be recruited through robust, transparent processes. Promotions will be merit-based, with a mechanism for multi-source periodic performance appraisals and available progression paths to become educational administrators or teacher educators.
· A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations.
Deciding factor for the real result of this policy lies with implementation. NEP-2020 is a beautifully and thoughtfully designed policy. But a policy is only as good as its implementation. In this regard, we can focus our reform implementations in the following order of importance:
1. Teachers
I believe teachers are the holder of faith of the next generation. They should focus on providing real knowledge. They should ensure the students internalize what they are being taught. They should be determined to let their students out of this vicious cycle of rote learning based colonial leftover system. They should employ one-on-one personalized evaluation of students and getting to know what they have learnt, not decided by marks alone. They should encourage students to be free thinkers and encourage innovative ideas.
We don’t need teachers who came to the profession out of desperation. We need real teachers who passionately want to teach. To make people aspire for the profession, it should be made prestigious. They should be paid well, given perks and enough degree of status symbol and respect.
2. Parents
Parents should be made aware that knowledge is what matters most, not just marks. The focus should be to ask if their kids are learning enough to be capable to take on the world by themselves as an independent thinker when they grow up.
They should be encouraged to impart this idea to their kids. They should be sensitized that their children’s education is their most valuable investment. They should regularly communicate with their kids about their day today happenings in school.
They should impart their children the idea that knowledge is the ultimate aim. They should encourage their kids to honestly evaluate their teachers, and to report to them and to the concerned authorities.
3. Executives
Continuous evaluation of the teachers is the need of the hour. Take effective feedback about teachers from students and parents, and use them to decide the necessary steps to correct the faults. Set standards. Establish reward system for performing teachers, and hard disciplinary actions if not performed well. Effective timely training of teachers on emerging technologies and teaching methods should be focused on. Need to make the trainings enjoyable and interesting. Training for sake of attendance is a huge waste of resources. Proper evaluation should be employed after training to ensure its effectiveness.
4. Policy makers
Overall, NEP-2020 is a very good blueprint. A strong focus can be made on making the students to think independently, to think out of the box. Another point to be looked upon is taking of effective feedback from students and parents about their teachers and school.
I repeat again, a good policy is as good as its implementation. Policies formulated should be towards really achievable goals. Parliamentarians should formulate strict enough strategies to ensure the policies implemented. But at the same time the policies should be flexible enough to adapt with regional variations and to change itself according to emerging situations unfounded in the process. A degree of independence should be given to executives in this regard.
5. Society
Let knowledge and truth be the highest value and guiding light of the society. Let us respect each and every professional in accordance to their hard work and value to the society. Let us be proactive in weeding out the roadblocks on this path to an enlightened and responsible future generation.
In this modern world, human resources are the most valuable resources. The quality of human resources is mostly shaped in the early stages of education. According to Sir Ken Robinson in his book “Out of our Minds”, “The more complex the world becomes, the more creative we need to be to meet its challenges”. In today’s highly complex and competitive world we need to be creative and innovative. We cannot make someone innovative overnight. We need to inculcate such mindset since the early childhood. Therefore, it is imperative of our primary education system to focus on helping the students to be knowledgeable, creative and innovative, rather than rote learning questions and answers for the sake of marks alone.
Therefore, quality conscious, knowledge focused, creativity led primary education is the primary step we should take to produce a resourceful, logical, creative, innovative and civilized generation of youth. This is the mantra to resolve most of the social, political and economic problems we are facing in our generation. It should be regarded as the greatest gift we can offer to the future generations. Concluded