Transforming Education in India : Past and Present

 Education is a virtue which stays with an individual throughout the life. Collectively, educated masses are the think tanks, growth drivers as well as the conscience keepers of any nation. It is the education in multiple streams which brings together a multi-faceted society with a vast spectrum of expertise among its people.

Innovation brings novelty in learning methods and the way education is structured. This also brings better employability and future prospects. Moving ahead from the conventional ‘chalk and talk’ model of learning to modern digital learning and from passive learning to hands-on experience is the way forward.

The power of innovation lies in its simplicity, applicability and affordability. Innovative models in the field of education have to be sustainable, scaleable and result oriented. They must create an environment of learning which encourages original thinking, creativity, and most importantly, delivering education to the last mile.

Technology is bringing this much-needed innovation in Indian education system. Innovative education fosters sustained learning at an early stage which has the potential to shape the future generations. This can bring a paradigm shift in the way our students learn – from looking to seeking, from mugging up to learning, from copying-pasting to exploring and nventing, from less participatory learning to experiencing and creating. The possibilities are immense when education is teamed up with innovation.

From the Right to Education to Samagra Shiksha, education has always been a priority area in devising schemes and initiatives. The Government has also launched several new schemes in higher education to boost research and innovation culture in the country. The Committee for Draft National Education Policy chaired by Dr. K. Kasturirangan has submitted its report proposing an education policy, which seeks to address the challenges of access, equity, quality, affordability and accountability faced by the current education system. The draft Policy provides for reforms at all levels of education from school to higher education. It seeks to increase the focus on early childhood care, reform the current exam system, strengthen teacher training and restructure the education regulatory framework. It also seeks to set up a National Education Commission, increase public investment in education, strengthen the use of technology and increase focus on vocational and adult education, among others.

The public schools and universities are mandated to provide quality education to all. They need to attune themselves with the growing demands of innovative need-based learning. This subsidised education works as an enabler for many with marginalised backgrounds giving wings to their aspirations. The need for the day is to supplement this model of education with public-private partnership. Also, collaboration with global universities in terms of e-learning and exchange programmes will expose the students to the global scenario.

India has been an important seat of learning since ancient times with institutes like Nalanda and Takshila. Today, the country is fortunate to have a youth population like never before. This demographic dividend can be utilised with the right opportunities in education providing them the skill set and experience to aspire big.

Nelson Mandela has called Education as the “most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It is the key to eliminating gender inequality, to reducing poverty, to creating a sustainable planet to fostering peace, and to preventing needless deaths and illnesses. In India, innovation is the key to this transformation in the education sector.

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