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Mr. Anil Pradhan, is a 24 year old edupreneur who is the ‘father’ of the International Public School for Rural Innovation, set up in his native village in Orissa 4 years ago. The son of a CRPF serviceman who studied in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, was always interested in Mathematics and Science since his school days. But he was never the conventional mark-getting student. Yet, he successfully outshone other projects in a CRPF organized competition to plan for your own city. This was perhaps his tiny step into the world of innovation and understanding what the world of education can actually be. When he returned to his village while pursuing his engineering, he painfully realized that schooling hasn’t changed much and it was time he did his bit by setting up his school. Over time he has set up a few more schools like that through the Navonmesh Prasar Foundation.
And this is what leads us to “Revolutionising The Education System in India”
Why do we need a revolution?
In OECD surveys conducted to study the level of school education and university level education worldwide, India stood a shocking 72nd out of 73 schools and 48th out of 48 schools respectively. It definitely hints at something terribly wrong with the system and calls for a revolutionary change to set things right. There are various models followed worldwide and one can begin by assessing the model we have been following over years in our country. Adapting in content and delivery to the changes happening in the world and society and also customizing curriculum to suit the demographics of the place the students are in is primal.
What changes does the present system need?
Lower Class Strength- Although official numbers are expected to be 40 per class, sometimes they are seen to be exceeding in a few classes. An ideal class strength of 25 would allow the teacher to have a better interaction and be able to ensure good communication and attention.
Focus on Quality of Education- The focus should shift from the length of the syllabus to its depth, i.e. from quantity to the quality of what is being learned by the students.
Trained and motivated teachers- This is an essential requirement and must be met without any kind of compromise.
Better Infrastructure- Only few urban and even fewer rural privileged schools have the necessary infrastructure.
Flexible curriculum- The curricula need to be designed to be a little less rigid and a little more flexible and allow all students to be accommodated within. This also makes it predictable and hence less interesting for the students.
What changes could be made?
Introduction of creative and critical thinking- Make learning more active and dynamic. It would need a lot of foresight and a vision of how the learning of today would stand in the world after a few decades.
Propagate knowledge and self-employment- Rather than promoting a job mentality only and job being the ultimate goal, schools would need to promote knowledge for learning and implementing it for self-employment. This will lead to a future of creative and innovative entrepreneurs.
Foster a practical approach to learning- Experiential learning would be the only way to make the knowledge or theories worthwhile. Unless the students are encouraged by the schools to practically try out or improvise upon the ideas that their books share, the students will not be able to get a hands-on learning experience in the true sense. Theoretical knowledge will only win them marks and not the know-how.
Ensure satisfaction of the students and their families about the school and education- It is absolutely essential for every student to look forward to coming to school for the learning and for the experience of being with the teachers and the peers in a learning-friendly environment.
Faculty Salary- When someone is responsible for the future of the society, it is only logical and sensible that they get a salary commensurate to this responsibility.
Learning Model followed by Navonmesh Prasar Foundation
Innovative implementations by Navonmesh Prasar Foundation
Zor Ka Jhatka- An electric laboratory which allows students to handle age- friendly equipment to discover and experiment on their own.
Tod Fod Jod- The students are encouraged to experiment on their own and come up with their own prototypes
Kabaad se Jugaad- The waste material like plastic bottles, bags, etc are collected from the entire village and reused into objects like bricks, furniture, etc. This is entirely done by the students. It encourages cleanliness along with creativity.
Agri Lab- This encourages the students to appreciate the importance of farmers and agriculture.
Hydro Lab- This lab was designed and set up by the students on their own to further explore surface water and under water projects.
Robotics Lab- This lab allows the students to tackle small and big robotics projects completely on their own
Design Lab- This gives the children full access to technology and 3D printers so that they can design, print and further make their own prototypes.
Collaborations- With various organisations like IIT, Delhi to research and improve upon the infrastructure and model.
Digital Pedagogy- Tab based learning is fostered since the last 2 years. The students learn in their own native, Oriya. They have a short assessment every day. The central server helps the teachers assess the individual needs of the students for attention and help and can customize their approach accordingly.
Bringing about a change in the education system including redrafting its content, training and innovation in modes of delivery and fresh modes of assessment are necessary. These will help the children have experiential learning with a purpose. And further, they will become self-learners with hunger for knowledge and inclined to becoming creative and innovative entrepreneurs.
Session By @ Anil Pradhan - School for Rural Innovation (IPSFRI), Odisha
Written By @ Dr Madhavi Mangat - Secondary English Teacher, Gujarat Public School