Shifting focus from schooling to learning
India has a good education system, and the country meets its schooling targets in terms of creating infrastructure like constructing buildings, hiring teachers and enrolments. With a reasonably good system in place, experts feel that it is now time to bring about a shift in focus from the system to the learning. How can this shift be achieved? Educationalists feel that the first reform that needs to be brought about is to align the curriculum and text books in the primary school years with the ability of the students and the teaching capabilities available. The proficiency that students actually possess must match the level of proficiency that the text books assume. If the two don’t match, then there is the risk of turning the whole exercise of teaching into one of merely covering the syllabus. The students will learn very little in such a scenario. And once the student falls behind, she will not be able to make up the gap as she moves from one class to the next higher class.
The other shift needs to come into the teaching methods. The teaching should be appropriate to the learning levels of the students, with an in-built mechanism that will help students who fall behind, for whatever reason, to catch up. There must also be a mechanism where a student must be able learn through experience rather than learning by rote. He must be able to set his own pace of learning so that he is sure that he has grasped a concept well before moving on to the next, maybe more complicated concept.
Incidentally, the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India is seized of the issue. It has, therefore, issued guidelines asking the state governments to reformulate their curricula to make it appropriate for the ages that they are meant for. This, we feel, is a step in the right direction.
While the government will do its bit, schools must also bring about innovations to educate student rather than merely teaching them.
Tools of eLearning will and are helping achieve this shift in focus. Schools are discovering the advantages and benefits of eLearning. It helps teachers teach better and students learn better. Schools that have adopted eLearning have seen a drastic improvement in the grasping and learning ability of their schools. Even at the individual level, students who use eLearning systems have shown improvement in their performance. These improvements have also translated into better grades, giving schools and students who have adopted eLearning an edge.