India@75 looking at 100: A young achiever’s dream for Indian education
India/October 19, 2022/by Yuvakshi Vig/Source: https://indianexpress.com/
I’m deeply optimistic about the future of India, especially the future of education. We have already taken the first step with the NEP
Around the time India completed its 75th year as a free nation, I passed the Class XII Board exams. And 25 years from now, when independent India is 100, I see myself as a working person, and an asset to the nation. I wish to study psychology, eventually teaching the subject at the university level. My interest in the subject was first sparked by conversations with my father, an ex-naval officer. He believes that psychology is the subject of the future and that it is going to be a part of every sphere of life, including emerging fields like artificial intelligence (AI).
My interest in psychology became deeper because I had the good fortune to go to a school where it was taught well. I also found myself drawn to psychology because I saw how badly the Covid-19 pandemic impacted everyone’s mental health, especially students. And one of the things I want to do as a professional is help spread awareness that mental health is as important as physical health.
Such a future is possible for me because I have had access to quality education. I believe that first and foremost, education, especially at the higher levels, needs to be easily accessible. And there need to be more institutions devoted to research. For example, my sister wishes to pursue the study of AI. She should be able to do so, at the highest level, in India. There is also a need to ease the competition for higher education. The solution would be ensuring that there are enough options, so that everyone has access.
Education also needs to be made more experiential and skill-based, as envisioned in the New Education Policy, 2020. Right now, in many schools, there is very little experiential learning, although we are slowly incorporating these ideas. There is gradually more weightage given to practicals. In my case, studying under the CBSE, experiential learning was a part of our Class XI and XII curriculum. For instance, in subjects like history, we were encouraged to make projects on certain chapters from our course related to historical sites. It is my misfortune that I could not visit such sites related to my project on the Vijayanagar Empire, due to the pandemic. Such interactive and exploratory modes of learning should form part of our curriculum in the earlier stages as well, especially for theoretical subjects like history and political science.
We also need a lot more teachers. People need to understand that a career as a teacher is not only possible, but vital for the education system.
One important change could be formalising a system that will help make students more responsible for their lessons, so that teachers don’t have to spoon-feed them. The pandemic ensured that there would be no in-person classes for two years, but as a result of this, much of the onus for learning was on each individual student. In an online classroom, even when teachers ask students to share assignments or give tests, they can’t guide them as they did in a physical classroom. So students have to become self-reliant which also ensures that they actually learn their lessons well. I can say with certainty that being responsible for my lessons helped me retain them a lot better. This reinforces the importance of self-study, without too much hand holding, which is especially helpful as one goes to college.
Over the next 25 years, I also hope to see more opportunities being provided to women. This notion that not everyone is equal needs to go. Everyone must be treated equally, whether at home or at work, irrespective of gender. I have been privileged enough to see my mother working as a doctor, sharing domestic responsibilities with my father who is also a full-time working professional. They both see the home front as their responsibility, along with their own careers. This kind of sharing of responsibilities is what I wish to see as the basis of Indian society in the future.
I’m deeply optimistic about the future of India, especially the future of education. We have already taken the first step with the NEP. It is just a matter of time before the transformation happens and we will be reaping the rewards.
The writer was a CBSE Class XII topper in 2022. This article is part of an ongoing series, which began on August 15, by women who have made a mark, across sectors
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