Thursday, 7 January 2016

"Towards Indian Knowledge Society"

“Towards Indian Knowledge Society


        The traditional Indian knowledge system has been gradually replaced by the modern western system during the colonial phase to suit the needs of the then governance. While the national consciousness was evolving, the then national leaders had attempted to think about the feasibility of a hybrid system clubbing amenable features of both the systems. In the post independent era, several commissions have examined various alternatives to resolve the issue starting from Sri Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Commission. Very few later commissions like that of Kothari’s have tried their best to touch the crux of the Indian education problem. However, all of those efforts failed to deliver goods to the common man specifically in   providing:

A) Quality general education along with job training up to class 12, 
B) Securing excellence in higher education, covering entire population, and
C) Removing the alarming disparities between private and public schools in teaching standards, physical facilities and amenities.

        Our approaches so far have been selective and target oriented. Even after five decades of our native governance, the gaps among the different strata of the society are widening, defying our efforts to bridge them. Any democratic governance should generally aim at providing all people with quality education and health in a proper atmosphere and hygienic conditions without any discrimination. 


A). General Education: 
        Standard Mass Education Programme (SMEP): Replacing the present compulsory free primary education program and selective approaches for Model schools, there should be free Government Boarding Schools at the Taluks and sub-Taluks, as the case may be with all modern physical facilities providing general education with vocational training in any one or two trades of child’s choice through out his/her schooling. 

        The curriculum could be designed taking the best of both worlds - traditional and modern. Every child in the country will pass out of the school at the age of about 18 yrs as a well informed, responsible and vocationally trained citizen. The teachers of these schools should be recruited allowing about 20-30 foreign trained teachers, in whose association Indian teachers would also benefit. The teachers should be given continuous support in their professional development to consistently and equilably deliver high quality instructions to each child, regardless of their circumstances and abilities. 

        The Indian Government can tie up with the international Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to benefit from their research comparing education philosophy and achievements across varied institutional systems and cultures.
If the Centre provides infrastructure, the States could meet recurring expenditure. In about 20 years, India will emerge as a Knowledge Society. 

B) Higher Education: 
        National Institutes and Research Centers with a deemed University status should come up in each region for every basic discipline such as Sciences, Technologies, Humanities, Social Sciences etc. 

        These unitary institutes should be established along with all the sub-disciplines or specialisations of one major discipline for teaching and research. The senior faculty has to be invited to teach and guide in these specialised Institutes from Institutes of repute across the globe. These institutions would emerge as lead Centers of Excellence in a particular subject. 

        The students will have the freedom to choose their credit courses from any such institute before passing out of their parent institute at the end of three/ five years of graduate or post-graduate studies as they choose and join the relevant Institute for research in the chosen field. This specialist approach in the field of higher education will benefit the discipline concerned to a great extent, besides building a strong academic community.

C) Disparities between Government schools and Private schools:

        There is an unedifying divide between Government schools and private schools in areas such as education and sports facilities. This has to be narrowed down with concerted, collaborative and coordinated action between the two sectors. Government can ask private schools to help state schools by lending teaching staff and sharing their sports and other physical facilities for a few years while the government upgrades its facilities. The Government can provide high quality, online bite sized lessons, with associated activities, ideas and worksheets, for children aged 5 to 16 covering all of the curriculum on its website for the benefit of teachers, students and parents.