Priya Rajwade, Principal, Podar International School, Powai

Priya Rajwade is a passionate educator and holds a post-graduate degree in Science as well as Education and a PG diploma in Management as well as Guidance and Counselling. She has 25 years of experience in the field of education with experience  across various boards. She is a transformational leader and a coach in instructional leadership.

 

India is blessed with a robust education system since time immemorial and is home to some of the greatest minds in education. It is born out of a rich legacy and rooted in cultural and ethical values education.

A lot has been spoken about the education-skills gap and how education needs to be transformative and not just a tool designed to be a means to an end. While educationists and policy makers have been deliberating on how to bring about this radical change from job ready to future ready education the need for this change and the speed at which it needed to be delivered was suddenly radically accelerated with the disruption caused by the Pandemic. 

The pandemic-induced learning crisis and the Fourth Industrial Revolution have made it necessary to re-imagine education and re-align it with the unprecedented technological transformation. There is no other institution as powerful and impact driven as the school education system. It has the ability to manifest the desired change in educational policies, processes and people.

A few key change indicators in education could be the following-

Student centric deep learning and future skills

In the words of Marcus Sphect  “The students of the future will demand the learning support that is appropriate for their situation and context, nothing more, nothing less”. 

Student centric learning provides enough room to fail and learn from failures with a focus on reflective and critical thinking while deep learning is about advanced skills that prepare students to be curious, continuous, independent learners as well as thoughtful, productive, active citizens in a democratic society. It is rooted in social constructivism. The future of education is the former growing into the latter.

A significant shift is expected in the way curricula are designed and transacted. ‘Lived’ experiences through simulations using AI , case studies, discussions through youth forums , collaborative learning spaces transcending geographies and coaching’ rather than ‘mentoring/facilitating’ will become central to educational processes thus enabling  both deep learning and development of ‘people skills’. 

Creativity and Emotional intelligence will be the key skills for the future along with many others.

Data-driven decision making

The shift to data driven educational decisions is a hallmark change for measurement of progress. Essential and immediate changes in systems and processes are thus possible and we will continue to see benefits of internal monitoring systems as well as external/mandatory accreditation systems in all educational improvement.

Role of technology

Technology is a great enabler to education. Although it creates great opportunity, we will also have to ensure that it does not disrupt human relation. With the advent of the virtual would becoming an integral and essential part of education as well as day to day lives of students, it is imperative that we build robust learning platforms that incentivize learning and yet are built with safety nets that maintain student privacy. A growth in educational content to address this issue will be an essential element in educating the new age student. 

AR and VR models will take precedence over the current audio visual delivery models thus enhancing learning experience and bringing real world spaces to the classroom. 

Hybrid learning models

Learning and assessment , both will become more personalized and hybrid model of learning will be the preferred model. Schools will be able to do much more in a school year as the hybrid models will provide further opportunities for self paced and self directed learning as well to deep dive into areas of learning that the child finds interesting.

The New Education Policy 

With a focus on “higher order skills” such as creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, visualisation, idea generation and innovation the policy will have a significant impact on learning methods, learning environment and the learner. With the student at the heart of this policy multidisciplinary and socio constructivist approach to learning will become the driving factors in achieving learning goals. Technical competence will gain as much significance as academic prowess. Skill courses from Middle School will strikes a balance between traditional skills such as Handicrafts to modern skills such as design thinking, coding and Data Science. 

Change in mindset and skill-set of stakeholders

Schools will need to equip themselves to match this thought change in education. Up-skilling and re-skilling of the teachers it will be crucial. The new age education is about change in the role of both, the educator and the parent. With hybrid learning taking center-stage it will be the duty of the educator and the parent to provide necessary support to the student for self learning.

Parent education through parenting workshops that deal with not just what aspect of the change but also the why and how aspect of it will be significant.

Educational leadership will shift from ‘pedgogical’ to ‘transformational’. With focus on Humanization of education to build better societies the role of educational leaders will be to amalgamate the learnings from Neuroscience, Psychology and Sociology and to integrate and apply these with the current and future Technologies To remain relevant in the changing times “life-long learning” will be the key driving force for educational leaders as well as teachers.

What next?

India has approximately 36 Crore children in the age group of 0-15. These are the children in the school-going age. The demand for education is growing and both financial and human capital is expected to rise significantly in the coming years.

We need more schools, more teachers, industries to join hands with schools and colleges for collaboration, more philanthropy for the cause of education, more innovative solutions to the problem of the digital divide and more youth to join the education industry.

School education lays the groundwork for graduate and professional education and in turn the economic as well as social order of the country. The change is already in motion and it is not incremental, it is exponential. 

Education is a valued portal to the future of societies. We as educators stand at the brink of a significant era in the landscape of Indian education. This is history in the making. It is a great time to be an enabler, to be a part of this great revolution. It is time to ACT! In the words of Mahatma Gandhi “What you do says what is important to you. Action expresses priorities.”

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