G. Balasubramanian | Chairperson, Board of Advisors, ICSL | Editor-in-Chief, The Progressive School
When I raised this question to a small group of elite audience I had, I could see everyone looking at me pitifully. They were indeed surprised how I could have put this question knowing fully well the conditions that exist and haunt our school education system today. I also have interacted with people who have felt enthralled by their educational tourism to some countries and suggest how we should transform Indian education as it exists elsewhere knowing full well that they too have problems.
Well, I have always open to the idea of learning from all quarters as suggested in our scriptures “Let Noble thoughts come to us from every corner of the world.” However, I had never been a pessimist. I had been raising this question in many platforms for the last several years. I believe we can; and rather we should. We have the capability, may be our infrastructure is not as best as it could be. That is indeed a very poor reason for our refusing to think big. We can think differently.
When we have raised airports which are globally competitive in just a few years, when we have built medical and health care competitive to global standards, when we have built hospitality industry which claims international quality, when our communication and media industries have set global standards, when our automobile industries export their products to global portals, when our software industries compete with their global competitors successfully, can’t we have an educational system which is globally attractive?
It is not a far cry; there is enough substance and strength in the Indian education system- its philosophies are built on human needs addressing not to temporary consumerist values, but values that have proven credibility and acknowledged worldwide, its objectives have always touched the empowerment of human inner strength.
Yes, we derailed and articulated our content and methods to fit into the consumerist needs and engaged into the rat race of setting unrealistic competitions between the learners. But we can re-engineer and design the curriculum based the international values advocated since several centuries into the outfit of the modern thought architecture. We have a large number of positive thinkers in several walks of life whose wisdom can help in the design of this international architecture of a global curriculum. This can well be framed within the framework of the policies of the Government without any deviation. I wonder, why we shouldn’t address to this issue.
It is unfortunate that most top educational institutions in the country engaged in policy administration have been only managers of the policies and programs without providing leadership that would impact. It is time, a country like India, should stand up and provide leadership in education instead of fire-fighting with trivial issues. A few years back, when one of our national boards came with a pilot project, I really felt elated that we would set a new pathway. Unfortunately, like the proverbial statement that a bad workman fights with the tools, we could find reasons to give it up. One of the State Governments has recently come with this idea of International curriculum and I believe it should indeed survive the time and the onslaughts of routine thinkers whose ‘learned helplessness’ encourages them to build roadblocks to any new adventure.
If our educational architecture, can allow international curricula imported from other countries, there is no reason why we cannot have an international curriculum competitive to them or that would find markets at global platforms. Possibly, the Government should let private entrepreneurs to examine this idea – if we can have private universities in this country doing well, why not private interventions at school level? It may be a difficult proposition to accept initially, but I think with the dynamics of education opening up in all possible directions, and the very idea of ‘learning’ becoming increasingly informal and with greater demands for ‘personalized learning’ – such initiatives are worth examining. I have always been an optimist…