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Saturday, July 4, 2020
Cover Story Education Expert View

Where is the India that used to dole out ideas to the world?

Schools need to organize workshops, be open-minded, bring in NGOs to interact with the children and give them a better understanding of the outside world.

   “Today we are in a stage where India is just following and improving the ideas that the west comes up with. Where is that glorious past when India was doling out ideas to the world? We have ended up into a nation of BPO and outsourcing. This scenario will only change with the effort of the government by joining hands with the educational sector and changing the ancient study system to match the contemporary needs,” says Sree Devi Gundapaneni, Academic Director of Jubilee Hills Public School, Hyderabad

Q Do you feel that there is too  much pressure on children regarding career choices even from an early age?

Present scenario has both kinds of parents. Some do pressurise while some are not bothered at all as both are working and cannot afford to give time to their children. The ones who are bringing the pressure in, they should also know what the child is capab

le of. It is great if a child wants something and the parents are helping the child to achieve that. There are many cases where the children themselves are not very aware of what they are capable of. The parent, as well as the school, needs to open up avenues for the child regarding what are the options to choose from according to the child’s liking and ability.

There should be a balance, parents should talk to their children as they will not know unless exposed to present trends and scenarios, but they should not put their own likes and dislikes on the children’s shoulders. If the child has an aptitude for the concerned profession and career path, parents should encourage them and give them all the means and scopes to use those talents. Being firm sometimes is okay but you need to know how to put it across to them. You cannot be too rigid especially with children who are a bit sensitive and can take adverse steps like suicide.

Q What do you think about the news of France banning Smartphones and smart devices for children?

If gadgets are the means you want to study from, you might as well sit at home and study. You are coming to school to learn social skills, etiquette, networking, speaking to people, learning about people, their types- manipulative/ kind, body language, posture, etc.; unless you interact, experience, and go through all the pangs of sorrow, hurt, pains, happiness and life, you are not going to evolve. There is always a one-sided interaction with a gadget where one only learns what it says, shows or teaches you, but when you

Schools need to organize workshops, be open-minded, bring in NGOs to interact with the children and give them a better understanding of the outside world.

interact, experience the scenarios and tackle situations on your own, in a classroom or outside, you learn so much more for the long run. School is not only a place just for academics, but also for evolving as a human being.

Sree Devi Gundapaneni

We are envisaging a future which is filled with gadgets and technology, but I personally think that is not going to help. They will be just people minding their own business, doing things. Lack of empathy, interaction, hands-on learning, the immediate reflex to help someone who needs help or has fallen down, all will be erased slowly. The gadget has its place, make it a supplement to other aspects of your life rather than making it your life.

Q What will be your message to the Government and the Education sector? Please share some ideas to cope with the challenges faced in this profession.

Think of teachers as professionals. Teaching in India is mostly not by choice, it is only because we are forced into it. Either you are a mother and it is convenient to go with your children, or your husband has a transferable job and teaching can be given up easily.

B.Ed courses are redundant; things taught in the course are not applicable today. If you look at America, they have to study for four years to become a teacher. A sense of sincerity is built regarding the profession. People in India are taking up this profession as a backup plan through distance education. If you look at the seated results, it’s dismal. Very few qualify because you have not trained them for being teachers, yet you are testing them at very high levels. So there is a huge gap that needs to be filled, maybe through teacher training, teacher refresher courses, etc.

Teachers need to be re-certified at certain intervals. We are not re-inventing ourselves; we are continuing with what we had learned ages ago and implemented those in the modern scenario.

Teaching as a profession is not respected. Salaries are not so high for starters, whereas in Finland, teaching is among the highest paid professions. When you make people feel that it is an honour to take up teaching as a profession, people getting into this sector will be sincere about this noble profession, and you will have professionalism in the classroom also.

Lecture method is ancient and inculcating design thinking in children is an immediate necessity. Students need to be made proficient in the 21st Century skills through hands-on learning and experiential learning.

Schools need to organise workshops, be open-minded, bring in NGOs to interact with the children and give them a better understanding of the outside world.

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