Project Defy

Why does the current education system need an overhaul?

If a child is unable to sleep,then their parents often use the threat “sleep at once or masterji (teacher) will come”. This shows how ingrained education, schooling, teaching, etc are in the minds of the parents. From the day a child is born, the parents start thinking about their future and where and what they will study. Going to a traditional school is ofcourse the first thought.It is indeed ironic because children have to be literally dragged out of their beds to school. In fact many parents take loans, some face financial distress in funding school/college education of their children. They think that the child will learn something worthwhile and lead a happy-successful life, but after 14-15 years of education they find the child has not developed any real-world life skills. I spent 14-15 years in utter boredom by attending various classes of uninteresting subjects through school and colleges. The period of my life where the neurons of mind had to be developed, I had to develop the muscles of my hand by taking notes in those boring classes. A couple of days ago I was talking to a 7th standard student and in his words “We are totally fed up with our teachers in the school. They never let us have any fun and make us write notes all day long. We go to school to just write and write and write. On top of that, if we don’t write the same thing in the exam, word by word, we will fail the exam.”

The existing education system has propagated the values of memory and recalling systems of the human brain the most.  The other requirements like thinking and social abilities, creativity, curiosity etc are almost non-existent. The very things which will help the children
to survive and thrive in the world are not developed. The classroom model of education was developed in the 19th century when the industrial revolution started. The factories needed workers and clerks who would just follow orders and do their repetitive tasks without any
questions. The 21st century is no longer the same. World has changed a lot in these 200 years. But our education system remains the same.
We now live in an interconnected world. Information is available to everyone at a click of a button. Hence, we require a new education system in this changed world. Following are the requirements of the new system which should be fulfilled.

  •  Exclusive focus to be given to individuals.
  • The learners should have the choice to decide what, how and how much they want to learn.
  • Empathy with fellow human beings, living beings and the environment should be at core of it.
  • The learning process should be engaging, experiential and fun filled.
  • There should be hands-on activities for almost all the things to be learnt.
  • The learning and its usefulness in the real world should be made clear to the learners.

There can be various ways of fulfilling the above requirements for a new education system. One can go to an alternative education model. Others could get home schooled. Some may want to restructure the existing schools. We just need to make sure the learners learn to think, learn by themselves, ask questions and find answers and connect with the community. The problem posed by the current education system is widespread across the world. Innumerable number of people have identified these problems and attempted to solve them. Some noteworthy solutions one can find are Shikshantar, Auroville, Shantiniketan, Project DEFY, Summerhill School and so on. These organisations are working to provide a proper

learning environment to the people from marginalised communities. Even though we set a new system we must be careful enough to not make it rigid. There should be enough flexibility to accommodate the changes which come from time to time. Bringing an overhaul in the education system has to start with overhauling of our minds. We have to unlearn first and then move on to learn again.

About The author

Nishant Kumar is a computer engineer by degree and a maker enthusiast and community builder by heart. He can be seen learning and helping others learn new things anytime. He has been facilitating learning sessions for tech and design topics. If not working, he can be seen enjoying music or roaming in nature.

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