Modernization of Education to transform from a “Consumer-Society” to one of “Service to Society” : A Proposal

  Dr.V.N.Vasudev

Date : 2.1.2010

Over centuries our nation placed a high value on education. The existing educational system in India is rooted in understanding the theoretical basis and has relied heavily on learning by rote. Immediately after the independence this system of education served well to make youth employable for a decent living. Urban India thrived because of additional opportunities provided by private schools and colleges. Rural India lagged behind for lack of quality education coupled with poverty.

Indian students living overseas have long served as ambassadors in western countries to showcase Indian intellect, capacity for hard work and capacity to shine in many sections of the society. The noble prize winner Dr.Venkataraman Ramakrishnan is one such example. However, the extant system of education either in India or overseas, is oriented towards making the society consumeristic. Our primary educational system has to change if we want our children to change their life styles, to develop a sense of responsibility to nurture the natural environment and to peacefully coexist with fellow country men. Our educational system should be oriented to prepare our childrento adapt a life style that drastically minimizes the deteriorating natural global climatic environment and natural resources. This means the schooling of young children must begin in a green environment that can only be experienced in village India. Our children should be taught to become more and more health conscious; our youth to shun alcohol; to develop civic sense; to stop polluting the environment; to learn by constant thinking, by logic and reasoning than by rote; to discriminate between right and wrong; to judiciously use our natural resources; to develop leadership qualities to lead a life useful to the Society and to become fully convinced of the immense benefits of growing trees, conserving water and making vegetarian food the essential part of their every day meal.

“A single pound of beef uses nearly 2600 gallons of water besides 9 pounds of food grain before it ends up in a meat store” (M.D.Nalapat, Political Commentator, in Times of India, 28.12.2009). This in itself should be enough reason to save our planet by diverting the potable water to grow more food grains.

What is Modern Education System? In India the science of proper learning existed long time ago called “mimamsa” or logic and ‘tarka” or reasoning where students were expected to develop answers in a systematic manner rather than provide answers relying on memorized statements or numbers. This system of learning has to be brought back into the modern Indian schools where every student is capable of learning through logical reasoning. Modern learning tools including computers, DVDs, books, TV needs to be used to ensure largest possible section of students, urban and rural, are provided this type of education at reasonable cost. Teachers with enthusiasm and capacity to learn new methods need to be employed in rural areas.

The modern education system should provide access to tools to think, develop knowledge, enable conversion of knowledge to wisdom, wisdom to differentiate right from wrong and use the wisdom that leads to economic development with little difference between urban and rural, social ethical behaviour and overall development of a country. Modern education system has to become a “Dharma” – a way of life for every child irrespective of its background.

While the Heads of Nations and States are interested in growth in GDP, our spiritual leaders are calling to shun consumerism. To make these two ends meet, in other words to strike a balance, more and more high quality schools should be opened in village green environments than in our already cluttered cities. Governments should give subsidy to investors who would come forward to open schools in villages to impart high standards of teaching to enable students to live and lead a simple life, yet in a world of healthy competition; to develop a spirit of scientific inquiry than in blind faith, so that the future citizens change from a “Consumer-society” to one of “Service to society”, sharing their wealth and wisdom with the less fortunate fellow citizens living in poor conditions to enable them to also grow.

SACRED Trust’s Mission statement:

To provide access to education to rural students in using modern educational delivery methods, nurturing learning ability of students in a creative and innovative environment resulting in practical and beneficial outcomes to the rural society; to develop a spirit of scientific inquiry than follow blind faith. Overall the Trust’s Mission is to strive to make the future citizens change from a “Consumer-society” to one of “Service to society”, sharing their wealth and wisdom with the less fortunate fellow citizens living in poor conditions to enable them to also grow.

Delivery of modern education system

Many a time mechanization is spoken as modernization. Although it is necessary to use tools to modernize any system it requires more than tools alone. Modernization is a change in thinking about the education delivery, learning and utilization. It requires shift in both thinking and the way the education system is delivered and way learning is done with a capacity to analyse, interpret and undertake decisions and justify those decisions. It is not literacy alone.

In a modern education system:

  1. Both teachers and students actively participate, learn from each other and provide benefit to the society.
  2. A teacher provides a problem to the student, expects the student to think, interpret and analyze the problem in a step by step logical manner and provide best answer possible with a justifiable explanation.
  3. It is not about a teacher telling the student what the answer should be without providing the reason or a valid explanation.
  4. It requires a mindset change by the students and educators.
  5. It provides a capacity to the student to analyze situations in a logical scientific manner and provide best solutions.
  6. Students develop a capacity to learn in an effective enthusiastic environment with thinking a main mode of learning not fear.

Benefits of a modern education system

Rural India needs access to a modern education system for it to develop the villages economy through implementation of best agricultural practices, best methods to manage the environment in a sustainable manner, best logistics and financial systems to manage the rural economy leading to justice and equality to all achieving every Indian’s dream of Rama Rajya. India can not develop further unless it develops its rural areas. The following benefits are expected through the development of a school which provides modern education.

Students

Provides students with a capacity to learn based on strong theoretical foundation.

  1. Provides students with a capacity to develop logic and reasoning.
  2. Provides students with high level of understanding of any problem and therefore provide best solutions.
  3. Provides students with a high level of creativity
  4. Provides students with high level of knowledge to teach others
  5. Provides students with a capacity to develop solutions to various problems in the society
  6. Provides students with an excitement for learning new things and a sense of achievement.
  7. Provides society with a better quality of students especially from rural areas who can bring better technology to rural society.

Teachers

  1. Provides teachers with a new enthusiasm for teaching as students will respond better.
  2. Provides rural society with better quality of teachers
  3. Provides high level of job satisfaction to teachers
  4. Provides leading example to rest of the community uplifting morale of the village or community.
  5. Provides teachers with better knowledge

Education Department

  1. Provides education department with better quality teachers
  2. Provides better educational results especially in the rural areas
  3. Provides education department with an opportunity to implement modern education system in even remote areas of Karnataka
  4. Ensures that education system in Karnataka meets the world standards
  5. Ensures that education system in Karnataka become a role model for rural education in India.
  6. Provides rural education an opportunity to shine in an global environments. Who know how many Bill Gates , Sir CV Ramans, Rabindra Nath Tagores, Prof. Venkataramans are there in rural India?
  7. A wealthy rural economy is better for the government as governments need not spend money on a failing economy but can support it to achieve better targets.

What should modern education school curriculum include?

A modern education system would be based on sound theoretical learning based on reading, writing and arithmetic. It will teach students science, mathematics, social sciences and languages including English for writing, communication and correspondence. It will build on current good aspects of the education system providing good theoretical knowledge and capacity to implement practically through everyday use of computers, TVs, DVDs and other modern knowledge tools in a cost effective manner.

Furthermore it will have a rural focus and teach students

  1. rural financial literacy
  2. environmental management
  3. social work
  4. Practical skills in rural areas to assist farmers to
    1. grow better crops and livestock
    2. manage irrigation with least amount of water
    3. manage drought
    4. manage soil health
  5. The students will be taught to manage
    1. rural environment in a sustainable manner
    2. prevent soil and water pollution
    3. manage health through prevention of communicable diseases, better hygiene and better nutrition.

Students will be encouraged to participate in the rural community education through practical workshops and news letter preparation, production and distribution to rural community both in Kannada and English. Students will be taught the use of computers to conduct these activities so that they are proficient and comfortable in the use of computers. This could lead to better access to rural families regarding information through the children which in turn could lift the adult literacy and knowledge base.

Acknowledgements

This document was prepared 5 years ago on 2.1.2010 with assistance from Dr. Shoba. Venkatanagappa residing in Australia. She is responsible for the many ideas expressed in this write up. Without her help the ideas that I was nurturing in my mind would not have taken a proper shape.