Kunal Vasudeva, co-founder, COO of Indian School of Hospitality shares his views on scopes and challenges of the Indian education system with FE Education Online.
What is the best thing about today’s education system?
One of the most prominent features of the modern Indian system is National Education Policy’s central focus on increasing our gross enrolment ratio from 27.1% to 50% by 2035. As education’s directly linked to socioeconomic mobility, I believe, that this will do much more than improve literacy and allow us to tap into our demographic dividend. Another quality that I admire is the right to free and compulsory education for children between 6 to 14. Every child earns an opportunity to learn as private schools reserve 25 per cent of their seats for students from weaker sections. Recent amendments to the law even allow a child with special needs to gain free access to education. Some other positive elements of the modern system include an increasing emphasis on practical learning, teaching in local languages and affordable fee structures. At the same time, policies like the NEP encourages the need to support teacher training, reform the assessment system, and expand access to early childhood care.
All these aspects aim to promote reason and rationality and nurture a scientific temper. These beliefs remain at the heart of the Indian education system and continue to form the basis of all learning. Yet they were never limited to an individual’s academic growth but play a role in their economic aspirations and social contribution. They encourage people to strive for more and use education as a springboard to success.
What is the one thing you would like to change in the system?
I feel that broad exams should be completely eliminated. Instead, we should evaluate a child’s progress through continuous assessments and tests. We must also have one entrance exam for all programs in all universities like Common University Entrance Test or CUET. This shall offer holistic forms of education and create a level playing field for children from various states and backgrounds.
At the same time, I believe we must focus on foundational literacy and ensure every child receives an education. All private schools must also adopt two or three schools in rural areas and educate those less fortunate. Hybrid learning should be used to teach students and train teachers to advance their skill sets at the grassroots level.
What is the role digital has played in the evolution of the education system?
Technology has profoundly changed education. It’s the greatest equaliser and has increased access to education through information and even offered formal learning opportunities for all sections of society. The endless possibilities to communicate and collaborate online allow students to get together on group activities. Digital technology is an enabler that removes the barriers in the classroom and facilitates new ways of learning for children from the most remote areas of India. At the same time, it allows institutes to redesign their teaching methods, incorporate hybrid learning and encourage more interaction, productivity and efficiency.
What has been the disadvantage of digital in education?
While I feel there’s no disadvantage to digital education, it has created a digital divide between various sections of society. Poor connectivity and a lack of 4G services in different states hamper education for many children. And while I believe virtual technology has more benefits than drawbacks, it can never replace practical learning. The insight gained through hands-on experiences will always exceed those from online classes. In physical classrooms, teachers can give students immediate face-to-face feedback and make education rewarding and significant. That’s why a blended form of learning should be adopted as it will bridge the gaps in society and allow all children to access quality education.
What career advice would you like to give students?
A piece of advice I always give students is to always strive to have the right attitude and to acquire new skills, and knowledge. Only once they adopt a mindset to continuously learn, grow and enhance their skill set, will they be able to succeed in an ever-evolving world.