Make students not just work-ready, but also good human beings

Updated: May 15, 2019 2:05:46 PM

It is to present a case that quality education is the one that aims at holistic development of a child, by providing them real-life opportunities where they learn and create simultaneously by taking action—in this case teaching adults.

Kids certainly have untapped potential. (Representational image)Kids certainly have untapped potential. (Representational image)

By Mamta Saikia

Kids certainly have untapped potential. I recently visited schools in a few Haryana villages to meet village elders who had been made literate by school students. We met adult learners, along with their children and grandchildren, who were their tutors.

The visit made me realise the limitless possibilities of role reversal that, at times, even well-drafted reports cannot convey. Children can be quite effective at a task when provided with the right tools, and if they are made to believe they have the power to make a difference. In this case, empowered with mini-workbooks and basic training, students of class IV and above undertook the task of teaching adult family members at home during summer holidays. This approach, it turns out, is not only cost-effective, but also self-sustaining, because after the little booklet is over, kids continue to teach their parents at home, sometimes through the year. So, as a child gets promoted from one class to another, family members also graduate with them.

The purpose of narrating this experience is not to talk about yet another model of adult education. It is to present a case that quality education is the one that aims at holistic development of a child, by providing them real-life opportunities where they learn and create simultaneously by taking action—in this case teaching adults. Such an opportunity can make kids more responsible, patient and disciplined.

Therefore, the approach to education in schools must revolve around building life skills, value system and character through simple initiatives like these.

Numerous reports (including from WEF) have pointed out that the new world is innovation-driven, and the competencies that will be in demand include collaboration, creativity and problem-solving, as well as character qualities such as leadership, empathy, persistence, curiosity, initiative, and social and cultural awareness. It’s time we focus on practices that lead us towards a holistic education ecosystem, to make students not just work-ready, but also good human beings.

The author is CEO, Bharti Foundation. Views are personal

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