Children are natural scientist. They are intuitively creative and self driven They have got the talent of asking questions, are a keen observer, have the capability of conducting experiments, drawing conclusions and enthusiastically share their findings. They think differently and laterally. They look forward to discover the world around them. But somehow they rarely get opportunity to explore and demonstrate.
The most crucial years of child schooling years are the primary and secondary school. It is here that their interest is created. It is here that their likes or dislikes for subject evolve. It is here that a majority of students, especially girls, finds science a boring and difficult subject to pursue. Our education system is only aggravating this notion. The experimentation that is going on with the aim to revolutionize the education system has merely made the children a guinea-pig in the hands of policy makers. To top it all peer pressure, parents’ desperation for good grades, schools vertical approach of imparting education – all create a situation where a kid has been overdosed with the burden of the school-bag and promotes rote learning.
Smart board, e-education and computers are fast replacing the traditional method of teaching and learning. Schools are equally prompt in adapting these, getting an opportunity to hike the fees enormously in the name of smart education. Parents too are running in the rat-race and don’t have much choice. Sending their children to the smartest school has become the need of time. If they can, every parent wants to give the best for their child. Besides, there are not many options left for the ones who just want the quality education for their children. None of the government schools are capable to enough to match the facilities offered in even the most ordinary private schools. How will it compete with these smart schools?
But has any one bothered to pause and review the effect of it on our education system? Are the AV boards smart enough to replace black-boards and the teachers who interacted face-to-face with children? Can the experiments and colorful pictures shown on the monitor replace the excitement of doing the science experiments in the lab? Those hands-on experiments, struggling to find the focal point of lens, making the slides of cells, and burning the lab coats by accidentally spilling the acids in the chemistry lab, learning was such fun.
Invading technologies in the schools are fast engulfing the human interaction. That personal touch of dedicated teacher is lacking, that immense respect for teacher and dependence on them to gain knowledge is shifting its loyalty to technology. That answers to innumerable queries are robotically ‘goggled’ now instead of an effort to find it in books or from elders. But is anybody concerned? Hasn’t the school become a vending machine that vends out students rather than the apostle of learning that it should be?
Job opportunities in India have suddenly picked up because of the demand from IT sectors. Our educational system is currently not equipped enough to respond to that demand properly. Therefore it is under upheaval. Demand-supply of the qualified graduates, peer pressure, parents desperation, schools vertical approach of imparting education- all are equally responsible and taking its toll.
These young, energetic minds need some direction to utilize their instinct in various innovative ways. They need a podium where they can create, tinker, seek problems and find solution. The creative and novel ideas, lying deep within the young minds is bubbling and is in search for a vent to come out. It needs to be tapped and shown the light of the day.
The purpose of education should be to encourage children’s inquisitive and energetic mind and refine their innate love of exploring the world around them. Its aim should be to help that enthusiastic behavior grow slowly but surely into true scientific and ingenious literacy.