Cleaning up the School Ecosystem

One of the most important basic requirements in society is education. It is crucial to ensure smooth delivery of principles and theory to young impressionable minds. This plays an important role in shaping the minds of future citizens.

In this context, schools must ensure that everything from the curriculum to the teaching methods is pertinent, precise, and open to changes as and when applicable.

The system of education in India seems myopic and outdated. The custom of depending on outdated methods without considering the disastrous effects on the students must end at the earliest. 

The need of the hour is an autonomous structure based on empirical methods. The tendency to rely only on tutors to shape the child should be done away with.

The curriculum should be designed by experts from the fields of data analytics, psychology, and similar, relevant fields of education. Schools ought to reinvent themselves and be accountable for this from scratch.

What should schools do to change? 

For schools to take on the groundwork for experimentation and delve into more application-based teaching, the state and district authorities must facilitate a decentralized system for efficacious functioning of education.

There doesn’t seem to be any other option but to work towards an open mindset and innovation in the teaching methodology. 

For another, the authorities at school must undergo complete rejuvenation as exemplified by the Samagra Shiksha programme, sustaining an emergent structure. This is pivotal in ensuring that the scholastic and policy-making statistical details are liable to consistent quality improvement.

This is where the changes towards starting at the grassroots level come to play. Situations that call for intervention will be automatically detected and implemented as and when the need arises.  

How can the changes be implemented?

There should be coordinate competence in planning with the backing of integrated units in precincts. 

The expertise for this should be drawn from the fields of not just education, but those with proven tracks of designing a flawless syllabus, besides relevant fields such as psychology, psychometrics, data-analytics, economics, and sociology.  

Will schools be open to these suggestions?

Objections to implementing the suggestions could come in various forms, which have to be countered on a point by point basis. Some schools might resist by claiming to have experts in some of the fields.

These schools should be open to scrutiny and assessment by a knowledgeable committee, besides subjecting themselves to valuation by analysts at the state level. The administration should communicate its code of conduct with the press and common netizens.

They must equip the future R and D workers with the necessary implements for the untrammeled working of policy making. 

Next, we might have to consider interference from politicians and populist groups. This has to be handled with diplomacy and tact with a foolproof strategy that results in unblemished processes.

Providing effective means that work with minimum or no flaws can convince even the dogmatic mindset of fanatics. 

What more changes should be made? 

Another modification should be at the district level. The administration must be open to accepting district level competency. They should work with a reflective psyche and an assortment of proficiency in the germane departments.

Those working here should also be open to evaluation by competent authorities. The school authorities should work in collaboration with R and D through Samagra Shiksha and its bodies.

There needs to be a continuous evaluation for the functioning of the system, with an open mind to accept modifications to improve on the efficacy of the processes. 

What kind of action is needed regarding data?

Most problems with data-gathering have come from the one directional movement of data. The information assimilated should see a two-way flow. This should result in pioneering methods of forging ahead involving the various players from the grassroots level, all the way up to the top.

The assimilation of information should start at the community level and the people involved should be given the freedom to work and encouraged to come out in innovative ways of doing it. This will result in an efficacious and flawless data collection system with a purpose.

Instead of chastising workers for their shortfalls, the administration should motivate them and drive them towards solution based working processes. 

Has this been done before?

In a recent incident, information assimilated from a local school seemed lost in oblivion without any accountability of what the students and teachers were doing right or wrong. There seemed to be nothing in the form of suggestions from any quarters on the rectification needed.

In order to amend this, the workers correlated the operation of the school with the average of the schools in the rest of the hamlet with a view to augmenting classes that were explicitly underperforming.

The outcome was glaring. This helped in identifying capable tutors who could teach others to function more effectively. 

The exercise helped display the importance of autonomy in aiding the smooth working of the processes without having to ask permission at every step. The fallout is a more intense grasping of contingent aspects; recognizing the need for interventions; assessment of practical methods, and more.  

What is the way forward?

The school should be the hub of all activities. The Samagra Shiksha and its related setup, along with the R & D bodies, and other resources at the district and state level, must work to aid the school in germane areas. 

There has been widespread criticism of schools being too passive to work on changing the ecosystem. The onus for mending this falls on schools. Schools have to strive to take education ahead in a positive setup for their stakeholders – the students.

The school must importune a system that is sensitive to the environment necessary to create a quality driven, and harmonious background for learning.  

This calls for providing the school administration with absolute power to act in designing, executing, and evaluating the entire system with no political interference. In other words, schools have to be given autonomy in their work. 

The other players pivotal to the functioning of the education system must work to support the school harmoniously and ensure their work is compatible with the smooth working of the school.   

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