Let students & teachers have right to quality, diversity & choice of learning resources

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The Indian learner deserves the very best - global education and best practices, experiential learning, digital education, continuous evaluation and remediation – Why should an education system promulgate anything that does not align to these themes?

#letthelearnerdecide  #lettheteacherdecide  #lettheschooldecide

  • What are some of the biggest issues with the Indian Education system beyond the primary level?
  • Why have several other nations progressed faster than us and today rank better on educational outcomes?
  • Is there a linkage between unemployment, underemployment and our Education system?
  • What is the need of the hour for our learners and educators? Have we asked them? 

The above questions throw light on the present state of the Indian Education System. Despite aspiring to be a progressive economy and a global superpower, our education system has not been able to keep up pace with the global trends. The government’s narrative of 5 trillion economy or India becoming a knowledge superpower needs to be backed by affirmative action and unconstrained access to best learning resources.  

Consider these statistics for a moment:

  • In the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA, India ranked 73rd out of the 74 countries that participated, while other Asian countries such as China, Singapore, Hong Kong etc. have established themselves as top performers.
  • India ranks 115 out of the 152 countries in World Bank’s Human Capital Index, while smaller countries such as Sri Lanka and Bhutan fare much better. As an example, even the UAE has shown a significant improvement in the education sector, by paving the way for diverse learning pathways, focusing on 21st-century skills, and putting an increased focus on technology and digital learning methods. 

Quite evidently, the Indian Education system needs a big transformation. It needs strong focus on digital innovation, new age thinking skills, an outcome-oriented approach and an inculcation of future and job oriented skills in present day learners. This will help to equip students with relevant skills and knowledge so that they are globally competitive, job ready and are net contributors to the national GDP.

More recently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development released a 438 page draft for its New Education Policy 2019. One of the recommendations is the usage of NCERT text books across all the stages of School Education, even as the role of Private Publishers and Education companies stands ignored. By suggesting NCERT books as the ‘only’ choice left for students and teachers, their requirements have been completely ignored. Most importantly, the freedom to choose learning resources based on ones learning needs has been taken.

Private Publishers and Education companies significantly contribute to the Indian Education system

  • They add value to learning material by providing high quality print resources, practice books, teacher support material, supplementary readings, digital support, etc.  All of this is essential for a 21st century learner.  
  • Private Publishers have presence across several countries. Their vast collective experience enable them to meet international standards and expose learners to the world of online education by providing them with digital learning solutions.
  • In addition to providing materials for students, they produce learning resources for teachers, to enable them to positively impact learning outcomes.

The approach to education must not be unilateral and diversity in learning pedagogies and materials has to be encouraged. There is evidence from around the world that shows clear correlation between open education system that allows private participation and learner base that is globally competitive. At the end of the day, it is important to realize that students are the building blocks of a nation's future and therefore,the quality of educational content must not be compromised.

It is suggested that an independent panel of experts be brought together to set up an Accreditation board to monitor, evaluate and make recommendations on educational content quality, also including NCERT texts in the process. 

By signing and sharing this petition, we can ensure that students and teachers will have access to diverse and quality learning resources of their choice and international standards.