Saturday, December 20, 2008

Education as it can be

Dear friends,

My weekly sessions at CSIM have completed and I am now doing an individual project. This is like a dream project which I would love to implement some day.

My passion is in 2 areas - children and education. So, I plan to do a project that would bring more meaning to these. As most of you would know, I have been volunteering for ACT for the past few years. The idea of this project is based out of my experiences with children there. It has stemmed from the feeling of helplessness, frustration while teaching children and the constant urge to motivate children to learn the right way.

I have put down my thoughts of the project. In the coming weeks I will post my findings and ways to address the issue.

I would like you all to pass on your suggestions or any inputs you have.

Love,
Me

BACKGROUND

Life of an under-privileged child

Today, there are many NGOs who work for educating under-privileged children. One of the biggest challenges these NGOs face is to sustain and increase the interest of the child in education. Being supported by the NGO, the child joins a government school enthusiastic about going the school and being the first generation literate in his/her family. Slowly as years pass by, the child keeps learning new theories and concepts in school and finds no relevance to it in daily lives. At home, their parents are uneducated and hence are not able to help them in understanding the importance or the science behind the concepts. At schools (typically government schools), the standard of teaching is poor. When the child reaches class 8 or 9, his/her interest in education drops as they hardly understand what they learn. They prefer to mug-up the question answers and score marks for the sake of exams than understanding the logic or reasoning. As time passes, they complete class 10 and face the big question of which branch/stream to choose. Most of them end up choosing commerce not because the want to become a C.A, but because they have an aversion to mathematics, physics and chemistry. Their choices are more derived from their dislikes than likes. Much before they realize, they end up gazing at the limited choices they have for an under-graduate degree. The girl enrolls herself for an arts course and the boy for a B.Com. As they have not developed their application and problem solving skills so long, they struggle to get a good job for their education. And there finally comes the irony - they land up in a job which has no relevance to what they have learnt so far.

There are multiple cascading problems here,
1. As teaching at school is more exam oriented and not application oriented, the child looses interest
2. As they loose interest, they start disliking subjects which need more logic like Maths and Science. This gives them limited options in class X and XII
3. Without developing the required problem solving skills, they don’t end up in the right jobs

Today, there are many organizations that are working for identifying the most appropriate streams for the child based on his/her capability. There are also organizations working towards getting a job for them.

OBJECTIVE

Through this project I would like to work on the root-cause of the problem which is – Learning not being application and problem solving oriented.

TARGET AUDIENCE

Education is important to every child irrespective of their background. The problem of rote learning is applicable to children in general and only to under-privileged ones. Through this project I would like to come up with some ways of addressing this issue for all children.


Coming soon ...
Results of some study/surveys
Analysis of existing solutions if any
New solutions

3 comments:

orsenthil said...

Very Good!

I have some thoughts on this subject. In fact, a lot. :)

First, is the need of Education, which undeniable. Every child needs some form of an education. So, we see it being implemented by Government, NGOs and Private sector.

Secondly, while proper education can do wonders, a non-suitable one can hinder in the process of a child realizing his/her potential, which I think is one of the aims of education.

In one of the interview, Dr. Kalam shared his thought as how education should be. He said, "Education should bring smiles on the face of the child". He had observed that early childhood, a student learns joyously, whereas as the time progress he gets very anxious. Education should remove anxiousness and bring joy, was his thought. We cannot agree with him more.

On a related note, Aarthi, I can share about Leo, who was diagnosed as learning disabled and was enrolled to SSK. He could not do Maths, Science or English. But when he got hold of the Robotics kit, he did wonders.All his creations are excellent. He liked it and this has increased his self-confidence a lot. Similar is with Hema and Jhansi, who are very good at painting.

I think, that a stream-lined education and imposing does not give us the correct picture. Given a free reign, and a proper guidance, a child make attempts to discover his/her potential.

How are your thoughts on this shaping up? What do you plan to do?

Thank you,
Senthil

Chandu said...

Hey aarthi, this project sounds interesting. Let us know if you need any assisstance at Act to implement or experiment something

Aarthi said...

@Senthil, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have some plans, will share with you soon.

@Chandu - Sure. I need a lot of help in trying it out in ACT and also brainstorming the various possibilities.