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The Evolution of Education and Innovation in India

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Photo Source: Entrepreneur.com

By- Vinay Aranha

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/319725

Education and the right to education is one of the main fundamental rights of our country’s citizens. It is compulsory for children aged between 6-14 to have an education. Over the many years, especially after independence, India has managed to increase its literacy rates to nearly 75%. It also has more primary education than ever before.

There is a lot spoken and written about the education system and the lack of accessibility. We fail to acknowledge that we have come a long way in making our country progressive through education. We are the only country that is in high demand for our skills in the English language. Our citizens are speaking more than one language and are proficient in English which is a universally accepted corporate and business language. Our education system has made English language as our first language of education. This means that we are as fluent as any native. The knowledge of the English language alone is an advantage over other nationalities when seeking higher education or jobs.

Our education system encourages technology as well. We not only ensure that the children understand and know technology but also encourages the use of it. Most schools today have computers 1:1 and use technology in their teaching as well. Projections, online classes, online access for homework and similar use of trendy technology is making students and to an extend their parents technologically sound. This helps children and parents to stay up to date as well as embrace the fast changing times. It wont be long when all schools are digital.

Though digital India has been one of the biggest political agendas for a while now, education has been balanced with digitisation, physical activities and quality content. Many State boards as well as the Central board have ensured that the textbooks and lessons that children learn within the classroom are up to date as well. They have made sure to include inspiring stories as well as stories that are making the next generation broad minded and not confined to religion or to dated thoughts. It is making kids respect one another better and accept each others shortcomings. It is an effort to keep education more human than simply digitised.

In recent times, we have seen that children have been put under a lot of pressure and therefore the education system underwent a serious change. Parents also demonstrated their frustration when they saw their children were under stress and took drastic steps to release that stress. In Maharashtra we now allow all children to attend class and be pushed into the next grade until 9th. This is good as well as unhelpful for the children. The education itself is taken for granted by the parents and in turn the kids. They learn but they don’t take it seriously. Competition is a way to make children enjoy the process of education as well as helps in keeping their memory sharp. It encourages participation, learning, and exploration of the mind. The teachers passion, in our observation, has also taken a back seat which is not benefitting the children.

On the other hand, there are any passionate teachers who campaign in their own small way to ensure that the children have a holistic development. They encourage children to read books, take physical training classes and voice their opinions unabashedly. Efforts at an individual level is truly something that has benefitted education and the children.

We needed to appreciate the positive changes that have taken place in the process of bringing better education to the speedy generations. They are knowledgeable of so any things before they Coe into class. It is now becoming a need to channelise this knowledge that todays kids have, thanks to advancement of technology. It is y appeal to all education institutes, teachers and parents to encourage their children to take education seriously without applying pressure on their progress. Progress is not not what we see on the report cards, it is in their social and intellectual skills and its applications at their individual level. Appreciation of the children in everything they do and channelising their mistakes to learning fro the is what will make India a highly skilled and civilised country.

posted Sep 24 by Gowri Vimalan

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Photo Source: The Financial Express

By- Mahesh Tejwani

http://www.financialexpress.com/education-2/how-artificial-intelligence-and-internet-of-things-will-impact-education-in-future/1094733/

The recent revolution in digital technology has touched every sphere and facet of lives, and education sector has not been spared. Unlike any other sector, the link between digital technology and education is unique and complimentary. On one hand, digital technology has become the enabler by redefining the very basics of the sector and altering the rules of the game. On the other hand, today’s young minds will decide the future direction of digital technology as they are going to be the innovators of tomorrow. So, equipping our students is key to success in the field. Currently, more than 40 crore Indians use the internet and this number will get doubled in the next four years. The government has embarked on a mission to connect 2.5 lakh villages through the fibre superhighway. The government is aiming to train crores of Indians in different skills by 2022. It means that digital technology is all set embrace every moment of our lives. We are already a digital society and are moving towards the knowledge society. Hence, the task is cut out for students, teachers and managements. It’s time for learning, relearning and unlearning. Over the years, technology has outdated our conventional theories and practices in education. Blackboards, chalks, textbooks and ink pens are fast turning into the things of the past. Traditional classrooms are giving way to smart classrooms. Students are smart enough to swim with the current trends and they are constantly on the learning curve. This learning will surely continue.

But, for teachers, it’s time for relearning, whether it is pedagogical tools, content or dissemination. They need to update themselves to catch up with students. For the management or school authorities, the task is first unlearning, before learning. The old management theories and best practices are getting outdated with every passing day, because even the traditional infrastructure is slowly becoming obsolete in this virtual world. Going forward, many foreseen and unforeseen technology innovations will disrupt the education sector. One of the most powerful disruptions will be the rising inclination towards m-learning from e-learning practices. Mobile technology is making education affordable, convenient and more effective. Mobile apps are turning learning a pleasure ride, like negotiating through the twists and turns of an online game. We already see the market being flooded with multiple apps for different categories of studies. Technology is a great leveller, and more so in education. Another big trend to watch out is how fast this will redefine the educational landscape. Digital technology is making place, people and time irrelevant for learning. As we are moving into a global classroom, rural and urban divide will fade away. With schools interconnected digitally, expertise will matter first. Through telemedicine facilities, tertiary care is now being made available at primary healthcare centres. Similarly, expertise by specialists in big towns now quickly reach grass-roots levels. Talent, whether in small towns or metros, is able to get support at an equal scale. Even the time constraints in learning will be removed soon and synchronisation—boundless and timeless education—will happen. Another aspect is that parents will also be enrolled into this digital highway and their contribution will be integral for the success of the pupils.

But the two biggest trends to impact education in the near future will be artificial intelligence and Internet of Things—they are already charting the very course of information technology. Virtual reality and augmented reality videos and simulations will make education content more interactive and interesting. Cloud technology is going to make life easier both for students and teachers as documents and files will be stored and accessed easily. This will help managements in a big way, cutting down on infrastructure costs. Similarly, Big Data will make assignments, evaluations, tests and projects more results-driven. In the same way analytics is helping fintech companies, student performance can be improved through Big Data. Teachers can make use of the data efficiently to monitor and guide students. Augmented reality and virtual reality can make learning exciting, with rich experiences and opening up endless possibilities. Highly engaging classrooms will lead to better results. These can transform the traditional methods of learning, breaking down the walls of classrooms and making students to think out-of-the box and pilot new innovations.

 

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Photo Source: The Wire

By- Pramod K. Nayar

https://thewire.in/education/the-spectre-of-rankings-haunts-the-higher-education-sector-in-india

There is a variety of ranking organisations – QS, THE, NIRF, NAAC, IoE, ARWU, etc. – in almost every conceivable acronym, compiling gigabytes of data to determine where universities stand, sit or crawl, and it is mind-boggling. The ranking parameters and criteria, including undergraduate teaching (especially in the Times Higher Education list), research (volume, citation index, income), teaching, employability, industry income (knowledge transfer) and internationalisation have been endlessly debated. So what roles do the modalities of evaluation and classification play in shaping the way we have started to think about these institutions?

This is not a plea for a variant of jingoistic nationalism in thinking about higher educator, rather an evaluation of what we do, are required to do, as we rush into the headlong halls of globalised ranking. Another question this shift into the rankings mode begs is: how best can we recalibrate ourselves to alleviate the tensions between a quantitative ranking system and the social needs higher education has been designed for until now? Can the former enable the latter?

Utility and the higher-education hierarchy

Ranking introduces a set of notions about the utility of a higher education institution. One can think of this as introducing a tension between the ideal of educational values, as we have understood if not articulated for years, and the market value. The former focuses on critical thinking, analytical abilities, social agendas and the inculcation of citizenship ideals that are unquantifiable and intangible because they manifest in our primary beneficiaries (or victims, depending on how we see higher education) in the long-term. The market value scheme, which is industry-driven, orients the project of neoliberal higher education training towards developing particular skill-sets for the labour market.

Also read: The New Colleges Ranking Framework is a Good Idea – But Will it Help?

This is not to say that there are segments of a population that only want to contemplate the absolute, live on love and fresh air and not want jobs. But the expected skill-sets from a quality higher education programme, as it stands today, does not seek a unidimensional product. This is changing with the neoliberal turn in higher education. The noted scholar Henry Giroux has this to say about the ‘attack’ on public institutions:

What we are witnessing is an attack on universities not because they are failing, but because they are public. This is not just an attack on political liberty but also an attack on dissent, critical education, and any public institution that might exercise a democratising influence on the nation. In this case the autonomy of institutions such as higher education, particularly public institutions are threatened as much by state politics as by corporate interests. How else to explain in neoliberal societies such as the U.S., U.K. and India the massive defunding of public institutions of higher education, the raising of tuition for students, and the closing of areas of study that do not translate immediately into profits for the corporate sector.

Ranking systems ensure that, globally, all universities seek to fit into a single model of the university because all higher education institutions seek to gain in more or less the same set of parameters, irrespective of where they are located and the local cultures/societies they were set up to serve. This eventually leads to an alienation of the university from the immediate requirements of the locality, region and nation, as it strives to compete with very differently located (in terms of geography, demography, educational ecosystems) universities worldwide. If, for instance, a university was set up to provide greater access to higher education for a particular region and begins to shift its emphasis towards internationalisation and research (two key parameters in rankings), then does it serve its immediate populace better through quality classroom teaching? Would it then result in an alienation of our higher education institutions from our ecosystems because we are trying to fit into a global one?

Research and teaching, or research versus teaching

Greater emphasis is laid on publications and a concomitant emphasis, therefore, on research – but far less on teaching. Thus, one of the most widely used ranking systems, the QS World University Rankings, has only one indicator connected to teaching: the faculty-student ratio. To this it assigns 20% weightage. According to QS:

… teaching quality is typically cited by students as the metric of highest importance to them when comparing institutions using a ranking. It is notoriously difficult to measure, but we have determined that measuring teacher/student ratios is the most effective proxy metric for teaching quality.

A study published in March 2018 found the following:

A total of 24 ranking systems were identified and 13 eligible ranking systems were evaluated. Six of the 13 rankings are 100% focused on research performance. For those reporting weighting, 76% of the total ranks are attributed to research indicators, with 24% attributed to academic or teaching quality. Seven systems rely on reputation surveys and/or faculty and alumni awards.

Such weightage provided for research in most ranking mechanisms has resulted in the making of what Pushkar brilliantly described in an article for The Wire as ‘pretend research’. This results in, and in turn is driven by, the massification of publication. As an ironic consequence, India is finally an academic capital… for predatory journals. Seeking to boost rankings, universities emphasise – and perhaps fund (we need exact data on how funding for research has changed since the quite literal ‘ranking business’ began) – research rather than teaching. Weird results have also been reported – such as attempts to inflate citation (20% weightage in QS) through the unethical practice of excess self-citations – in the academic debate on rankings.

Eventually, unless teaching becomes central to evaluative and ranking processes, the basic work of most universities in India – teaching – will collapse if it hasn’t already. Teachers preparing for classes from Wikipedia (the chosen source for several colleagues in English is Spark Notes) is now a common feature, since student feedback on teaching quality is not factored into rankings or even for teacher-evaluation. When ‘publish or perish’ becomes the motto, we could perhaps ask if we publish perishable materials. (My senior colleague therefore asks that we distinguish between a ‘print-out’ and a ‘chapter’ in what faculty members write.)

Competition, standards and standardisation

An enhanced spirit of competition enters the system. Ranking introduces an element of competition between institutions, and parameters such as internationalisation imply that universities will have to compete for these resources. For example, as internationalisation is a key parameter attracting foreign students, it entails the development of programmes that will attract these students, ironically in a context where most higher education institutions have refused to upgrade their syllabi or pedagogies for Indian students. My own institution has sought, at least in principle, to strike a balance between the race for global ranking and our immediate mandate – good quality higher education for India – by thinking in terms of ‘national needs and global standards’. Nothing stops an institution from boosting its quality of teaching and research such that it impacts positively on our students’ futures.

Standards need not come from, or result in, standardisation. To adopt world-class standards within any domain of knowledge does not necessarily entail fitting into a global ranking mechanism. Updating and upgrading teaching materials, pedagogy and testing mechanisms, even research within the funding possibilities offered, can still be world class. Humanities and social sciences, deeply defensive in all evaluative mechanisms, are surely not quantifiable by the same indices (impact factor, H-index, etc.) but that does not ever mean that we cannot publish in the world’s top-ranked journals.

Also read: So You Think You Can Make Sense of University Rankings?

Even Indian faculty members, admittedly few in number, have done so in the past and continue to do so. These are aspirants to global standards but either do not homogenise or standardise their work. Seeking exclusion from rankings and global standards is to simply seek a state of (postcolonial) exception – although no one would refuse global funding for conference travel, fellowships or collaboration opportunities. For the latter, one doesn’t hear excuses that ‘we are different and need to be evaluated differently’, do we?  What we have to do is to ask if standards equal standardisation, given the mandate of different universities across the country, but at no point is it wise to abandon any and all discussion of standards.

With ranking tied to ‘graded autonomy’ that the Indian state is now proposing for select institutions, new parameters come into play. The relative freedom the latter provides, at least in theory, can (or must?) be suitably leveraged to generate resources that will then subsidise a higher education institution’s social agenda and programs. Cross-subsidy is an established mode of operations. For example, global publishers make enough money from their dictionaries and school textbooks to fund their higher education publishing, which has far lower sales.

The way we can see these two – ranking and autonomy – is that we raise standards to global levels to attract high-paying international students, which in turn funds the ‘regular’ programmes of an institution – programmes that are running aground for lack of state-provided funds (and this is one example). A two-tier system, therefore, seems inevitable in the current context.

The prestige economy

Greater emphasis is laid on publications and a concomitant emphasis, therefore, on research – but far less on teaching. Thus, one of the most widely used ranking systems, the QS World University Rankings, has only one indicator connected to teaching: the faculty-student ratio. To this it assigns 20% weightage. According to QS:

… teaching quality is typically cited by students as the metric of highest importance to them when comparing institutions using a ranking. It is notoriously difficult to measure, but we have determined that measuring teacher/student ratios is the most effective proxy metric for teaching quality.

A study published in March 2018 found the following:

A total of 24 ranking systems were identified and 13 eligible ranking systems were evaluated. Six of the 13 rankings are 100% focused on research performance. For those reporting weighting, 76% of the total ranks are attributed to research indicators, with 24% attributed to academic or teaching quality. Seven systems rely on reputation surveys and/or faculty and alumni awards.

Such weightage provided for research in most ranking mechanisms has resulted in the making of what Pushkar brilliantly described in an article for The Wire as ‘pretend research’. This results in, and in turn is driven by, the massification of publication. As an ironic consequence, India is finally an academic capital… for predatory journals. Seeking to boost rankings, universities emphasise – and perhaps fund (we need exact data on how funding for research has changed since the quite literal ‘ranking business’ began) – research rather than teaching. Weird results have also been reported – such as attempts to inflate citation (20% weightage in QS) through the unethical practice of excess self-citations – in the academic debate on rankings.

Eventually, unless teaching becomes central to evaluative and ranking processes, the basic work of most universities in India – teaching – will collapse if it hasn’t already. Teachers preparing for classes from Wikipedia (the chosen source for several colleagues in English is Spark Notes) is now a common feature, since student feedback on teaching quality is not factored into rankings or even for teacher-evaluation. When ‘publish or perish’ becomes the motto, we could perhaps ask if we publish perishable materials. (My senior colleague therefore asks that we distinguish between a ‘print-out’ and a ‘chapter’ in what faculty members write.)

Competition, standards and standardisation

An enhanced spirit of competition enters the system. Ranking introduces an element of competition between institutions, and parameters such as internationalisation imply that universities will have to compete for these resources. For example, as internationalisation is a key parameter attracting foreign students, it entails the development of programmes that will attract these students, ironically in a context where most higher education institutions have refused to upgrade their syllabi or pedagogies for Indian students. My own institution has sought, at least in principle, to strike a balance between the race for global ranking and our immediate mandate – good quality higher education for India – by thinking in terms of ‘national needs and global standards’. Nothing stops an institution from boosting its quality of teaching and research such that it impacts positively on our students’ futures.

Standards need not come from, or result in, standardisation. To adopt world-class standards within any domain of knowledge does not necessarily entail fitting into a global ranking mechanism. Updating and upgrading teaching materials, pedagogy and testing mechanisms, even research within the funding possibilities offered, can still be world class. Humanities and social sciences, deeply defensive in all evaluative mechanisms, are surely not quantifiable by the same indices (impact factor, H-index, etc.) but that does not ever mean that we cannot publish in the world’s top-ranked journals.

Also read: So You Think You Can Make Sense of University Rankings?

Even Indian faculty members, admittedly few in number, have done so in the past and continue to do so. These are aspirants to global standards but either do not homogenise or standardise their work. Seeking exclusion from rankings and global standards is to simply seek a state of (postcolonial) exception – although no one would refuse global funding for conference travel, fellowships or collaboration opportunities. For the latter, one doesn’t hear excuses that ‘we are different and need to be evaluated differently’, do we?  What we have to do is to ask if standards equal standardisation, given the mandate of different universities across the country, but at no point is it wise to abandon any and all discussion of standards.

With ranking tied to ‘graded autonomy’ that the Indian state is now proposing for select institutions, new parameters come into play. The relative freedom the latter provides, at least in theory, can (or must?) be suitably leveraged to generate resources that will then subsidise a higher education institution’s social agenda and programs. Cross-subsidy is an established mode of operations. For example, global publishers make enough money from their dictionaries and school textbooks to fund their higher education publishing, which has far lower sales.

The way we can see these two – ranking and autonomy – is that we raise standards to global levels to attract high-paying international students, which in turn funds the ‘regular’ programmes of an institution – programmes that are running aground for lack of state-provided funds (and this is one example). A two-tier system, therefore, seems inevitable in the current context.

The prestige economy

It is the prestige economy that alters the demographics of incoming students, faculty and funding. To be associated with a high-ranked institution translates in most cases to improved employer perception for students, more visibility for faculty work, collaboration, funding, travel, among others. Ranking then cannot be dismissed as a mere number. Over time, it can bring in benefits for stakeholders as well. Elsewhere, Ellen Hazelkorn lists these benefits:

For students, they indicate the potential monetary or private benefits that university attainment might provide vis-à-vis future occupation and salary premium; for employers, they signal what can be expected from the graduates of a particular HEI; for government and policymakers they can suggest the level of quality and international standards, and their impact on national economic capacity and capability; and for HEIs they provide a means to benchmark their own performance. For the public, rankings provide valuable information about the performance and productivity of HEIs in a simple and easily understood way.

Both rankings and the newly proposed autonomy systems reorient higher education into accountability regimes that are ruthless, unrelenting and multilayered, a study published by the Centre for Global Higher Education at the UCL Institute of Education, London, in 2017 made clear. As the world clamours for greater transparency, accountability and return-on-investments, the public institution, for long never held to account – although its faculty has always asked everybody else for accountability – faces a frightening situation of having to fit into this new economic and accountability regime.

Unfortunately, this shift comes when funding has decreased. A public university is, in the last instance, accountable to its public – but that it is the state that creates these mechanisms of accountability generates the anxiety in these places. At the same time, who else would do it? Accountability regimes, like the prestige economy, are here to stay – as are rankings.

+1 vote

The Department of Primary and Secondary Education is going to a draft policy on the education for children with special needs. This will address issues such as access to school, teaching aid, teaching methodology, employing special teachers etc. 

http://edupost.in/students/read/the-department-of-education-draft-new-policy-for-children-with-special-need

Indresh R., Deputy Secretary to the Government of Karnataka, said: “We deliberated on the need to train teachers and sensitize them so that they are able to identify children with special needs at an early stage. This would help in designing early interventions to the children that would help them.”

Currently, as per the Education Department’s records there are over 85,000 children with special needs studying in classes 1 to 10. Now there are two types of interventions. One is home-based education where volunteers visit homes of children with disabilities and teach them. The other one, school readiness programme, has a school set up at the taluk level where children with disabilities can attend classes. This programme prepares them for education in mainstream schools later on.

The policy is in line with the Rights of Persons with disabilities Act, 2016, which underlines the need for the government to promote inclusive education where students with and without disability learn together and the teaching and learning system meets the learning needs of different types of students with disabilities. The department will hold more such consultations before coming up with a draft.

+1 vote

There are greater things to be achieved in every New Year, and each and everyone must prepare themselves to be great, not by words of the mouth, but by a lot of sacrifices. – Michael Bassey Johnson

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Photo Source: Franchise India

By- Shekhar A Bhattacharjee

http://www.businessworld.in/article/Future-Of-Higher-Education-In-India/06-10-2018-161606/

India is a country on the rise, and the trajectory has been set for it to get a seat among the major powers of the world. In every sector, the country has time and again shown to be a reliable player. Whether we look at the automobile industry or e-commerce, industries have witnessed tremendous advancements in the recent past. In this new age of innovation, India needs to strengthen its foundations to continue the success it is currently enjoying. One of the core foundations that India needs to improve is its education sector. It has a population of 1.21 billion with 315 million students. When we take a closer look at the disparity between the number of eligible students and the ones who are currently perusing higher education, the figures are discouraging. Higher education institutions seem to have failed to inspire students to pursue further studies. The education system has fallen short of finding effective avenues to draw a picture of how beneficial higher education could be to climb the ladder in the Indian society.

The Indian education system is moving in the right direction but it needs a push. The education fraternity needs to collaborate with thought leaders and industry experts to form new strategies that can uplift the education system from its traditional roots to a new era of excellence. There are many ways to accomplish this task, but it needs to be a community effort, with all stakeholders participating to conceptualise a blueprint that redefines education in India. There are a few ways to achieve this objective, but few crucial steps need to be the bedrock of this new system.

Highlighting the importance of Non-STEM education

The Indian educational landscape is evolving rapidly and has been for a long time. This is very clear in many areas but it is never more significant than the rise in prominence of non-STEM education. It is an open secret that the Indian public has long favoured STEM subjects as the only legitimate course to a successful career path, but this has changed in the past decade. More and more students are opting for non-STEM subjects, choosing to complete their masters in design, arts, liberal arts, liberal education, humanities, social sciences, architecture, media and communication, and economics among others. It paints a bright future for an Indian education system that is not fixated on a future that only caters to STEM education. A latest research has shown that non-STEM courses have a high placement percentage in hotel management, applied arts and crafts. Indian education system will finally focus on creating skilled individuals who can lead the tide of change in all spheres of life. 

Implementing technology to suit the pedagogy

One of the main aspects of utilising technology in education is to understand how it fits within a structure of the entire education model. When new technology is used in the primitive classroom model, it may spell disaster for the whole education system. If an institute has all the latest equipment and gadgets, but the technology does not contribute to enriching learning experience, it’s not a worthwhile investment. Implementing technology in pedagogy can only be possible if the new educational model is re-structured around an interactive and dynamic environment that technology can provide. Teaching style plays a crucial role in making technology relevant in the classroom. Education technology that has been implemented needs to apply to what the learners require and within their preferred styles.

Student feedback is a vital method for a better learning experience

Educators around the world have assumed that they have all the answers when it comes to education policies and knowledge application techniques. Slowly they have realised the flaw in the system. During the process of implementing, few key players are left out of the equation, mainly students and their parents. As more and more institutions realise the need to keep pace with the rapidly changing education domain, they need new ideas and better data on the shortcomings of the current policies. Student and parent feedback have proved to be crucial aspects that have shown promising results. Most educators are trying to find the source for immediate feedback in areas of improvement, and they are working towards creating a roadmap to make real-time changes. Acquiring feedback from students has a long list of advantages for education institutions. Few institutions have taken the first step of implementing robust technology to get student feedback in real time and make the necessary changes, hence keeping them ahead of the curve. 

A promising future on the horizon for the youth of the nation

At this juncture, we have the unique opportunity to make a difference and inspire a new generation of young minds.  We need to move away from rewarding rote learning and replace it with a new system that encourages high expectations for success while celebrates individual differences and learning styles. With the emergence of new-age schools, it has become a real possibility in India. The country has begun to explore the benefits of new pedagogical approaches, assisted by digital technologies. It is a process that has yielded many results and transformed today's learning environments. Schools that do not follow the traditional curriculum have been more effective in meeting community expectations and managing educational resources more efficiently.

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