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Education ? What do we need to boost the sector Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Darpan Mahajan, India Jun 3, 2011
Education , Globalization , Technology , Global Education   Opinions
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“I bow to my teacher who has opened my eyes blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with enlightening rays of knowledge”

As times change, we experience Globalization and Global warming, economic collaboration and meteoric inflation, with the obverse slowly giving way to the inconspicuous. We’re at the helm of an information explosion, in an age when people visit their MySpace profile more than 30 times every day. Determining whether this phenomenon is good or bad is a tough exercise, as arguments can be made in favor of both. But whatever the conditions, cultural education and a strong character are imperative for survival.

The strength of a nation’s character is determined by the kind and quality of education it offers to its citizens. A comprehensive education program can inculcate cultural sensitivity as well as an affinity towards excellence within an individual. It offers sustainable and holistic development for a nation as the solutions to all problems come automatically: Scientists for environment management and conservation, scholars for better economy minimizing poverty and unemployment, aware citizens leading to less drug use etc.

But to achieve these goals, our education system should work in an equitable, effective and efficient manner that is in tune with the changing times.

According to the Latin America and Caribbean Report by the UN Institute of Statistics - 2008, the primary education rate for native countries is around 90– 100% which takes an astronomical drop to 40-75 % for the secondary education rate. Primary education constitutes the first stage of basic education or the consolidation of fundamental education, compulsory in almost all Latin American countries. The glaring statistic clearly indicates a problem with the current system. One of the primary reasons why our education system is still wanting is the lack of teachers, and the problems in increasing the skill set of existing teachers.

The importance of teachers within an educational framework has been resounded over the years through historical literature as well as media. But sadly, teaching is no longer perceived as a noble profession that it is, rather as another income oriented job. It is leading to disillusionment within students who are repelled by the system instead of absorbing from it. While intellectual growth of teachers is a point to ponder on, the selection criteria of teachers based on a traditional examination score does not necessary test the skills that are required to teach in the existing socio-economic setup.

Is the system at fault for the lack of attention that is being paid towards teachers? I think yes, and that there is a dire need for an involved and pertinent education system while constantly reviewing the selection criteria and enhancing the skill set of teachers.

To offer any solution, all components of society; i.e. the government, school authorities, teachers and students need to collaborate with commitment. The salient features of the proposed solution are:

a) Best Teacher Awards and Community
b) Knowledge Management System
c) Reinvention of the Course Content

There can be a best teacher award for each school, district, city, state and country which will foster motivation. These teachers can take responsibility of sharing this knowledge further across other teachers. This plan can be mandated by the administration and should be scaled till the national level. Sharing is the essence of this program and so it should not be limited to the best teacher in future phases. It should instead be turned into a best practice and all teachers should be invited to share.

Additionally, creation of a knowledge portal or a knowledge management system can cause a huge positive impact. Knowledge management systems, or KMSs, have been widely adopted in business organizations, yet little research exists on the actual integration of the knowledge management model and the application of KMSs in secondary schools. A key philosophy in education is the generation and use of knowledge. Therefore, schools should continue to improve their existing operating models and should understand the appropriate procedures of searching, storage, duplication, and application in order to gather necessary knowledge.

It can act as the virtual education system for teachers. This will help them enhance their skills and get in touch with the latest and advanced methods of teaching. There can be many ways for school to improve participation in this forum which is essential for transforming normal teachers into great teachers and thereby creating an education system which is effective and liked by all.

Thirdly, the concerned authorities should consider constant monitoring of course content and revamping when needed to make sure that the students are learning contents that keep them up to date with industry requirements as well as scientific research. To ensure the same, the Government can elect a panel that reviews the courses every year. The Government body in charge of the education policies should be a selected body and not an elected one. The body should not just consist of bureaucrats, but be formed out of a mix of people from different walks of life. A suggestion here would be to have a committee of 10 members wherein we can have people from the following groups:

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