Education, the One Constant
The Corona virus outbreak has been a roller coaster ride for every sector with steep inclines and descents. We have all been through challenging times and no one knows for certain what will come next. During these adverse circumstances, young minds are trying to cope with unprecedented stress. We, as a society, are oblivious to the indelible mark this may leave on the minds of our impressionable young generation.
In this ever-changing world, one thing needs to remain constant in a child’s life- that is education.
Under all circumstances, our children must receive quality education, therefore, both policymakers and society need to be ready for a change in the education delivery pattern.
We need to have a three-pronged approach towards changing the delivery mechanism-
- Physical institutes with online support at home, even during normal times;
- An online education policy for times when a child can’t attend classes while others are able to do so; and
- Large-scale online education when a majority of students are unable to attend regular classes.
The Joint-Syllabus Model, a Paradigm Shift in the Delivery of Education
To follow this pattern, a joint-syllabus can be a great approach.
For instance, we can look at the following pattern:
- Standards I and II should be grouped as ‘Level 1’ comprising of a two-year period.
- Standards III, IV and V can be ‘Level 2’; and
- Standards VI, VII and VIII can be ‘Level 3’.
- Standards IX and X should be considered as ‘Level 4’.
- Standards XI and XII can be ‘Level 5’.
Hence, on the whole, there will be five levels that a child needs to master.
A question that might arise is how to club two or three academic years into a joint-syllabus pattern?
Many topics in a subject are repeated in the next session with increased difficulty, and a large number of parents and students do not realize this. They take each academic session to be different from the earlier one which could hinder a child’s academic progress.
Due to the repetition of many topics in each subject area during consecutive academic years, it is possible to amalgamate connected topics under a particular subject.
Thereafter, these specific topics can be divided into stages according to the challenges a child might face in the process of mastering them.
Here are some elements of this system that are important to take into consideration:
‘Levels’ and ‘Expeditions’
These stages can be understood to be an ‘expedition’ which a child needs to explore and master in a given time period. To gain maximum benefit from a syllabus, it must be meticulously blended into different ‘levels’ with ‘expeditions’ of increasing difficulty on topics within the subjects that a child needs to study during his or her academic life. This would give a precise picture to parents and students regarding what is expected of them.
Teachers will have a better and accurate understanding of a child’s progress and will be able to pinpoint which ‘expedition’ or stage a child needs to repeat and attain knowledge of, in order to have a strong base in a particular subject. Hence, all our young enthusiasts will become little explorers of information.
I firmly believe every child is born to win. When a child becomes disinterested in education, we as educators and education policymakers fail.
This two and three year joint-syllabus pattern should cater to a child’s needs, interests and future prospects. It should be formulated in such a way that besides learning in school, a child should have a systematic online support system where he/she can study extensively and in-depth at home. For example, suppose a child is interested in science but lacks self-motivation to study mathematics, the syllabus can be set in such a way that in school, teachers can teach the minimum set syllabus as they already do. However, an online support system, with impressive videos, articles regarding amazing facts, past, present and the future of specific topics, can help students explore and study the subjects they are interested in. This would also help students develop a habit of self-study, reading and analysis.
Such online support at all times can also inspire children to improve in areas in which they are weak. There can be a large pool of mathematical exercises on particular topics for students that are lagging behind. They can first solve these exercises themselves and then short videos can explain each problem and suggest ways in which these problems could have been approached.
Ready Online Education ‘Back-up’ Plan
Interestingly, the importance of an online system would be even more during abnormal times when educational institutes are discontinued.
This approach towards education will work as a ‘back-up’ plan. It would be easier for students, parents and educational institutions to shift to online classes as they would already have strong online support. Parents will not struggle and feel harassed. Children will clearly know that they have been allotted a specific time period to complete the prescribed syllabus according to their ‘Level’. This would provide some respite in times of crisis and also give them time to adjust to the changes that humanity may have to face from time to time.
Formal assessments are an integral part of our education system so after every ‘Level,’ exams must be conducted to test children on specific topics prescribed in the syllabus. There can also be a few minor tests throughout these grouped years.
An online system should have a multitude of inbuilt goal-oriented testing methods, similar to online games, where learners can motivate themselves, master required skills and gain requisite knowledge.
It should allow them to devise strategies to make their ‘expedition’ successful.
Online Games for Real-Life Learning
In order to protect and empower our children, there should be additional areas which can be covered through online games, where students have to solve issues in real-life scenarios. Stories on various topics can help instil the qualities that a child needs to imbibe. These areas involve the development of an emotional, social and adversity quotient in children. Even financial management and disaster management need to be an essential part of the education process.
We need a system that can be reshaped into homeschooling without hurting a child’s educational interest.
COVID-19 has made us realize that policy makers and organisations dedicated to education need to pool in their resources. They need to formulate a platform that is minimally priced and accessible via pen drive, software, or internet on laptops and smart phones, as well as, available on television and radio, in all possible languages. This would ensure that globally no child is left behind in the beautiful world of education. Just imagine, if this way of education was already functioning before COVID-19 played havoc then the conflict between parents, government and schools could have been averted. Thus, the world needs to keep prepared in such a way that education prevails and endures any situation that comes its way.
What did you think of Ravneet Kaur ma’am’s Joint-Syllabus that is ready to ensure education in every circumstance? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
Thinking of a plan for returning to school or adjusting to the new normal?
Here’s a dedicated page to support all educators.
Check out the resources that we, along with Cambridge Assessment International Education, have made available at https://bit.ly/CambridgeReady