SCHOOLING & EDUCATION by SHANKAR SAHAY

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education?"
When Mark Twain wrote those words, he would have never thought as to how long it will take for the human race to understand its meaning and take some proactive action.

A few days back, I asked my younger son, who is in the final year of graduation as to what is he studying for his final year exams. His simple reply was "I don't need to prepare for anything. The college is teaching me C++ which I studied in my Class-XII. I am anyway aware of better languages like Python & R, which are more useful and are not in my college curriculum." His answer forced me to contemplate as to how redundant our teaching is that we are still imparting the students the knowledge of an age-old language while better ones have already evolved and are very much in use. A look at the syllabus of the leading Indian Schools and Universities will prove this beyond doubt. There is an umpteen number of examples where the curriculum has not been revised for decades. As a result, the students' actual education takes place outside the 4 walls of the school, rather than inside.

Another case in point is related to imparting important life-lessons to the students at the school level. There are very few schools who go beyond the bookish knowledge. Important information and skills like Communication Skills, Time Management, General Awareness, Team Management, Leadership Skills etc. need to be shared with the students at an early stage in their lives, so that they come up with an all-round personality, rather than being only a book worm.

In this regard, my recent visit to Fabindia School at Bali Village near Falna in Rajasthan was a very pleasant experience. It is an initiative of Fabindia where over 500 village students are educated by way of not only usual classroom teaching but also by involving nature, be it in the form of Gurukul style setting or organic farming. Students are made aware of important aspects of life by way of involving them in several practical projects, visits and sessions by area experts. The most wonderful thing was that in this journey of education sharing, the faculty members are also deeply involved. Every week, there are regular book-reading sessions where one of the faculty persons shares with his/ her colleagues' pearls of wisdom related to a new concept/ topic being practised at other places.

The school comes up as a model of Education, rather than Literacy & Teaching.

- Shankar Sahay is a member of Learning Forward India, Corporate Trainer/ Mentor, Career Counselor, Practicing Educationist, Researcher, Traveller, Writer.
Based: South Delhi, Delhi, India  Email shankarsahay7@gmail.com

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