Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Understand CCE better

The results of the school based examination of different schools have been declared. This I am writing in reference to the schools affiliated to central board of secondary education. By and large all schools are following the CCE pattern introduced by the board up to class X. The system has been in place for two years now and it is expected that all stake holders might have got a fairly good idea of the advantages of the new system of evaluation. There are discussions on social networking sites whether the CCE has been useful for the children and other stake holders? There are divergent views about the same. Some people are quite happy while others say opposite to that. Though we do not have access to any data which can suggest the validity of the new evaluation system and that is the reason most of the opinion is formed based on the input given by some people. I think we need to understand it better by assessing the same by using some reliable and valid method of survey. My personal view is that the places where CCE has been understood and implemented in the right spirit, the results have been good. And if the same has not been understood and implemented well then all can realize the outcome. I would like to share my experience while talking to the parents and the children from different schools. A child came with parents for the enquiry of admission to a particular school. The head of the school, expressed his inability in admitting the child because there was no vacancy in the class in which the admission was sought. The father was very keen that the head should have a look at the report card of the child. The child had performed very well all through the year. He got lower grade in one of the subjects though the performance of the child in co-scholastic area was excellent with all A Grades.  The head was very much impressed by the overall performance of the child and appreciated the child for the same but could not admit him because of the reason mentioned above. The head was told that the father was very unhappy with the child because he thought that the admission could not be granted due to his average performance in one of the subjects. The head called the father and made him clear about the reason and tried to convince that  he should not think much about the academic performance only but look at the overall performance of the child. The co scholastic part of the evaluation is equally important and should not be ignored while judging a child. The father asserted that it is the performance in academics which will make the child to get in some good professional college and not the grades in music or art and craft. The head of the school did try to convince the parent but it did not work and the child was made to devote more time on academics and reduce the wastage of time on co scholastic areas. In other cases also, when the children and the parents are asked to talk about their views regarding the effectiveness of  CCE, many of them are not able to give their views on the same. It shows that we have not been able to convey this very important change to the children and the parents. This is not the problem of the parents and children only but many educators are also not very sure about what they are doing and why, except that they have given the guidelines by the board.  I am sorry to state that  there are some stake holders who do not yet understand the full form and the meaning of  CCE.
When I talk about the teachers they are trying to cope up additional work of keeping the records which are more now, than before. Sometimes some of the teachers are not able to convince the child or the parent about the performance of the child in one or the other assessment. Major issue comes while a parent discusses the performance of the child in FAs and SAs. Till the situation is that the child had done better in FAs than SAs it has been observed that parents do not discuss in detail. But in case where the children had done better in SAs than FAs ; there they do try to find the reasons for the child not having performed well. Though most of the schools have good and transparent system of conducting the FAs but at times it becomes difficult for the teachers to recall the flaws in the performance of the child in the FA conducted a few months back. Here it would be good if the teacher could talk to the parent in the presence of the child that this was the activity or the task performed by the child and this was the performance. Not only this,the teacher must try to help the child to perform better or learn the things in a better way. If the parent is trying to understand the performance of the child in detail, the teacher should not feel bad, rather should be happy and thankful to the parent for his concern and support in the progress and the growth of the child.
the overall development of the child is equally important.  The education today needs to focus more on the values to be taught to the children and make them capable of utilizing their potential to the best of their ability. This has been proved so well that only IQ does not make a person successful in life but the part played by EQ is equally important. The co scholastic area of the teaching learning process helps develop the EQ which drives the individual to perform better in life. Let us all think very seriously about the role played by proper and quality education in the life of the individuals and the nation. My request and advise to all concerned would be to understand the concept of CCE and contribute to the best of our potential to make our children better human beings. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Compete with self and not with others

This has been said and followed by most of the people that competition is must for progress. This may be true in some cases but let us try to understand the meaning of the word- competition. This certainly means comparing the performance or the achievement of an individual with some other person or individual. By comparing, they try to be better than the other people. But does this competition help all the people in all situations? The nature promotes harmony and not competition, but man has used everything for the benefit of self and if I may say so, for his own enjoyment and self-satisfaction. The truth is that everything created and present in the nature has its own importance. This is very rightly explained by one of our great poets, “ jahan kaam aave sui, kaha kare talwar,” meaning thereby  that the task which can be completed by a tiny needle only, even the mighty sword would not be of any use in that case. It will be the needle only which might be of a great help. From this we can easily understand that if the needle (considered to be fragile in comparison to the sword) tries to become the sword then it will be losing its worth for the task and the purpose it was made. When we talk in context of the human being then there we should not be comparing and competing with the strengths or the weaknesses of the other person but with self only. There is nothing wrong if we try to create better needles which can perform the task in a more effective manner. Similarly, it would be good if an individual try to develop and sharpen the skill he/ she is good at. An individual when tries to become somebody else there are problems arise but trying to become better than self always help to exploit our potential to the maximum. I take another example from the subject of physics. Carnot`s engine is studied by the students of physics. This engine is considered to be an ideal engine having one hundred percent efficiency. Sometime students ask the teachers about the use of studying this engine which cannot be utilized in day to day life. The answer to such question would be that with this comparison the efficiency of the engine can be enhanced. In this case, we are comparing efficiency of the engine with itself and not anything else. Thereby, competition is good for the sake of self-improvisation and helpful behaviour. This should not be allowed to become a stress, producing negativity around.
I am writing all this because most of the parents compare their own kids with other children. They do not realize that their child is absolutely different and no two human beings are similar or of the same caliber in everything. The children learn most of the things naturally from the environment around them. This has an impact on their thinking process and overall development. The anxiety level among the children appears to have increased in the last few years and the major factor responsible for that seems to be their comparison with other children. The parents are looking for every quality in their child only which is probably not the right approach. If a child is doing well in academics and the mother or the father happens to meet a child who might have done well in some other activity, the parents tend to forget or ignore the achievements of their child and compare him for the skill which may not be his/ her strength. This would not have a positive impact on the growth of the child. There may be child who is good when it comes to academic achievement and the other child may be good in performing arts or games and sports. When I say that do not compare an individual that does not mean that we should not look at the achievement of others and appreciate the same. I am of the strong opinion that we should learn from the achievement or the failure of others but we should not try to be better than others. What we should always try to become better than self with the help of the knowledge of the results of others` efforts. Take the example of any great personality - be it from the field of science, social service, politics or any other field, we find that they always endeavoured to do better than others. The Father of our Nation did not try to do better than others any time in the life but self. Great Nelson Mandela is another example who always thought of doing better than what he did the previous day. Winston Churchill, Pt. Nehru, Sardar Patel, Netaji Subhash, Abraham Lincoln, W. Shakespeare, John Milton, Mother Teresa, M.Thatcher and the list would be quite long. All these great people tried to do better than themselves  and worked as per their strengths. Whatever I have read about their childhood, I gather that these people were happy with themselves whether they were able to do that well as they thought of doing or not. They did not worry about the achievement of their friends though the better achievements of their friends were a strong motivation for them but they did not have a feeling of competition with others. They took the benefit of the work done by others and made that as the motivating factor in spite of letting the feeling of jealousy or envy to be born due to the passion of competition.
So the important point which I want to make here and submit the same for the consideration of all and specially the parents of the young children is that, completion word should be used for the benefit of the children to motivate them and not to increase the stress of the children. This is also true that if we do not have the benchmark then the curiosity of doing better is killed. But what I am trying to say is that, this benchmark should be set as per the strengths of an individual and not for the strengths of others.  Suppose a child has the potential of becoming a good dancer then he/she should set a benchmark in that field is spite of competing with someone who might be good in some other field. In this case also the individual should be trying to compete with self and should not try to become somebody else. All the individuals are efficient and capable to do something great in one or the other field and let us all help each other to excel as per our own potential and strengths. The children who are passing through a critical phase due to the explosion of the knowledge and knowing the world more, must be saved from the ill effects which too much of the competition can bring on them. Let an individual child blossom as a distinct identity and be the source of help to others and also self. We can guild our children to aspire, achieve and self-actualize their own dreams rather than looking for the fulfillment and realization of others dreams.   

Monday, March 12, 2012

Be sensible and responsible for own actions

Among all the living beings on planet earth human being can think very fast and act accordingly and the result is that this group has evolved continuously. The nature has provided everything possible as per the requirement of all living beings including all of us. Man is also called a social animal  and the reason for the same might have been that we can live in a society in a better way than the other living beings. The progress and the developmental phases of the man in the last thousands of years have been phenomenal. The human race is proud of all the achievements and the progress made and the man continues doing the same. We evolved from isolation to group living and enjoyed the company of all around us including the family members. As the number of the people grew so was the desire of accumulating the things and the desire of possessing more than other groups. Initially, it was the group of the people who at least helped and cared for each other but slowly and steadily we are moving in the direction of being alone. I remember a play staged by the school on its annual day celebrations, in which the plight of the man and its impact on the individual and society was beautifully depicted with all the delicate intricacies. The title of the play was “Shoonya Se Shoonya Tak”. The play highlighted how the man (I mean early man) evolved and lived alone and then knitted the bonds of relationship by creating a group of people called family and now again is moving away from all the relationships towards loneliness.
One of the reasons for this to happen was greed (not the desire) to be better than others. I do not think the desire is bad but when the desire gets converted into greed then it becomes a problem. I agree that change is inevitable and we should embrace the same but change would not always be for the good. When we try to be better than others then it may not be so healthy as when we try to be better than ourselves. We all know it very well that by nature all individuals are different and if it is so then why should we try to compare and prove ourselves better than others. A person does things as per the capacity and the potential of self. When a mistake is committed, it is done by an individual and that individual only is responsible for its repercussions. Similarly, if something good and great has been done that is also the effort of the individual involved or the group of the people involved in that task. I expressed this idea earlier also that if we take the responsibility of our action and do not blame others for our action or behavior then the things would be much better than what they seem to be today. Some people might argue and rightly so that good and bad, right or wrong are relative terms and are usually understood with respect to something. True, but the thing is who set that standard? If we have to live in a group (I mean society) then some standard procedure and set rules are to be followed. As individuals we need to understand our responsibility and try to act within the agreed frame of work. All will agree that discipline in life is one of the most important requirements if the people have to live happily. There is no better form of discipline but  self discipline because anything forced on somebody does not yield that good a result. Unfortunately, that is missing in most of the cases in today’s world.
During a discussion (which was basically around the incidents of indiscipline and violence in the school, particularly the Indian Schools). Somebody mentioned that a teacher from some other country had come to visit the Schools in India and had an opportunity to teach in one of the schools. While she was returning to her country somebody asked her the difference in the behavior and the modus operandi of the students of the two countries. Her answer was that she could find the reason behind why the students of the Indian Schools were doing better than the students from her own country. She mentioned the major difference what she noticed was that in her country if the child was not able to do well then the teacher was considered responsible for that. This was irrespective of whether the child worked hard or not. Contrary to that, the children in India were made to realize that they were responsible for the result whether good or average. She was of the opinion that as the children in India are made to realize that if they had not done well so they try to improve themselves by working hard next time whereas in her country the children always felt that if they could not do well then it was the fault of the teachers and they were not responsible for the same. And the truth is that if one does not realize and take the onus of one`s fault or mistake then the chance of correction or improvement is not  
The children are the most precious and wonderful gifts of nature and they are the purest form of nature. We as adults are responsible for the initial shape they take but after that they should be made to think that they will be responsible for own their actions and results. Until they realize the importance of their potential and care for their own action, things would not be very good for them and eventually for the society. If a child does not perform well then it is important to find the reason for the same but the child should always be motivated to work hard and he/she should never be allowed to become complacent. As mentioned earlier, discipline in life is very important and without that everything will be in chaos. Discipline in all associated fields, the society as well as the individual`s life including the children. Whatever they learn in their childhood goes a long way in shaping their future. The parents and the teachers should set an example for their children by accepting the responsibility of the results of their own actions. If we do the same then the children will also follow the same. Our children have been good and are good and let us try to provide the support which enables them to be self dependent and responsible citizen of the country and the world. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Evolve educational ethics

Education is considered to be a major factor in the progress of a nation and the society. Education either formal or informal, prepares a person for facing the world in a manner that all live in peace and enjoy the life on this planet. The word education has been defined in different ways but the most accepted meaning seems to be the manifestation of the potential one has and exploring the world for the betterment of all human beings. Our country was considered to be the best in providing the education at school level and more so on college and university level. We cannot forget the reputation earned by Nalanda and many other such universities which attracted the people from all over the world. But the report published in the newspaper today reminds us of the current situation. No university of the country finds its place in top hundred universities of the world. It is a point of debate whether foreign universities have progressed so much or our university system has crumbled due to many factors. Till about two three decades ago, we used to be proud of a number of universities in the country but due to reasons known to many, the situation has gone from bad to worse. This may seem to be alarming to us but the fact is that it needs immediate attention of the government and the people in position to take corrective methods.  
Our school education system also seems to be at the crossroads. On one hand, there are schools which are doing very well and at the same time others lack in infrastructure and also the human resource and attention. Ironically, the government has precisely not tried to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and as usual short term measures are taken now and then. The parliament has implemented the right to education act. It is one of the very important steps taken to improve and uplift the one segment of society. The act gives the right of education to every child of the country with proper infrastructure in all the schools including the government schools. Reservation of certain percentage of seats is another important law in the act. The participation of the parent community has also been given a due importance. What I mean here is, that all stakeholders have been assigned some responsibility in the act. When I use the word responsibility, I mean that all need to understand the importance of better and quality education and contribute to the best of their ability. We all have to understand the role to be played by us in making this act successful and fruitful as expected by the parliament. All should work together as a unit and not as individuals or individual groups. But what has been observed in the last two years is that people have a limited knowledge about the act. The act has been reduced to the size of a single point act related to the reservation of seats for a particular section of children. We know it well the act is not what it defines for itself but has many other very important laws which are necessary for achieving the objective and the goals of good education to all the children of the country. We are moving at a slow pace and if that continues then the very purpose of the act would get diluted. We all need to understand the act and the importance of education for all and work accordingly. We owe a lot to our children and this is also true that we want to do everything possible for their good. Let us have a clear vision and steer ourselves accordingly.
When we talk of quality education that does not necessarily mean to provide education which helps the people to get good job in terms of remuneration only but is much more than this. Quality education would take care of all aspects of life including the personality development. We shall have to adopt   an integrated approach so that all areas of the required development are addressed. The moral and ethical values seem to be the need of the hour. This was given a lot of importance when we needed it the least but now we need to emphasize upon the same with a changed new approach. The kind of   problems we see in the society nowadays can be tackled by good education to our children. We know it well that no child is born with negatives only but all children possess many good qualities . This is the environment at home and in the schools which make a difference to the personality of the children. All are basically good human beings, the upbringing and the education makes all the difference. Here, education is not   synonymous to academic or cognitive area only but affective domain is equally important if not more. In the last few years, this has been ignored at home and also in the schools. In the race of scoring marks we have lost the track of basic human values and that has deprived our children of the right path to be shown to them. The incidents of violence reported from different schools are not a good sign for our society. I strongly believe that to blame the children for the same would not be right because they act and react as per what they see in society and in the family. The incident which took place in a school in south was shocking to all concerned. Such incidents were reported from other countries but not in the schools of India. The relationship between the teacher and the student has been pious and one of trust and faith. The change taking place is inevitable but the fact is that it is neither good for the children nor for the society. We must try to take corrective measure so that our children do not suffer later on. The government and the responsible people including the educationists, parents and most importantly people from media would have to come together to evolve a strategy which does not interfere in the freedom of our children, but at the same time their rights and the freedom does not take them in the direction of not proving to be good and responsible citizens of the society. There is no better way of doing the same but to set an example for the children. We know that our children are brought up in the family in a different way than in many other countries. The culture and traditions of all countries are different and we must respect them. But this does not mean that we forget our own way of living together and respecting one and all in the society. We must always remember our   rights as well as our duties at the same time. Let us not bury these incidents as isolated cases and allow the situation to become really serious. Let us not allow the situation to reach when you have to have metal detectors and the security guards outside the school campus. This is high time that we all think and debate so that proper steps could be taken for the sake of our children who are the future of the country and the world. Let us not leave the insurmountable energy to flow on its own but try to channelize the same in the right direction.