A. K. Awasthi,
It has been felt by most – differently, depending on their objectives – that modern pace of life has begin to value education. Apparently, a positive sign, this keenness has caused more grief than elevation. Suggested below is framework that strives to strike a balance between the current and ideal system. Economic models are replacing ones based on human values; it is both good and bad.
Need for a movement and policy
Human society and man’s attributes are all part of Nature. History tells us that his creation reflects his rationality, which may sustain onslaughts of time provided it is in agreement with the natural order, law or scheme of things. When otherwise, it goes into disarray either late or soon. It may be anything, a thought like communism or any technology. An idea, which is compatible with nature, alone possesses the quality to succeed – it has universal appeal, is practicable by all and therefore acceptable to all.
The natural scheme is relative, inter-linked; one cause leads to an effect that becomes a cause for another effect, which is sustained for yet another effect Thus there is a chain, unbroken and affecting the whole and leading to the supreme cause. In comprehension the whole phenomenon appears too complex and intriguing to conceive what exactly it is. Man may not think to create such complex phenomenon but he can follow the fundamentals of natural selection and compatibility. Accordingly, the worth, the subject or the process may be decided as being in conformity with Nature.
The subject of education in society is a wide-ranging multidimensional area. It is required that a plan should cater to the needs of all individuals, contribute to social growth and development and fulfill the aspirations of state and people at large. Not apparent conditions or immediate reflection alone have to taken in count but the actual cause of problem has to be ascertained. Such was also the philosophical basis of education in GURUKUL in ancient India. The philosophy has not changed even a bit and there is a distinct possibility that we can still create a modern Gurukulthat will be a happy blending of tradition and modernity, which will build-up the face of modern India.
Let us examine the following scheme in the light of the given principle.
When we consider the kind and quality of the present day education we find that it is alien to our needs and any reformative effort may not be as successful as may fulfill our needs, rather it may lead to more complexity and confusion. Our need is that it must beconducive to our environment—social, political, educational, cultural, etc. That is to say the Ganga cannot be cleansed unless the outlets throwing in filth and polluted material into its stream are not closed. Similarly the base of the new education policy has to be restructured.
But in the face of the given sociopolitical conditions, it seems to be an impossible work unless the will of the people is expressed in a very strong and definite way because the present set-up can be made to act only in that way. Therefore a combined movement including students, teachers, other intellectuals and parents has to be launched to demand and establish a National Education Assembly. It must be as independent as Judiciary or Legislature so that education is liberated from the clutches of the happy-go-do-nothing thinkers in or out of politics. This will start a new era when educationists will deliberate upon the basis of the NEW EDUCATION.
Membership to this Assembly may come through regional seminars on education. Participants capable of giving a policy opinion characterized by a constructive approach and implementation-compatible schemes may be selected / chosen to represent the cause of education. Namesake educationists, people with strong political links, people wielding muscle power, or people occupying high positions today but without having any concept of new education must be debarred from active participation in such seminars so that the Assembly doesn’t become only a new den of confusion-mongers and precipitators of irrationality.
At least ten percent of the national income should go to it for budgetary provisions and its upkeep should be maintained according to the provisions of an Act made by the Parliament possibly in the same style as Judiciary is maintained.
Besides, five regional councils—one each for the north, south, east, west, and central zone—have to be established in order that regional issues/ problems are brought to the fore. Such items would be deliberated upon in the Assembly and solutions sought to the effect. As Judiciary is truly national in character so should be all educational affairs throughout India. Of course the management will have to be done by the States for two reasons: that regional features are not diluted and all the States also participate in managing education effectively.
Plan for QUALITY EDUCATION
It will be
1. Called ‘SWAVLAMBI SHIKSHA’(self-reliant and self-regulatory)
2. De-linked from degree/ certificate but will lead to job directly;
3. Self-supportive, self-sufficient, as it will be linked to work / industry;
4. Largely free from political interference and truly national in policy and application;
5. Indigenous environment supportive and culture oriented so that it will help
build a civilized, industrious and honorable national character;
6. Potential enough to address the problems of national concern like
unemployment and over population etc.;
7. A productive and revenue generating sector, which will possess a huge
reserve of money at its disposal after ten years of its implementation.
Problem Solving:Then it can claim to remove unemployment completely;
8. It will not require recurring expenses from the Government except the initial investment.
9. As it will be a work / industry related education, it will require only initial investment unto the tune of ten percent or less of the national income only.
10. After one year, as proceeds from work or industry (in lieu of work done by students and teachers etc.) become a substantial amount of money, the wheels of educational chariot will start rolling and all necessary infrastructure will be created; development will start.
Philosophy of Application/ Implementation
Orientation to work will commence with class III. The child will be admitted (at the age of four) to Nursery class followed by KG, I, II and further. THE CHILD WILL BE INTRODUCED to work culture when he has attained seven years of age. The initial years will be completely devoted to cultural/ samskar orientation along with adequate emphasis on work. In the age of cyber revolution green minds will be taught to use their minds more than depend on the machine or computer. It has been so far the practical experience that the machine may err or fail or may be subject to uncompromising conditions but the human mind is independent of such problems and it can confidently deal with these.
The most important feature of this plan is that it will follow two basic principles: aptitude-determination and multi/interdisciplinary approach. Aptitude detection would be complete by the end of the tenth year. Therefore, to speak in the present day terms, he /she will pass X class with career direction (unburdened by conventional book-based education) with work skill in trade, business, games, studies in different branches of science, technology, arts, etc. Work skill implies fundamental training and actual work experience to enable anyone to work in the field/ area without any formal training before joining the job-duty. In other words one will pass High School in carpentry, pharmacy, office-work, computation, gardening, tailoring, design, mechanical work, etc. Details of subjects of study etc. from Nursery to VIII and further are given later. This will be an examination free system—no yearly/semester examination. However, home examination or internal assessment/ valuation practice will be followed. But there will be three ALL INDIA TESTS, i.e. at the end of 10th 12th and 16thyear of continuous education which will decide the skill-level, category and job suitability of the student. Those, who are eliminated from going to higher levels of study /training, will be absorbed in the lower ranks. Further (the remaining two) AITs will determine higher levels.
Education up to X will be compulsory for all. No specialized schools for anyone; no choice / compulsion to choose from different subjects. Every All India Test will offer ready–for–work result. There will also be an Employment Bureau in every High School, which will monitor /coordinate rural/ urban employment affairs. All evaluation at AIT will be computerized, i.e. scrutinized manually but finally verified by computer. All kinds of jobs will be regulated through the Bureau.
Another important feature is that there will be only 10 percent permanent teachers with a fixed income and grade. Ninety percent teachers will not receive any fixed salary but will get payment for the actual work that they would do along with students. This provision would drive away the sluggish, undesirable persons and also those who are in any way a burden on education. The compensation package will come from the accounts of those students whom teachers guide to work and students receive payment for the same. Every student will have an A/C No, which will be finally handed over to him when he leaves for work after completing his studies. This account will remain with him throughout his life. For the low-income group it would be 01% of the total income but for the higher income group (more than four lakh, at present rates) it would be 2 – 5% of the annual income. Such tax will be deducted at source and deposited with the Govt. Department of Education. Those who pay Education Tax will pay Income Tax @ 10% annually.
In such a system good teachers will always stand better paid and their contribution recognized. Moreover, those sluggish, will get disenchanted from this profession or will be retrenched. Nevertheless good, dedicated teachers will be so well paid that teaching will still remain one of the best-paid careers and a great professional attraction for the people. Only those who can work hard with a mission will come to teaching. The following proposal is based on a ten-year long and extensive survey of educational institutions, social conditions, pressing need of the people and economic state of affairs.
SCHEME OF STUDY AND PROFESSIONAL CATEGORIZATION
Formal education begins after the child attains the age of three.
4thyear of age I step of education class- Nursery
Subjects: Language (Mother tongue (MT) +surroundings +number;
5thyr.of age II step of education class- KG:
Sub: MT + other language (OL)-alphabet only + surroundings + number
6thyr. III step Primary I
Sub: MT+ OT+arithmetic /Vedic arithmetic + surroundings;
7thyr. IV step Primary – II
Sub: MT+ OT +Arithmetic /Vedic arithmetic +surroundings +aptitude
8thyr. V step Primary -III
Sub: One language + arithmetic/Vedic arithmetic + Geometry +general awareness + introduction to work culture + aptitude
9thyr. VI step Primary -IV
Sub: One lang.+ mathematics/ Vedic math + Geometry +History +GA+Lit +aptitude + actual work experience—this will be the most important year of study whence they would be given vocational training onwards or trained to academic discipline for higher levels.
10thyr. VII step Primary – V
Sub: – as in VI step above but at higher level +science
11thyr. VIII step Primary – VI
Sub: – as in VII above but at higher level + Civics + Psychology + Physics
12thyr. IX step Secondary – I
Sub: as in VIII above + Socio +Eco +Chem.
13thyr. X step Secondary – II)
sub as in IX above + Zoology + Botany
· No Conventional Examination
· Course in language teaching and General Awareness will focus on topics of cultural orientation, ethical direction, and most aspects of general knowledge viz. Society, law, science, politics, economy, personality development, etc. Moreover, a wide variety of subjects will be compressed in two or three books. Emphasis will be on teaching the fundamentals with examples of applied nature but excluding greater details.
First All India Test — It will be held as per programme
· After completing class VIII at the age of 11 the young man/woman will face a Pre- AIT (aptitude test/ screening) followed by First AIT after completing X step. One may /may not qualify for further education or get absorbed in jobs/ self-employment. However, it is expected that most will be able to continue their studies.
14th yr 11thstep vocational training class IX & X as per aptitude and ability
15th yr. 12thstep vocational training Both years taken together
Subjects: Humanities/ Science + career subjects +actual work +practical training for two years followed by
ALL INDIA TEST (II)
Those who would not qualify will get absorbed in jobs / self-employment.
After this there will be two four-year duration slabs:
From age 16 to 19; from step 13 to 16; classes from XI to XIV
The scheme of subjects will be as per aptitude already known through tests. Scheme of study will include 60% theoretical, 20% practical and 20%actual work experience followed by
ALL INDIA TEST (III) – ELIMINATION TO JOB OR CONTINUE STUDIES
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE / EXPERTISE BEGINS WITH
Age 20 to 23;from step 17 to 20; classes from XV to XVIII
Subjects (as per last result) 20% theoretical aspect, 50% practical aspect, and 30% actual work experience___________________________________________________________
ALL INDIA TEST (IV) – EXPERT LEVEL / JOB / TO CONTINUE EDUCATION
From age 24 to 26; from step 21 to 23; SPECIALIZATION LEVEL
It will be as per choice / aptitude;formal valuation will be done on the basis of self-assessment and AIT
Those who successfully complete this level will be selected for top administrative services, teaching, army, science and technology, etc.
Throughout the study it will be an interdisciplinary education with no hard and fast distinction in directional stream. Anyone would be qualified to appear in any AIT anytime if he / she is confident to qualify even without undergoing formal educational schedule. There will be no unnecessary compartmentalization of / in science, arts. Commerce, technology, etc. Students will not get any degree but they will get AIT results, which will mention their category and quality.
It will be an almost foolproof system in which question papers will be set by automatic selection from a Question Bank comprising at least 1000 questions in conventional subjects and 5000 in professional courses. Such selection will be made only twelve / twenty-four hours before the commencement of actual examination and sent to examination centres in codified files on internet as a safeguard against any leakage or other forms of dishonesty. Similarly other aspects will be handled methodically.
Explanation of level / category:
Beginning with 13yr of age X step of education VIII class,i.e.
AIT level I
–fit for manual labour type, factory workers, IV class office workers etc.
AIT level II
–clerk type, office assistant, supervisory staff, technicians, initial order of professionals, etc.
AIT level III
–Efficiency level– i.e. subordinate rank of officer in Police, Army, Civil, professionals, technicians, teachers, politicians—all of lower cadre.
AIT level IV
–Expert level– I order of officers in Police, Administration, Army, Judiciary, etc. — all of higher cadre.
AIT level V – SPECIALIZATION
– ALL TOPMOST LEVELS—HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS OF VARIOUS ORGANIZATIONS, INSTITUTIONS, SERVICES, ETC.
Thus, a student would not run after any degree, nor would any job be linked to degree. There would be very few examination ordeals to be faced by the student. There will also be a provision for self-assessment. There would be no failures any time; only grades would be awarded so that the level is decided. All evaluation would be computerized and pattern of examination will include objective test (match the Q and Ans. Set) for one hour followed by Group Discussion and Interview of half an hour each. For subjective qualities – a continuous evaluation from the beginning of educational career will be part of educational process. It would take place anywhere any time. It would be most informally conducted. Ascertaining aptitude of the student will also be noted in the same way.
Thus, an almost dependable system may be constructed to build up a cultured, proficient and ready-for-challenge society. Such system will also include elements of value oriented education imparted in ancient Indian Gurukuls.
This is only an outline. Details can be further discussed and worked out to address all actual needs.
The scheme may be adapted to suit to the needs at smaller scale like State /Provincial/ Regional level.
Suggestions For Pragmatic Education In Brief
FOR CULTURAL ORIENTATION AND CHARACTER BUILDING
SEEKING KNOWLEDGE AND TRUTH
ECONOMIC DIRECTION AND DEVELOPMENT
SUITABLE FOR ADAPTATION AT THE STATE OR NATIONAL LEVEL
Part A – Principles
1. Not ideal but practical education compatible with
(a) Social expectation
(b) Individual aspiration
(c) Natural environment
2. Government participation
(a) NILin day-to –day matters
(b) Freedom from responsibility
(For consideration at the national level; A MODEL for the STATE can be created on the same pattern )
3. ONE TIME political will is needed to build a new structure-NATIONAL
(A) Amendment of the constitution to create four arms of governance at the centre; i.e.
in addition to the three existing already:
All Independent Institutions.
(a) Executive – President of India
(c) Judiciary – Supreme Court
(d) Education—National Education Assembly
(B) To set up India Education Bank as a subsidiary of the State Bank of India
Part B – Nature
1. Degree delinked but job compatible education
2. Revenue generating, self-sufficient sector-likely to grow up a huge educational finance reserve.
3. Work/industry linked education to support and train students as prospective employees
4. Free education (but work- subsidized) for all, free of any class/ caste differences to grant equal opportunity to all citizens.
5. No formal education after X step/ class.
6. Informal/ specialized education at institutes of higher learning after
All India Test (III).
7. Free from institutional examination system.
Part C – Management
1. Regional Secretariats of National Education Assembly ( or STATE structure as per case) at
New Delhi, Chandigarh, Udaipur, Banglore, Indore, Bhubneshwar, Shillong, Ranchi, Allahabad or more, if need be.
2. Education Tax on all ( direct taxation): @ 1% or 2% of the income and collected by the Government and deposited with the Ind Edu Bank.
3. Only Five All India / State Tests to channelize
(a) All employment and work opportunities including bureaucracy, research etc.
(b) No kind of present day tests for education or job needed, therefore abolished.
(c) Permanent and compulsory Bank A/c no. For all on the pattern of Income Tax- PAN.
4. Only 10% salaried teachers, others well-paid teaching-certified professionals not extending beyond 2 years and part-time graduate students.
5. Only one time investment by the Govt. No- recurring expenses.
6. Special provision for the weaker sections of society on economic criterion.
7. Syllabus : from the beginning to the end of formal education
1. Mother tongue
2. Other tongue
4. General awareness, behaviour and culture
5. Work Experience + other subjects as applicable from time to time.
8. Transition period – one year.
9. Results expected – By the end of the third year from the start.
10. Unemployment and overpopulation will be effectively checked and results become obvious in five years.
Part D – Composition of National Education Assembly (or State structure)
– Members by selection, nomination, election and rotation.
– Comprising only creative academicians, intellectuals, administrative experts, artists, sensitive people and thinkers. All pseudo-academicians/ politicians in general to be excludedbut politicians with a clean image and awareness of educational need and great sense of responsibility to be included.
The scheme can be undertaken as a pilot project in selected districts of any state and results can be ascertained with sufficient authenticity in not more than three years.
[Prof. A. K. Awasthi is Professor of English & Head, Dr. H.S.Gour University, Sagar (MP). His contribution to Canadian studies, comparative literature, aesthetics and education is well recognized. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]