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Finland to scrap conventional schooling; should India follow suit?

To match up with the ever changing industry across the globe, in a latest move, Finland has decided to do away with subject-wise teaching and introduce teaching by topic. Should India follow this example?

education Updated: Apr 07, 2015 18:23 IST
Finnish education,Indian education,education

Finland has always topped the list of countries hosting some of the most successful schools in the world apart from being progressive. Finnish education has been highly admired for its endeavour towards ensuring quality. It has been pro-actively engaged in experimenting with the education system. To match up with the ever changing industry across the globe, in a latest move, it has decided to do away with subject-wise teaching and introduce teaching by topic. This means, now students will learn cross-subject topics. For example, a topic on European Union will amalgamate portions of subjects like economics, geography and languages thus replacing history and geography as regular subjects. This will also encourage students to take up problem-solving activities thus, breaking ways from the traditional classroom learning.

This announcement has got mixed responses from the teaching community in India.

“An interdisciplinary mode of education helps a child to understand and learn better. We need not call mathematics as mathematics. It can be taught through many different ways like dance, music or art. Why do we need to have names for the subject? We can teach them through a variety of interesting methodologies that can help engage the children better. Children look at the subject as difficult and worrisome as it is not well-connected to our real life. We can form such connections through interdisciplinary mod and better pedagogy. For example, at Springdales, we taught the Pythagoras theorem through dance. What we are teaching is completely disengaged mathematics from life. Interdisciplinary studies in maths work well till class 8 at least. This will help them grasp their fundamentals better,” says Ameeta Mulla Wattal, principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road.

Contradicting with Wattal, Gowri Ishwaran, the founder-principal of Delhi-based Sanskriti School and a renowned educationist says maths is fundamental to understanding life and it cannot be done away with as a subject at the school level. “We need to have the subjects accompanied by value added subjects. You should make history more alive and global and teach children interesting things that have relevance to the present day. Today, we teach history as isolated facts, and students just rote learn various facts. We need to bring about a radical overhaul in the way we teach our students and the curriculum itself. Make subjects more dynamic rather than removing them. Indian context is encouraging rote learning whereas it should encourage discovery and innovation.”

Asked if this move will work well in our country, Krishank Indoria, class 10, JD Tytler School, New Delhi says, “I don’t think it is a good move as students would never get to know about the history of their country and its growth. Maths is not only important as a subject but it also plays a crucial role in our daily life. Such a revolutionary initiative can never be successful in India considering the fact that admissions to major universities depends on these subjects.”

However, there are few who believe that India needs to give a face-lift to the existing education system. “Finland's move is really good because at the end of the day history is not going to help me administer a state, or maths is not going to help me launch satellites. It is the applications that will help us in the long run. I believe that this is the need of the hour in India. The fields of occupations are widening, henceforth skills are more important than mugging up concepts and theories,” says Shikhar Tripath, class 12, DPS Mathura Road.

First Published: Mar 25, 2015 15:35 IST