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Social diversity key to inclusive education

HT spoke to Sridhar Rajagopalan, MD, Education Initiatives on the state of education in schools.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2011 17:32 IST

Hindustan Times

A good school, according to me, is one that focuses on specific actions and holistic development. The role of a school has to go beyond textbooks and curriculum. A good school will teach its students to develop critical thinking. It will teach its students to be creative, inculcate the skill of problem solving, foster entrepreneurship and help them become individuals who lead a life with ethics and values.

Schools should provide inclusive education. A school must have students from various walks of life studying under one roof. The student body of a school should have a mix of children from affluent and modest backgrounds, from different economic and social backgrounds, from different communities and religions. This will help the children learn better.

I think that education in India is evolving. As with anything else, some of the changes are good while much more needs to be done in certain areas.

There are a few changes that I would like to see in schools to make education better. The biggest step that the schools can take is move away from the practice of rote learning. Rote learning does not allow a student to think. Schools must promote learning with understanding. Parents can also play a big role in this by removing the emphasis on marks and recognising their child’s other strengths.

The second major change that schools can bring about is allowing better and appropriate amount of technology. Technology can become a big enabler and can complement the teaching done in schools. It can help speed up assessments and help teachers record and analyse the learning levels of students.

Computer-aided adaptive learning softwares are being used in various schools in Noida and elsewhere. Such innovative use of technology helps students learn at their own pace.

An attitude change in schools as well as parents has to happen so that the students study subjects of their own interests and not the usual traditional streams. A child should be allowed to make choices and grown-ups should encourage them to find their true interests. Also the difference between the schools for the rich and schools for the poor is increasing. This growing distinction between schools should be checked.

Education Initiatives is an educational research company.
(As told to Shubhi Vijay)