Thursday, August 02, 2012

Some thoughts on education reforms we badly need in kerala

Kerala Govt. is forming a Youth Commission. I think the real challenge faced by Youth of Kerala is lack of an education system that can make them competent to leverage the opportunities of globalization. since they are incompetent (by and large), they attempt to look at Opportunities as challenges and start strikes against Globalization. so from a win-win situation like many states in India and central america, we embrace a loss-loss situation like in kerala, west bengal and many other places. All to hide our weaknesses. So to strengthen the youth of kerala, we need a radical change in our education system.. here are my suggestions. please feel to comment and add to it..

Our education should focus on creating Great citizens, Great entrepreneurs, Great Visionaries and Great Leaders. Instead today, it is creating clerks and salaried employees. This should change. here are some suggestions. 

1. Industry focused syllabus Syllabus for our graduate and under graduate courses need to completely revamped to enable our youth exploit the opportunities provided to us by globalization trends. For this industry connect is very much required in the syllabus committee. Representatives from leading Industries such as IT, Manufacturing, Pharma, Service Industries etc should be invited into curriculum committee meetings and their inputs need to get incorporated to make our youth "capable" to address global challenges 

2. Examination Oriented framework Our education system is examination oriented and not knowledge oriented. the mode of higher education should change from classroom mode to experimental mode, concept demonstrations, assignment mode, project mode, interaction mode and should be relevant to challenges of today. People should be challenged with problems and issues of today rather than forcing them by heart and answer meaningless questions testing only their memory. 

3. Research and Innovation Our Post Graduate and Research sector is almost stagnant and dead. there are no great research findings coming out of our universities though we are spending millions of rupees there every year. Steps should be taken to bring a research and innovative mindset to our universities. it should not be offices for employment and time pass only. We should initiate programs with leading universities in world to enhance the research mindset of our young students who are strong in academics 

4. Integration with Society Our current youth is alienated from society. A person who studies in private institutions throughout his education is very very detached from the realities of society. he has no clue about our society, our democracy, our govt and how public business is conducted via various offices. There should be provision in our education system at Degree level to increase the interaction with community, offices and locale to ensure the students are very well aware of their society, its nature and challenges. they should be aware of democratic institutions, how they function, how to interact with them and how to get his/her things done via govt. institutions. Else, they will not develop respect for democracy and will be interested only in wealth. 

5. Enabling to do handy man jobs - Right from our high school through our graduate studies, there should be provision to learn handyman jobs such as plumbing, wiring, basic carpentry, basic electrical repair, painting etc which will be highly useful for our nuclear families. there is heavy shortage and high exploitation in this kind of jobs today. instead doing meaningless sequence works, in our Work Experience hours, students can be taught how to do these kind of jobs which can be very useful in their day to day lives. 

6. Character, Ethics and Value System - In our current education system today, the focus is only on examinations. Character formation and importance of having ethical outlook for students have taken a back seat. Counselling, Character building classes are all happening as isolated initiatives and is not a part of the curriculum yet. In modern world, the biggest challenge is from Educated Men and Women without character and values. That accelerates the corruption of society since they get to influential positions in society with their education. Our education system should give equal importance to character formation and instilling value system in our youth. it should be a continuous system and there should be trained resource pool for this. our existing teachers cannot handle this. we should have trained professionals taking classes for children to develop character and values right from young age. From waste disposal etiquette to respecting old people to cultural values to personal sensitivity, children have to be taught to be better human beings during their education. 

7. Children with Special Needs - This is a totally neglected sector today. Our education system should have provision to train children with special needs ( Autistic children for example, children with learning disabilities) and this requires highly trained teachers. today, such students if born in our country are having a cursed life and painful existence. with good training, these kids can be integrated with main stream by the time they reach 12-15 years of age. we should start main stream schools for such children where teachers are highly trained to handle such kids

8. English Mediums in Public Sector - Biggest challenge our youth is facing today is lack of proper english education and lack of communication skills in english. this creates an inferior feeling in our young men and women when they compare themselves to children from metro cities. To change this, Govt. need to focus on improving the quality of english education in our state. We should start at least 1 english medium school in Govt. sector in every Taluk. Govt. should make education a priority topic and ensure enough funds to start such schools in every taluk during this govt.s tenure

9. Foreign language training - World is becoming a global village and people with multiple language capabilities will have advantage. Our youth should be given opportunity to learn foreign languages no matter whichever college they are enrolling for graduation. the mode of education could be online, remote and via Video Conferencing classes.But provision should be made in every college to help students learn a language or 2 of their choice so that their job opportunities in travel, tourism, BPO segments are very high 

10. Optional subjects for graduation - Our graduate syllabus is boring and outdated now. we should allow students study courses of their interest (at least 50% of the total papers) no matter whichever course they are enrolling. that is how graduate classes are in foreign countries. we should allow students to choose at least 50% of the papers as optional and purely according to their choice so that they find the topic interesting to learn and will be better students than today. this way, end of graduate program the student will have varied knowledge and capabilities 

11.New Courses - Govt should review the global business scenario every 3 years to add new courses with great demand to our colleges. there are lot of courses becoming relevant in services industry and healthcare segment which can be graduate courses. many courses will enable students start internet based entrepreneurial ventures. 

12. Incubation Centers associated with Selected Premium Colleges - To help students start their careers earlier, Govt. should encourage incubation centers associated with select colleges and cities. this should be in small towns also and not just in corporations.