Synopsis: The end-of-the-year examination results do not reflect the full potential or uniqueness of a child. Thus, NEP attempts to look beyond examinations and emphasizes child-centred pedagogy.
Gijubhai Badheka, an educationist who helped introduce Montessori methods to India, wrote in his book that the school culture in India considers several things of children’s interest. It ranges from insects to stars which is irrelevant to classroom study.
- Teachers teach students from the textbook to prepare them for examination instead of developing the child’s curiosity. The school does not provide conditions in which the teacher could focus on the overall development of children.
- Examinations should not be the final goal of a rewarding learning experience as it only rewards the power of memorisation.
- Exams are one of the multiple milestones to be crossed by a child on her path to holistic growth and development.
What does the new education policy focus on instead of examinations?
The National Education Policy, 2020, uses two interesting phrases: “No hard separations” and “elimination of silos” in the context of learning.
- First, India is now working on implementing the policy. It is important to have an understanding of these phrases and their implications.
- For example, NEP 2020 requires the achievement of common standards for high-quality education in all schools. It means removing differences between public and private schools through the setting up of a State Standard-Setting Authority (SSSA). It requires a variety of learning from pre-school to higher education.
- Second, the removal of hard separations would include removing the barrier of language. For that, the mother tongue/language spoken by the child shall be the medium to understand the subjects, especially in the foundational years.
- Third, teaching and schooling should be activity-based and experiential. It helps in cognitive growth through story-telling, art, and craft, sports, and theatre.
- Fourth, classrooms need to discard the typical seating plan. At present all the children sit, facing the board. A flexible seating plan which has students sitting in a circle or in groups shall be introduced.
- Fifth, schools will need to embrace a variety of teaching and learning materials. For that, methods such as toys, puppets, magazines, worksheets, comic and storybooks, nature walks, visits to local crafts, etc. are useful.
- Last, assessment should only be viewed as a means of learning. The NEP would help in including more in depth knowledge with fewer curriculums, less content but more proficiency, less textbooks but more diverse learning, less stress but more joy, less assessment by the teacher but more self and peer evaluation.
The way forward
- A lot of research shows that a supportive environment is one in which a child is constantly learning to collaborate, think critically, solve problems, be creative and articulate.
- NEP 2020 wants to break the belief that taking exams on the basis of what is written in textbooks is sufficient. Examination results do not reflect the full potential or uniqueness of a child.