SRINAGAR, MAY 28: Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar today said the Government’s mission of resurrecting the education sector in the State revolves around three fundamental elements – the pupil, the teacher and the curriculum. He said a beginning has been made and there will be tangible movement forward in the coming days and months with perceptible transformation of schooling.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the 3-day workshop on “Quality Education in J&K – Challenges and Ways Forward”, the Minister said that unfortunately over a period of time the education system has been shaped in a way that discourages quality learning and the mindset that governs thinking and the actions of the functionaries of education sector are to somehow manage the Naukari. He said the real education has to draw out the best from the pupils to be educated with emphasis on substantial improvement in quality of education to achieve essential levels of learning. “What kind of curricular content and institutional experiences will develop these qualities is what will have to be worked out seriously, with care and in detail in this workshop,” he said and added that a similar workshop on need for revisiting the existing system of examinations will be held at Jammu.
Akhtar said although J&K has the best talent – both among teachers and students – available in the government-run schools, only thing lacking is an enabling environment and requisite motivation. He said the challenge lies in creating and sustaining teacher motivation and inquisitiveness among students. “At the same time the curriculum has to be revisited to imbibe local needs and job-intensive skills so that we produce enterprisers and not school pass-outs who hanker after daily-wage jobs,” he said and added that under the new initiative the Education Department would encourage community-based and school-based projects for work experience, associate local artisans/workmen in school activities, give primacy to cultural activities, art, sports, etc, ensure regular content based and motivational training for teachers, and look upon quality improvement as integral to holistic school improvement programme.
Akhtar said the Department would also encourage teachers to frequently interact with pedagogy experts and other teacher educators to develop useful learning approaches for children. “The diversity of learning environments and learning approaches should be encouraged and teachers should have the freedom to experiment on a much larger scale with innovative ideas,” he said and added that effective interface of teachers and teacher educators is critical for developing a context specific intervention.
Akhtar said study tours and academic exchanges of students and teachers will be encouraged and NGOs with experience in pedagogy will be associated in developing capacity among teachers and students for innovative practices. He said the Department has already begun the process of introducing localized vocational courses in the educational institutions to produce enterprising human resource.
“While job-intensive courses like boutique technology, papier machie, food technology are being introduced in educational institutions in Kashmir, similarly courses on Basohli paintings, medical and aromatic plants and other such localized skills would be introduced in the educational institutions of Jammu region,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Education and Information, Priya Sethi said that State has faced tremendous challenges in every field of life during the past and the education sector was most affected during the period. She said the present government has flagged this sector on priority and focused attention is being paid to provide quality education to the students.
Giving an overview of the workshop, Prof Anita Rampal, professor at Delhi University’s department of education, said it is essential that teachers, especially of smaller children, be professionally trained.
“Just knowing a subject or being a graduate is not sufficient qualification to become a school teacher. You need to be trained in understanding the learning process of children, their diversity, and you need to develop necessary teaching skills under trained supervision,” she said and added that private schools enroll students by choosing all criteria, including their parent’s qualifications, thereby ignoring dull students and then brag about better results.
She also underlined the need for bringing a change in the perception of teachers to motivate all students, including average and lower average students towards achieving excellence in their education. She said the real problem of children is not being dropout but being pushed out. “It is the system which pushes them out. Education can only be fruitful when the combined responsibility is bore by the parents and the community members,” she said.
According to Prof Rampal, Kendriya Vidyalayas are best in targeting inequality and discrimination among the various social and cultural categories of children.
The workshop is being organised by the Directorate of School Education, Kashmir, in collaboration with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education (JKBOSE) at Banquet Hall.