Lockdown, a golden opportunity for education, said Secretary CBSE

“Sa Vidya ya Vimuktaye” Education is one that liberates. Through which we can get rid of slavery of disease, bereavement, malice, sin, humiliation, servitude, poverty, unemployment, deprivation, ignorance, evil, bad manners etc. It is the one that lets us gain wisdom, values and skills. It makes us aware of humbleness, fitness, tolerance, discretion, politeness, reverence, courage, service and helping others.

In ancient times, this education was acquired on the basis of direct evidence, experience, action and learning and not through rote learning. Necessary, useful and skillful education was given to every child to lead a life. Scholars of Philosophy, Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Astronomy, Geology, Life Science, Chemistry, Craft, Vastu, Artha, Niti, Dharma etc. used to be everywhere who imparted experiential education in these subjects in a functional way. At that time India used to be a “A Golden Bird”. It used to be the jewel crest of the trade and the studies.

Today’s school education is imparting knowledge but is not able to develop skills. It is trying to build character but is not able to inculcate values. It gives 100% marks but is not able to develop creativity. The gap between school education and practical life is constantly increasing. Most of the children are trying their luck in jobs in which they never had any interest. This situation hinders the development of both society and the nation.

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After all, why is this situation?
When all the policy documents of our National Education Policy, National Curriculum Framework, NCERT, CBSE and Academic Bodies emphasize that education should be experiential, practical, ethical, experimental, skillful, enjoyable and employment oriented, so why are things not being realized on the ground? It is also necessary to mention here that the same basic subjects are taught in most countries of the world that are on highest pedestal of education as being taught in India. So where is the deficiency? Where is the gap? where is the problem? In fact, the real game here is about the methods of teaching and learning. It is about the teaching-learning process. It is about the Curriculum. It is about the pedagogy. We insist on teaching, they insist on learning of things. We emphasize on content; they emphasize on the learning outcome. We emphasize on knowledge; they emphasize
on the use of knowledge.

The real game changer here is “Teacher”. A qualified, trained, passionate, affectionate and a teacher who loves his/her profession can shift the paradigm of the entire Indian education system. The role of society, government, schools and teachers themselves will be very important in it.

This time of “lockdown” has brought golden opportunity to children, teachers and parents. Everyone has unlimited time, lab like home and all the resources of the world readily available on the Internet. The entire house can be a learning center for children. E-classes, projects, activities, fun, games, video shoots and a lot of such activities can enable them get rid of rot learning. This is a golden opportunity for teachers to upgrade themselves. They can specialize in the field of on-line teaching, e-content, self-creation of videos, lesson plans and assignments. Parents can use these moments to play with children, make friendship, provide them emotional support, develop habits and artistic skills, give time in the kitchen and spend quality time with the family.

Let’s focus this discussion on children and talk to them. We know that after hard work and study throughout the year, these months are for your fun. This is the time when you are engaged with friends throughout the day.

When you plan to spend the holidays with parents. When you get attracted mostly towards parks, cinema halls, sports complexes, summer camps, malls, water parks and friends’ homes. Dear children, we know that due to the “corona” pandemic, the whole country has “lockdown” itself. Closed in the walls of the house, not only will you be bored, but you will also be getting upset for not meeting friends. Some children will also be confused due to not being able to take all the exams.

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Every situation brings an opportunity. This unlimited time at home due to “lockdown” is no less than a boon for you. Here your dreams can fly high without any pressure of school and home. There will not be golden opportunity like this again to fulfill your hobbies and interests. You can choose the path to a new future by sharpening your talent, skills and abilities.

Let us discuss the small things that you can do. Start your morning with light physical exercises, meditation and yoga. After stretching and joint movements, take your attention for five to ten minutes on breathing and flow of thoughts. If possible, do this activity with closed eyes. While having good memories in this process of meditation, feel gratitude towards parents, God and Gurus. This ten to twenty-minute activity will not only give you physical and mental comfort but will also help in increasing your concentration, creativity, discipline, patience and memory. You will feel that your stress, anger and irritation also vanished all of a sudden.

At this time of lockdown, bhaiyas, didis and helpers engaged in housekeeping and other work will not be coming to our homes. Have you ever thought about these people doing domestic work? Would you like it if you had to do the same thing in the house of others? I would say that you should use this golden time to develop your artistic skills and new habits. Clean up your rooms, make bed, clean up bathrooms with your own hands. Remove clothes from the cupboard, wash and dry clothes, polish shoes, dust off copies books etc. This will not only create in you respect for people engaged in labor and hard work, but you will also get physical and mental satisfaction.

You will enjoy it more when you assist parents in the kitchen. In these moments of leisure, you must learn the art of cooking. There will be no limit to your happiness on that day when the whole family sitting at the dining table will be enjoying your hand cooked vegetables, pulses, roti and salad. This habit of yours will not only increase your creativity and experimental skills, but will also make your mood fresh and stress-free. Let me also tell you that most of the people abroad do this work, as the price and respect of labor is very much high there.

After the exams, the children anyhow get involved in all the activities, summer camps, outdoor games, theater, dance, drama and more. I would advise you to satisfy your favorite hobby in these moments of leisure. Nowadays through online classes, you can join music, dance, drama, playing, singing, speech/declamation, theater, dress designing, interior designing, drawing, painting, robotics and other courses. Make small videos of these activities and send them to friends and relatives. Post on the school website as well. Create new lyrics, songs, albums and dialogues using your creativity. Make poems, stories, plays, novels, memoirs, diaries, reportage, jokes, speeches and songs while sharpening your literary talent. These activities not only increase your creativity, sensitivity, festivity, tolerance and humanity but also eliminate (the feeling of) violence, stress, depression and frustrations. I have a strong belief that if our children top the studies as well as be writers, artists and craftsmen, then education will accomplish its ultimate objective.

The 21st century is a century of capacity building and skill development. Use this time of “lockdown” to exploit your abilities and develop 21st century skills. Gone are the times when children who brought in 100 out of 100 were the most promising. Skills have now replaced the numbers. Companies and organizations all over the world are now looking for innovators, creators, collaborators, communicators, thinkers, analyzers, leaders, and workers with social skills.

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I will appeal to children, parents, and teachers to use this time to develop their  abilities. I request parents and their schools to involve children in activities that can develop communication skills, leadership, and team spirit. The 21st century skills can be fully developed through theater, drama, role play, storytelling, reading, writing, games, etc. Create and play scenes of mini-parliament, court, press conference, panchayat, chaupal, classroom, hospital, post office, factory, marketing, sales and bazaar scenes at home. Improve your performance again and again by recording their videos. I will also request you to definitely promote research in area of your interest. In this holiday situation, there must be some innovation / invention. Only your small experiments will later make you stand in the queue of Edison and Einstein.

The whole world remembers the 21st century as the digital revolution. To succeed in this world and stay on top, you have to keep yourself updated with changing technology every moment. This time of “lockdown” can be best utilized by using digital means.

At present, most of the CBSE schools in the country have started online classes. CBSE has launched e-content in most of subjects on theDiksha platform of HRD Ministry. There are many such platforms like Google Classroom, Khan Academy, Byju’susing which schools and children have started their studies.

On this occasion, I will appeal to both children and teachers to immediately send projects, assignments, activities and e-content to children through online medium so that children can utilize them in maximum. I would also like to inform the children that the HRD Ministry has provided digital learning material and opportunities through the Swayam Portal and Swayam Prabha Channel. Turning this difficult time into an opportunity, we should turn every house into a learning and skill center. The country, which is struggling with schools, teachers and lack of good education, should take advantage of this opportunity and rise from the physical classroom and promote digital classroom instantaneously. Imagine when an excellent teacher is teaching thousands of children simultaneously through the digital classroom, then the shortage of books, content, schools and good teachers will be over forever.

Let us take advantage of the opportunity of lockdown and give the children a chance to smile and realize the dream of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author Anurag Tripathi, Secretary, CBSE. The matter and intent of this article has not been edited by theedupress.com. The EduPress shall not be responsible for any damage if caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly.)