The Need for Flexible Education System in Manipur

/ Guest Column / Thursday, 08 April 2021 17:23

By: Ch. Dina (Doctor of Education)
Currently teaching in a Thai Government School
Eighty percent of Indian engineer graduates are unemployable (Kondepudi, 2019). Our worst weakness is learning for exams only. Indian students’ dropout rate is alarmingly high that 70% of students dropped outin Jharkhand (Radhakrishnan, 2019). The situation is rather worse in Manipur thatin tribal villages,74.3% of girls and75.7% of boys in class I-VIII dropped out from schools based on the 2010-2011 report (Maningba, et al., 2020). This is the consequence of education policy, restraint from policymakers and educators.I have seen for a long time that no student hardly failed in Thailand. This is due to the systematic design to improve education. Please, do not conclude that no failing policy of students degrade education. Harsh competition, strict exams will not improve human resources. We see a good example from Finland’s win-win education policy with less competition that everyone is winner rather than selecting top-ranking achievers in our system. Education must be for all, not for the good achiever in the exam. We must focus on all in their suitable smart areas. We expect only exam scores. If students passan exam with a good score, that is it in our present system. This is the wrong approach. We count and praise top-ranking students only. A better education system focuses on education for all and participation is more important than taking exams and passed only. The better system hasa flexible learning approach. On the other hand, we have an outdated policy. We shouldn’t count only on 2-3 civil service exam passed candidates. We need mass education, mass trainingfor farmerswho represent mostly in the society rather than too much focus on 2-3 officers. But a serious problem to bring such changes is the restraint from educators and policymakers knowingly or unknowingly. We need multiple approachesto education. One approach will not work, therefore we need different approaches. For this generation of digital native and Gen-Z, we need to appreciate different education policies to improve skills with different approaches such as:-
1. Online Education. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, lately,the online class has been approved. However, till now, online courses/certificates/degrees courses were not accepted in mainstream education. We should consider such an approach from lower grade level to higher education. This will help to expand our education.
2. Homeschooling.In some countries, students are allowed to learn with parents at home. Likewise, there are cases that learners are given recognition through community learning centers as formal or informal learning. It is time we introduce and recognize homeschooling.It will expand education.
3. Flexibility. Our education is strictly based on exams and scores only. In the USA, in GED-test, (General Educational Development Test)when one subject is passed, that particular subject will be exempted in the next exam because that subject is already qualified. In Our present system, students must repeat except when only very few subjects are failed (as compartment exam). Such a whole process repeating kills the interest of failed candidates. This discourages mass education.
4. Train-All. We select only a few students in almost all subject areas. We try to control not to claim government jobs. We should remove this feeling. If all the students are interested in agriculture, we should train all to become successful farmers. Likewise, if students like to learn engineering subjects, they should be given this chance. Such an approach will help to run their DIY (Do It Yourself) job. Many Thai students want to be engineeringstudents and they are given that facility. It is time we train all for a DIY job.
5. Improve Exam.In many countries, participation and involvement in learning are important. Our system heavily depends on the scores of the exam only. In Thailand,the exam is very flexible. If one student cannotreach the exam hall due to a road accident, he can take the exam another day with an appointment with the subject teacher. Lately, one Burmese student was threatened to fail if he could not arrive at university in the USA. There was a huge backlash against the professor. This means students are allowed to appear exam with an appointment. In our system, we do not consider sucha flexible approach. So, at every stage, we try to cut the career of the students. Such an Indian education approach is effective to filter our students, not bringing them up. After all, education should be training to support individuals in whatever possible ways.
6. Supporting Talent. If a kid has talent in a particular area, support him/her. If he is a smart physically, good football player, smart at weight lifting, encourage him/her in that talent. Don’t let such kid fail. Mathematics, physics, or chemistry might not be his career. Let us support his/her talent. In our present system, if they failed in the major subject, he/she will be out of school even if such students are excel in a particular field outside school subject.
It is time to support skills needed in a practicable and usefulness in one’s own survival. Educators need to look at a new perspective. It is wrong to consider math, chemistry, and physicsonly as career. Support any kind of skills even outside school subject as a career path of the individuals. Do not fail students when they fail physics, chemistry or biology. Just putting them without failing will make them able to read, write and do basic math for daily need.
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