During most parent-teacher meetings or when parents meet other parents, they have a common topic to discuss – the education system. It is often a conversation had by adults and for the adult understanding only. INNOVATION It is rarely a conversation that asks a child what would be the best way for him or her to learn. Our education system is in a crisis, is the best opening line for most of these conversations. It is uttered very casually without taking into account of all the developments the education system has undergone. In fact, most of these conversations turn towards – when we were in school, our education system was different and more tough.

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In those times” is a common phenomena that is very vividly explained by Steven Pinker in his recent book Enlightenment Now, where he discusses that we often dwell in the past and its good memories because we believe that the present is bad. When in reality the present is more advanced than it was back then, there are less epidemics, there is more literacy than before and so on. We need to factor in the fact that education plays a big role in development and progress of the community and country, consequently the world in general.

Even still, when we look at our neighbours children we often wonder if they’re as smart as we used to be. The answer is, they are. They learn what is relevant to their times while we learned what was relevant to our times. We were subject to the chalk-and-talk methodology of teaching while now it is the technologically advanced way of learning. Most schools and local bodies are making today’s children more smart by giving them the power to question instead of simply listening and agreeing to what is being taught.

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Many schools around India are helping children discover theories, scientific experimentations and even supporting them in applying their skills after they have been introduced to a concept. This helps children develop their thinking and learn by observing than just listening. It is important to allow children to make mistakes while they apply their skills. Mistakes give them an opportunity to correct themselves. Mistakes lead to innovation and creative application.

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At the same time, many children have been reported for depression, lack of interest, attention deficit, low confidence and even boredom. This is unfortunately because we, as adults and especially parents, transfer our stress and fear of failure on to the children. We refuse to be imaginative and strain the children to part-take in factory-driven methodology of education. It is our solely responsibility to make the process learning and school-going a fun and enjoyable thing. Pass grades and a compulsion on knowing certain things creates a stressful environment for children. Instead of being motivated to do better and trying new things children tend to close down and become stubborn in their learning process. Parents involvement is equally essential in the holistic upbringing of the child. They need to encourage children at home to have hands-on experiences, which help children communicate effectively and introduce them to numerous possibilities of one concept.

Similarly, teachers in schools can spark curiosity among their pupils, nurture their skills and give more confidence. Our country is blessed with passionate teachers who also take rigorous training schedules to ensure engagement and constructive hands-on experiences for pupils. There are many experiential training programs as well that are contributing largely towards innovation in education in India.

Learning is best done with an open mind and without any external influence. Innovation doesn’t require a big investment but it is the requirement of creativity and a simplistic way of creating more value in education.

Contributed by Vinay Aranha ,Director,Rosary School,Pune

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