What is the point of education

This article was written by a 16 year for NDTV (India)

I am a 16-year-old-student, about to begin class XII, and I’m preparing for all the engineering entrance exams for 2013. I have been sure of my career choice for nearly four years now, and have always enjoyed learning and building my knowledge. Here is my opinion on the change in the IIT  (Indian Institutes of Technology) entrance pattern, as well as the years that build up to taking these examinations.

The Indian Institutes of Technology are India’s pride, the apple of the Indian eye. They are revered for the standards they have set for Indian education. Respect is synonymous with IIT, because every Indian knows the levels of effort put in, and knowledge attained, by individuals who make it to the IITs.

Today, we are talking of changing the system of selecting students who deserve to enter these institutes. We are debating and shouting and screaming and slamming. Slamming each other, the government, the ministries, the school education system, and the coaching classes. And in a gigantic oversight, we have failed to analyse a major body of individuals – us, the students. Read more…

In today's issue of 'The  Hindu'

The joy of reaching their dream destination is turning out to be a short-lived one, apparently due to a faulty training system that only prepares students to enter the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

The suicide of an IIT Kanpur student, Vaditya Nehru, has once again brought to fore the pressure on State students to perform at the IITs. It has also exposed the mismatch of quality of training they get at the Intermediate level and the stringent academic standards maintained at the institutes.

The rote mode of learning and getting trained to crack the IIT-JEE are the banes, apart from the inability to handle the pressure in such a competitive atmosphere. Read more…

While the above articles refer to higher education system in India, in my previous post, I had referred to a few articles on child education, which also raises the question ‘what is to learn’. Here in the UK, at the Institute of Education, there was a similar debate organised by BBC Radio4, which can be listened by clicking on the picture below.

John Humphrys asks leading educational, political and social thinkers of our generation how WHAT WE TEACH today will shape Britain in the 21st century. What should we teach? What is worth knowing? How do we recognise an educated person in the 21st Century. Radio 4’s John Humphrys puts these questions to a panel of experts including.  Anthony Seldon  – Master of Wellington CollegeIram Siraj-Blatchford  – Institute of EducationMatthew Taylor  – Chief Executive Royal Society of Arts Estelle Morris –  former Education Secretary and Institute of Effective Education Rachel Wolf, Director New Schools Network
In ‘Existentialism in the classroom‘ written by Dr. Emery in 1971, a teacher from Arizona State University, Tempe, he writes
  1. A good teacher is first and foremost a person, and this fact is the most important and determining thing about him. A good teacher is not one who behaves in any certain way but who makes the best use of his own unique personality
  2. The existentialist teacher should have a rich, extensive, and available field of perception about the subject matter for which he is responsible. Teachers should have the most accurate understandings available about people and behaviours of people.
  3. Teachers should be interested in knowing each of their  students and each of their peers very well.
  4. Encourage experimentation,Value openness, flexibility, and  individuality, Encourage communication and problem solving, Encourage differences, uniqueness, and integrity, Encourage cooperation through interaction,Trust the students, Give them a wide variety of choices, Provide an atmosphere that accepts fantasy and fun, Provide an atmosphere of acceptance
  5. Let education be the discovery of responsibility! (Van Cleve Morris)
  6. The teacher’s function is to assist each student personally in his search for authentic self-realization
  7. Betrayal should be avoided. Every act of failure to stay with universal values (freedom, love, beauty, justice, and truth) is a form of betrayal
Training 21st century teachers

As the Director of Educational Innovation at Peer-Ed, a Seattle, Washington based educational training company, Les is the creator of a program focused on training teachers and leaders to help their colleagues integrate technology into the 21st Century classroom. Microsoft has partnered with Peer-Ed and has implemented this program in 48 different countries. Les also designed and led learning activities at each of Microsoft’s Worldwide Innovative Teachers Forums, and at regional Innovative Teachers Forums in Asia, Latin America, the U.S. and Canada as well as speaking at many other international conferences. Prior to this, Les served as the Director of Instructional Technology for Seattle Public Schools from 1990 to 2001 where he led the development and implementation of the district’s K-12 instructional technology plan. Les earned a Ph.D. in American History and has five years of university teaching experience. Source: YouTube

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