Do away with rote method of teaching; Vice President

File Photo
File Photo : Image for representational purpose only

 The Vice President of India, Shri M Venakaiah Naidu has called upon teachers to do away with rote method and make class-room learning an interesting and enjoyable experience. He wanted teachers to use technology to update and hone the skills of students instead of making learning a mechanical exercise.

Shri Naidu also said that there was a need for teachers to provide examples of real life situations to enable better understanding by the students.

Addressing the gathering after laying the foundation stone for Dr. S. Radhakrishnan auditorium at Regional Institute of Education, Mysuru today, and Shri Naidu said that the goal of education was not merely to get employment but it must lead to enlightenment and empowerment of the individual by fostering humane qualities.

Pointing out that technology could merely aid in faster acquisition of knowledge, Shri Naidu opined that it was only through human touch that a change in the attitude of students could be brought about for the larger good of the society.

The Vice President stressed that maintaining high standards of teaching were as important as imparting right values and moulding students into responsible and socially-conscious citizens.

Saying that Indian education system was passing through a critical phase as it strives to achieve quality and equity for all, Shri Naidu opined that it was time to focus on educational transaction that happens within the classroom.

Observing that character-building and strong grounding in India’s culture, history, traditions and customs have to be essential components of the education system, the Vice President said that it was important to accept good things from different quarters, and remain rooted to India’s past.

Referring to India’s revered Guru ShishyaParampara, Shri Naidu said that it sustained and a healthy understanding between teacher and pupil and also helped in the all round development of the student.

The Governor of Karnataka, Shri VajubhaiVala, Prof. H.K Senapati, Director NCERT, Prof. Y Sreekanth, Principal, and Regional Institute of Education were in attendance.

The following is the full text of the speech:

At the outset, I am delighted to have laid the foundation stone for Dr. S. Radhakrishnan auditorium at this institute. The former President was a great believer in the true emancipation of an individual through education and said: “The importance of education is not only in knowledge and skill, but it is to help us to live with others.” 

Dear sisters and brothers,

The Indian education system is passing through a critical phase today as we strive towards quality and equity for all in the era of globalization.

We have made huge progress in school, teacher and higher education. The enrolment rates have increased significantly, the infrastructure facilities have improved tremendously and now it is time for us to focus on educational transaction that happens within the classroom.

Expectations are immense from the teaching community to not only maintain high standards of teaching but also impart right values and mould students into responsible and socially-conscious citizens.  The Education commission (1964-66) professed that, “The destiny of India is now being shaped in her classrooms”. The National Policy on Education 1986 emphasized: “The status of the teacher reflects the socio-cultural ethos of the society; it is said that no people can rise above the level of its teachers”. So, the role of teacher is central to shaping the future citizens of the country.

Are we preparing our children to be merely successful each year in the annual examinations? Is it not equally important to prepare them to face various challenges in life by providing them with the requisite life-skills?  While making students to excel in academics, the focus has to be to be on overall personality development. At the same time, each student’s individual brilliance must be allowed to shine.

Character-building and strong grounding in India’s culture, history, traditions and customs have to be essential components of the education system. No doubt, we need to accept all that is good from different quarters, but we have to remain rooted to our past. We need to introspect, rejuvenate and move ahead by introducing changes in accordance with the changing times.

The goal of education is not merely to get employment. Rather, it should lead to enlightenment and empowerment of the individual by fostering humane qualities. As Dr SarvepalliRadhakrishnan has said ‘knowledge gives us power, love gives us fullness’. We should have concern not only for Homo sapiens but all living beings and nature. This universal message is explicitly contained in India’s age-old world view of ‘Sarve Jana SukhinoBhavanthu and VasudaivaKutumabakam’.

As stated earlier, the role of teacher is crucial in building a literate, enlightened and humane society. The teacher is the guru, mentor, guide, friend and philosopher of the student. In fact, the Guru-Shishyaparampara of the ancient Gurukul system encapsulated this philosophy. While technology has greatly enhanced teaching-learning processes in today’s world, it can never replace the Guru, who is an embodiment of knowledge and wisdom.  

It should be noted that a teacher’s role will never get diminished by technology. While technology can aid in faster acquisition of knowledge, it is only through human touch that a change in the attitude of students for the larger good of the society can be brought about. The Gurukul system of education, the Guru-Shishyaparampara did provide for long, sustained and a healthy understanding between teacher and pupil. In Gurukula, the Guru would impart education for the all-round development of children and graduate them only after ensuring that the learners have mastered the skills that were expected of them. That is how Dronacharya trained Arjuna to be an archer rather than wrestler.

After parents, teachers play the most important role in guiding the pupils on the right path and in inculcating values that will hold them in good stead all through their lives. As such, teachers not only need to update their skills and hone their abilities, but must also make class-room learning an interesting and enjoyable experience to the students. An important step in this direction would be to do away with rote method of learning.

I have been advocating the need for revamping the education system, including the school education content. Teaching and learning should not be mechanical and there is a need for teachers to provide examples of real life situations to enable better understanding by the students.    

I am happy to note that in order to train teachers at different levels, 31 Institutes of Advanced Studies in Education (IASEs), 104 Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs) and 571 District Institutes of Education and Training were sanctioned under the centrally-sponsored scheme of the Ministry of Human Resources Development.

 I am sure that the draft National Policy on Education, which is being debated, will pave the way for a resurgent educational system that contributes for the prosperity and well-being of all our people. In this context, it is important to note that the quality of learning is determined primarily by teacher competence, skills, commitment and motivation.  The academic and professional standards of teachers constitute a critical component of the essential learning conditions for achieving the educational goals.

The social and the professional relevance of teacher preparation programmes, the curriculum, teaching methods, procedures, infrastructure facilities and availability of technological and teaching resources need to be thoroughly examined from time-to-time.  As the teacher functions within the broad framework of the school education system – its goals, curricula, materials and methods– the teacher preparation programmes should be in tune with the changes envisaged or implemented at school level.

I am sure that the teacher education system through its pre-service and continuing professional development programmes will ensure an adequate supply of professionally competent teachers. A teacher needs to be prepared in relation to the needs and demands arising in the school context.  So, the teachers must be innovative and competent enough to face the challenges of the modern society.

The new age teacher not only has to be up to date on teaching and learning methods, but also has to actively participate in the preparation of syllabi, textbooks and teaching-learning materials. Such a role requires the teacher to be equipped with an adequate understanding of curriculum, subject-content and pedagogy, on the one hand, and the community and school structures and management, on the other.

Teachers should be able to make connections with children and respond to their needs in imaginative ways. They need to be creators of knowledge, value what children learn from their home, social and cultural environment and create opportunities for children to discover, learn and blossom to their full potential.

Education is not a mechanical activity of information transmission and learning cannot be confined to the four walls of the classroom. In order to extend learning beyond class rooms, there is a need for teachers to connect knowledge to life outside the school and enrich the curriculum by making it less textbook-centred.  As stated by Dr.Radhakrishnan : “The end product of education should be a free creative man, who can battle against historical circumstances and adversities of nature”.

Teachers must be encouraged to use forums to exchange ideas, information and experiences including web-based portals. At the same time, there should be transparent systems for ensuring accountability of school teachers.

 

Both pre-service and in-service training of teachers is a major area of concern at present. Pre-service training needs to be improved and differently regulated both in government sectors and private institutions, while systems for in-service training require expansion and major reform.

 Parents are important stakeholders in education and they should be made aware of the importance and scope of education. Thrusting parental ambitions on children and pressurizing them to excel all the time are not healthy developments in the society. Students should be allowed to be creative and innovative. Also, judicious use of electronic gadgets is necessary for productive time management.

Before conclusion, I call upon our teachers to strive collectively in making India the knowledge and innovation hub of the 21st century.

 

Jai Hind!