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Education’s Future

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Education is not only about the past and present, but it is also the key to the future. The future seeks skills that we may not know of today. An evolving system and great teachers will be the backbone of an effective education ecosystem.
India has over 1.5 million K–12 schools, with over 250 million students enrolled.
Of this, while 25 percent of India’s schools are private, they enrol over 40 percent of the student population. There is no doubt that the majority of Indians prefer sending their children to a private school over a government school.
India had participated in PISA 2009. The performance of Indian students was abysmally poor and India was ranked 72nd rank among 74 participating count. Then government of India boycotted PISA, blaming “out of context” questions for India’s dismal performance. PISA is the Programme for International Student Assessment that measures 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance in reading, math, and science.
While some people might question the value of these tests, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that our education system has a lot of catching up to do to meet world standards, both in private and public education.
We have some excellent private schools that can compare with top schools of the world, but unfortunately these are tiny islands of excellence, floating on oceans of mediocrity.
How then does a country like India change this? How do we become one of the top-performing education systems of the world? If we really want to leverage the demographic dividend we keep harping about, our 800 million citizens aged under 35 need to be equipped with the resources and skills to take on global, 21st-century challenges.
The world is rapidly becoming a smaller place, metaphorically of course, and our graduates are not going to be competing only with other Indians for jobs but with their counterparts the world over.
The world economy is not going to reward you anymore for what or how much you know but for what you can do with what you know, or how you apply the knowledge that you have! Why?
Thanks to Google, information is a commodity but your skills make you a brand.
The children in schools today will be entering the workforce in the 2030s. Schools are preparing them for their lives 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now. Yet we don’t know what five years from now will look like. The uncertainty is oddly fascinating. The role of educators, more so now than ever in the history of mankind, has become to equip our youth with the resources and skills that will be required to tackle any of life’s challenges head-on.
Keeping the future in mind, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD has officially decided to participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) after a gap of nine years. It will send team of officers to Paris to negotiate India’s terms of participation in PISA 2021. It would be good start.