Right To Experiences: SKG Curriculum For Life Learning

Here goes the break-up of the life learning curriculum for preschool. After the right to play – the nursery curriculum and the right to nature – the LKG curriculum, the third in line is the right to experiences – the SKG curriculum.

The child has learnt to walk and talk. The child moves around and explores. What does he/she do? He/she wants to touch everything in sight, feel it, smell it, hear it, taste it and try to memorize the experiences. The child has learnt through exploration and experience, fun and joy. So, peculiar of a child. Well, every adult knows it.

Fast forward to a preschool. The child is closeted in a room. Nothing novel to see, feel, taste, smell. Well, there’s a lot to hear – but of the same variety, instructions and instructions. No new sounds as such. There is nothing to memorize apart from the repetitive rhymes. The child has learnt through rote and ramming, dull and joyless. So, peculiar of an adult. Well, no child knows it.

Cut the sarcasm. We, adults, know that kids learn through exploration and experiences. We, adults, also have the reluctance to put the knowledge into practice. Wonder why? And, that’s precisely the reason for the right to experiences, the SKG curriculum.

Right To Experiences: Hands-On and Experiential Learning

The kids have to be taught about service providers, the modes of transport, the materials – what better than live-action? The kids have to be taught about hard skills and soft competencies – what better than hands-on? To introduce farms and factories, markets and shops, scientists and researchers, potters and weavers, politicians and criminals – what better than experiential?

The child is imaginative and creative. The child is curious and inquisitive. He/she wants to put all the sensory organs and the mind to use. He/she isn’t stuck to the notion of being a know-it-all and is receptive to ideas. What is better to enrich the child and the child’s learning – hands-on experiences or circle time/charts/apps?

Well, the adults will ask adult questions. They will have doubts about the practical applications and not the theoretical discourse. So, here we go, hands-on.

Is The Right To Experiences Really Learning?

As an adult, what do you remember of your childhood days? What are your memories of picking up useful learning as a kid? As a parent, when/where/how do you see your child learning? What do you think your kid is going to carry with him/her as lifelong lessons? The answer will only be one – Hands-on/Experiential.

The child’s learning from the right to experiences, the SKG curriculum is real. It will not just make him/her school-ready, rather it will prepare him/her for life. The child learns wisdom and good judgment, not just rhymes and riddles, with seeing and feeling, perceiving and understanding. And, that’s what real learning is meant to be, not just for the next 3 years, but for the next 30 years.

Is It Safe?

India is no country to raise daughters. India is a difficult country to raise kids. We lock the children, as the Covid-19 lockdown showed that children parks were the last to open and the schools are not even close to opening full-strength. Going by these measures, the right to experiences has no likelihood of coming into existence. So, how do we go about doing it?

We make the right to experiences, the SKG curriculum a collective responsibility of the country. The departmental store staff/policemen – the organized workforce will have in his/her appraisal a criterion of how many kids came for an experiential visit. The factory/restaurant/roadside kiosk/kirana stores – the unorganized workforce will get a badge of honour for the number of kids visiting their workplace.

As the acceptance and visibility of the right to experiences increases, as the number of children going around increases, the safety for the children will only enhance. Society’s peer pressure will work. More so, the responsibility of setting an example for the country’s future generations when everyone around is watching will ensure civilized behaviour from the adults.

Is It Expensive?

The unregulated private preschools are all-ready expensive. Well, they ought to be. Why would you think KKR acquired Eurokids for Rs. 1475 Crore? Not for the kid’s learning, but for X times the taking. The private preschools focus on owner’s and franchise’s returns than the child’s learning. For once, they need to be held to task and parents can ask for a right to experiences as a value for their fees.

For the abysmal anganwadis, it is time the Government goes beyond ensuring the mere survival of kids. Anganwadis were set up in 1975 and they still operate in the same dingy room, with the same Jurrasic-era objectives. It is utter nonsense, like the NCERT syllabus and the CBSE syllabus. For once, the Government should put its money for some real benefits to the children.

Vis-a-vis the yields, the price for the right to experiences is an investment well-made.

A Statutory Warning

A few smart preschools and even the New Education Policy talks about experiential learning. Just put them through the open-air test. Right to experiences won’t and can’t happen in the closed confines of the four walls of the preschool. If there is not a whiff of fresh air, a stirring sight, potpourri of tastes, multiple textures – it is just a play of words – jargon/pulling wool over the parents’ eyes.

So goes above the right to experiences, the SKG curriculum. My wife and I are trying it out for our twin daughters. It does make for a fascinating and yes, bumpy ride too. We are not having economies of scale with two children, hence getting limited. Let’s see how we can proceed.

What are your thoughts on this subject?  What experiences for your children and how?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Right To Nature: LKG Curriculum For Life Learning

Here goes the break-up of the life learning curriculum for preschool. After the nursery curriculum of right to play, second up is the Right To Nature, LKG curriculum for life learning.

What is in abundance all around the child? What has the most teaching potential for the child? Also, the most neglected? What is it that will never cease to amaze the child and always keep the inner child alive? What is free, hands-on and amenable to an individual child’s pace? Also, that an adult fails to understand in any manner possible and takes for granted? NATURE.

It feels strange that nature has to be introduced to children, but that’s what it has come to be. Rather, there will be arguments why it is unneeded for kids and is just a silly wasteful idea with no real learning potential. Or maybe the empty boasts that it is/has been done, just that the child is unaware. And, that’s precisely the reason for Right To Nature, the LKG curriculum for life learning.

What Is Nature

Seemingly needless, but it is necessary to agree on what is nature. Else, we, the adults, can very well say that nature is too far and expensive to reach, hence let’s drop the idea. We might as well classify four walls of the classroom as nature, hence the mission accomplished to acquaint kids with nature. Or, call once in a while visit to a manicured lawn of a park/gated community as nature. No, it is not.

Nature does not exist in an isolated faraway place but is all around us. Anything untouched/not invented by mankind is nature. So, all kinds of pollution, air-conditioned buildings, screens, internet, vehicles etc are out. All kinds of plants and trees, insects and bugs, birds and butterflies, clouds and wind, bushes and shrubs, stones and pebbles, clouds and wind, mud and soil are in – Nature.

Why Right To Nature

Right to nature sounds like a theoretical discourse, heavy and hopeless. You may ask – what’s in it for children? This doesn’t make a child school-ready or prepare for the entrance exams. What’s there to learn from buds and blooms, mud and water? No preschool ever has nature in its syllabus. A visit here and there to a park suffices to be called an introduction to nature. So, how does it matter?

What is going to be the existential threat for today’s children in their lifetime? Climate change. What are we leaving as our legacy to future generations? Polluted Earth. We, the adults, have created and perpetuated the problem and we aren’t going to solve it. The solution, if at all, has to come from today’s kids when they go on to become adults themselves.

As adults, apart from lip service, have we learnt anything from nature? Do we consider nature even worthwhile to get involved with, apart from exploitation, of course? We live our lives flouting all the elements of nature. If our kids also happen to be like us, they have had it. We can’t repair the damage we have done to nature, but at the least, we can make our children aware of nature.

Hence, the right to nature, LKG curriculum for life learning. Catch the children young and see them grow and learn with nature, not just for the unit tests 3 years down the line but for the tests of life, 30 years and beyond. And being an ally of nature, all along. This might give them a better chance of survival on Mother Earth.

The Learning From Nature

Nature has enough and more than any man-made curriculum to engage and involve the child and for the kid to learn from and about. Be it the soft skills of compassion and empathy or the hard-wired proficiency in maths and science, nature has it all for the child. What’s more, it is age-appropriate for a preschool kid and will be a life-long companion through adult life.

Difficult to believe? Why do you think we do not feel hurt when we see the trees getting cut? How is it that we care more about the OTT shows but not the air quality we breathe? Why are we fine with a complete lack of native Indian trees around us? Because we weren’t sensitized to nature when we were kids. We missed out on a life-time of learning with plants, i.e. nature.

Imagine a child getting introduced to seeding and seeing a plant grow, tending to an animal who has lost a leg, playing with mud and giving shapes to the thoughts. It is for certain that this child when goes on to become an adult will have superior sensitivities and sensibilities than us, the parents, the adults. Even for the STEM-obsessed, nature has to offer the most, only if given a chance.

 Right To Nature: LKG Curriculum

How to envisage putting the right to nature, LKG curriculum for life learning in action? NCERT preschool curriculum is a letdown, unregulated preschools don’t care and the rigid education establishment won’t see beyond the entrance exams.  The adults are supposed to decide and we don’t have a clue on how to go about it. What and how to introduce kids when we are unaware?

A starting point is to admit our slip, leave kids alone with the elements of nature and hopefully, the learning will come through. There aren’t going to be any worksheets, texts or screens. Yes, a lot of questioning by the kids has to be backed by the all-around efforts by the adults to answer and allow the kids to be hands-on and open-ended, curious and experiential, playful and free.

Unless the right to nature, LKG curriculum for life learning comes through, Mother Earth is going to be scorched with the threats of climate change and so will be the futures of our children.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

CBSE Syllabus: Disadvantages For Parents And Children, Advantages For Schools And Publishers

NCERT syllabus is pre-historic and aimless. But, it does exist. CBSE syllabus is even worse off. It is non-existent and a free-for-all. On the face of it, the students seemingly study and of course, get through the entrance exams. However, CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers, are massive.

The Non-Existent CBSE Syllabus

CBSE is the Central Board of Secondary Education, a legacy of the British era, set up in 1929. CBSE’s only responsibility is to conduct exams of XII and X and give affiliation to schools for just these two exams. CBSE does not get into the syllabus. That’s not the job of CBSE at all. It has no say in the syllabus taught in the CBSE affiliated schools.

CBSE does recommend the NCERT syllabus for Board exams, and if there is even one private CBSE-affiliated school that teaches NCERT syllabus then elephants fly, whales walk and birds swim. CBSE has zilch control over the private schools, not just for syllabus but for any purpose – including the fees, teachers’ salaries, management, the weight of school bags etc.

For us, education has become synonymous with exams. The most important exams are the Board exams, XII and X, conducted by CBSE. So, we presume that the syllabus studied for the CBSE exams is the CBSE syllabus. Just that, CBSE has got nothing to do with the syllabus of these exams or for that matter any exam.

CBSE has no association with exams of standards I-IX and XI. Now, because the parents incorrectly presumed the CBSE syllabus for the board exams, the erroneous presumption goes further. And, the syllabus for the other standards also gets called the CBSE syllabus. In reality, the CBSE has no role in the syllabus of I-IX and XI, similar to X and XII.

So, what do the students study? They seem to study quite a lot, after all. Enter the CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers.

Disadvantages For Parents

As adults, parents haggle for discounts all around. When it comes to the child’s syllabus books, there is no discount, only inflated MRPs. The parents’ pay the astronomical sum assuming that the child is getting a quality education and this IS the biggest disadvantage for the parents.

The price of the syllabus in the private CBSE affiliated schools has no link with the learning inside the books. The private publishers’ puts in the stuff irrelevant to the child’s age-appropriateness/real-life learning to make the pages. Simultaneously, they also glaringly miss out on hands-on and experiential life learning syllabus components.

As a result of this purposeless syllabus, the child gets ill-prepared for real life, gets burdened with unnecessary frills and loses out on childhood. And, all the time parents think that their child is being educated. Leave aside value-for-learning as a parents’ notion, the high-priced syllabus is throwing good money for no apparent benefit, rather causing harm to the child.

Advantages For Schools

You get to carry the logo of the Government – CBSE. Nobody will distrust you. You get to flout the CBSE directive of using the NCERT syllabus. Nobody will hold you to task, neither CBSE nor NCERT, rather nobody will even care to know about it. You can sell a syllabus of your liking and at your price. Nobody dares question you.

For the private hospitals, there is a danger of a patient dying and they get bad publicity. For the private schools, there is absolutely no risk. The brain-washed students tell no tales. The gullible parents are at the mercy lest the child’s future will be ruined. No better business in India than running a private CBSE affiliated school.

Advantages For Publishers

There ain’t no regulations, nobody to supervise, no accountability, rather no deliverables, other than the inflated MRPs. The private publishers for the private CBSE affiliated schools have absolute price-control, a monopoly market, loyal customers of unquestioning parents and students, who don’t even know what hit them.

I am not casting any aspersions on private publishers. I am just saying that it is extremely difficult for any business operating in the environment mentioned above to operate in a manner that is beneficial to anyone, other than themselves. There is no incentive at all to let a child be a child and enjoy childhood, rather perverse reasons to burden the child with more and more books.

Disadvantages For Children

The CBSE is pedalling exams, private publishers’ are hawking their syllabus, the schools are merrily collecting their profit margin on the syllabus books, the parents are blissfully unaware that their child has no learning from this purported syllabus. Who the heck is bothered about the child and the child’s learning?

The whole process sucks the childhood out of the children, much before they are ready with no ensuing gain. The kids get locked up in the four walls of the classrooms/screens of the apps as the syllabus keeps multiplying with no learning at the end of it. Can there be any advantages to children in this entire muddle?

The Free-For-All CBSE Syllabus

IGCSE/IB boards endorse their syllabus. CBSE doesn’t bother with such finer points. Hence, the CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers. Of course, the situation is not that dismal as I have made it out to be. It is a work-in-process; we shall surely reach there once, if not now.

We, as a society, care about exams and marks. What importance is a trivial syllabus? CBSE, too, cares about board exams only. What value is getting into a frivolous syllabus? The government of India comes up with a glorious New Education Policy (NEP). Why get hung up about an inconsequential aspect of the syllabus?

In the mean-while, the private publishers and the private CBSE affiliated schools, carry on with their free-for-all syllabus. Our children keep getting educated, wonder how/what is this learning?

What are your views on the subject of the CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

CBSE Syllabus: Non-Existent And Free-For-All

The important aspect of a child’s learning is the syllabus that the child studies. The one that is backed by the Government of India, has a pan-India presence and sets the benchmark is the CBSE syllabus. A parent would presume that the study of the CBSE syllabus leads to success for students in entrance exams. Well, it is spectacularly off the mark. There is nothing called a CBSE syllabus.

CBSE Syllabus: Non-Existent

CBSE is the Central Board of Secondary Education. It was set up by the British in 1929 and is a legacy of the colonial era. CBSE was reconstituted in 1962 and was given the task of instituting an all India Higher Secondary Examination setting up a model that the State Boards might emulate and meet the needs of students whose parents moved from one state to another. That’s about it.

The CBSE’s only responsibility is to conduct exams of XII and X. Now, to conduct exams, students are needed. The schools have the students. So, the CBSE gives affiliations to schools for their students to appear for XII and X – the so-called Board exams. Hence, CBSE’s tasks become two – conducting the two Board exams and giving affiliation to schools for these two exams.

CBSE does not get into the syllabus. That’s not the job of CBSE at all. The tab of the syllabus on CBSE’s website leads to NCERT’s website. For parents, education has become synonymous with exams. The most important exams are the Board exams, which are the CBSE exams. So, we presume that the syllabus studied for the CBSE exams is the CBSE syllabus, which is a misnomer.

It gets even trickier for the standards I-IX. CBSE has got nothing to do with exams of all these. Now, because the parents incorrectly presumed the CBSE syllabus for the board exams, the erroneous presumption goes further. And, the syllabus for the other standards also gets called the CBSE syllabus. In reality, the CBSE has no role in the syllabus or the exams of I-IX.

The Broken Link Of CBSE – Affiliated Schools – NCERT

A parent might think that CBSE is prescribing the NCERT syllabus, which is also a Government of India agency, so it’s fine calling it a CBSE syllabus. After all, what’s in a name? Therein lies the catch. The CBSE recommends the NCERT syllabus. But, the schools don’t need to follow the same.

Wait a moment. This is getting confusing. The schools are CBSE schools and it is expected that they follow a CBSE, ok ok, an NCERT syllabus. And, that CBSE schools are not doing it!!! Well, the base assumption itself is incorrect that these schools are CBSE schools. To be precise, these are CBSE-affiliated schools.

A CBSE-affiliated school means that its students are eligible for CBSE Board exams. That’s it. Nothing more. CBSE has got nothing to do with the fees/academics/functioning of the school in any manner. Yes, CBSE does prescribe the NCERT syllabus. However, the school’s autonomy means that it is free to choose its pedagogical tools and every school does absolutely that.

CBSE lays down affiliation bye-laws and has certain infrastructure requirements. But, it is not compulsory for the schools to follow the NCERT syllabus. Also, CBSE has no control over the school’s management. Rather, the CBSE and the school are unrelated till the X Board exam. So, the school is free to choose its own syllabus. And this is never the NCERT syllabus.

CBSE Syllabus: A Free-For-All

Then, what do the students study in CBSE-affiliated schools? After all, they seem to study quite a lot. And, why can’t it be called a CBSE syllabus?

Several publishers come up with textbooks that are taught in these CBSE-affiliated schools. Each publisher has its own interpretation of the NCERT textbooks and what they want the children to study. The linkage with NCERT is slack and these publishers tend to cover stuff well beyond the NCERT textbooks. They are not bound by the curriculum framework or any such paraphernalia.

As all these publishers have separate versions, with few things in common and few not so, it is chaos. It is a free-for-all. There is no binding together of these disparate textbooks brought into existence by different publishers with varied objectives. Hence, there is nothing called a CBSE syllabus. As these publishers target more than the capability of the child, the students end up studying a lot.

Difficult to believe? What do you think is the price of an NCERT textbook, any subject, from Grade I-VII? It is Rs. 65/-. What is the price of a textbook of any of the private publishers?  It will not be less than Rs. 200/-. At times, it can be even more than Rs. 300/-. Why such a huge price difference? Because there is nothing called a CBSE syllabus and it is a free-for-all.

The Harmful Effects

A parent might tend to believe that as long as the child is learning, how does it matter what syllabus the child is being taught? Why get into the needless detailing? After all, if it has been delivering till now, it should be fine. The mighty Indian education establishment will surely know what it is doing and even the CBSE Board i.e. the Government of India has seemingly no issues with that.

Well, we are made to believe that it works, whereas it is far from reality. The effects of the non-existent and free-for-all CBSE syllabus is highly damaging to the children and their future. Please read here how it negatively impacts the learning of our children (coming soon).

What are your thoughts on the CBSE syllabus? How have you seen it in action with your child?

PS:  I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Parent Involvement In Curriculum Development: Revamp Indian Education

I have written about the pre-historic and aimless NCERT syllabus. CBSE doesn’t even get into what the children should study. As a solution, I propose parent involvement in curriculum development. Curriculum development is considered a domain of the educationists in India. However, it is time for the parents to be involved for the sake of better learning of children.

Parent Involvement In Child Learning

The children’s learning has to be fun and engaging, hands-on and practical. It has to be simple and uncomplicated for the child to grasp. What’s so much expertise required that a parent cannot be involved in? The education cannot be convoluted that the people who have gone through the process cannot become a part of it.

Education is supposed to be inclusive and equitable. If this is the laudable aim of the curriculum, why should the process of curriculum development remain exclusive and restricted? If the goal is comprehensive learning, why have the scope be defined by a few individuals? Surely, egalitarian learning can only be further enriched with equal, open and free participation of parents.

The parents have the highest stakes in children’s learning. They know their children the best – how and what triggers their children to act, react and also, learn. The parents are the real-life practitioners. They have a better understanding of where the future is headed, what’s going to be in demand and what’s going to get extinct. And hence a view on what should their children study.

The parents are not equipped to design the pedagogical tools. However, they are well-suited to be involved in setting the objectives of the curriculum. The process of arriving at the broad contours of the curriculum can surely be collaborative. Once the framework is confirmed, the educationists can come up with a daily timetable to achieve the mutually agreed child’s learning.

Curriculum Development As A Reflection Of Society

Today, apart from the textbooks belonging to an era of no WhatsApp, no Instagram, no Amazon in India; does not mirror the context of our society and nation. The kids do not get to study about the future that they are going to inherit. The children do not get to learn about the mistakes in judgement their fore-fathers made, the consequences of which they endure.

Why would the ills plaguing the Indian republic at the time of independence – inequity, gender discrimination, casteism continue to date? Why would the Indian fabric remain divided unless united by cricket fervour? What do our children know about the biggest existential threat – climate change? For that matter, what do we, adults, know ourselves?

What could have led to this uncharitable output? Surely, the well-meaning education establishment never intended it. But, it is what it is. The educationists cannot shrug off their shortcomings in contributing to a nation’s fragile character. What they have done till now, working in a silo, protecting their turf, running a coterie, has not yielded the results. It has got to change.

The change is the parent involvement in curriculum development. It may not be an optimal solution, but it cannot get worse than what our children are being offered today in the name of education.

The Obstacles

Education is better left to experts and parents have better things to do in life are tried and tested lame excuses of yesteryear’s era. Better to lay them to rest. They have no role in shaping today’s learning environment for children. Also, we should not let ourselves be fooled by the lure of digital apps. They only recycle the trash and have nothing novel to show for themselves.

The only argument against parent involvement in curriculum development can be – it will lead to chaos. There will be anarchy with so many voices wanting to be heard. Well, if, we adults can’t handle ourselves and make sense, we aren’t fit to reproduce, leave alone ensure the healthy learning of our children.

An adult’s inadequacy to debate and mutually conclude is not the excuse for letting down a child.

The Way Forward

It will be too much to expect from staid and indifferent Government departments like NCERT and CBSE to take the lead for this. Private publishers/schools are supposed to be clued into the requirements of the current generation to equip them for tomorrow’s world. What better way to show their intent than to get parent involvement for curriculum development.

Not just parents, everyone should have a say – artists, scientists, workers, philosophers – one and all. Contributing to nation-building is a noble task and what better than being involved in a child’s learning. Actually, the best suited are the students who have just completed their schooling. They would know, how well they were prepared and what they have missed out on for the real-world interface.

Anyway, let’s take one step at a time. The first step is Parent Involvement In Curriculum Development to revamp Indian education.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

NCERT Syllabus: Pre-Historic And Aimless

Any idea how was the world in 2006, 15 years back? No iPhones, No WhatsApp, No Instagram. Youtube was just a year old. Amazon and Facebook had not entered India. Whoa!! 2006 was a different world altogether as compared to 2021. 2006 also had another significant event – the NCERT syllabus for Class 1 was launched. And, it has been the same ever since, for the last 15 years. Whoa!!

The NCERT syllabus i.e. the textbooks the children study for Class 1 in 2021 is the same that the children studied in 2006. This is beyond belief. The technological landscape has changed. The people’s exposures and expectations have changed. There is hardly any comparison to the people’s lives then and now. And, the NCERT syllabus has remained exactly the same.

The NCERT syllabus seems to be cast in stone that it remains what it was 15 years back. Today’s children have access to so many innovations and newer experiences and the NCERT syllabus designed in 2006. There can and will, of course, be several arguments as to why the NCERT syllabus won’t and can’t change in 15 years.

NCERT Syllabus: Pre-Historic

Ever since NCERT came into being or whenever the new syllabus is devised, roughly the same time-lines have been maintained – 15 years or more for the syllabus update. So, if the non-updation of the syllabus has worked till now, it might as well do so currently too. The past laziness is the excuse for today’s laziness.

Well, there is no guarantee that it worked in the past and surely, it is not working today.

The children’s learning requirements remain the same irrespective of time. No, it doesn’t. The external environment might have changed drastically, but it does not influence the learning requirement of children. No, it has. Yes, the basics of learning remain the same, but the time that it gets introduced and the pace at which the child learns is dramatically different.

A child will always remain a child. But, it doesn’t mean they get taught stuff from the cave-man era.

NCERT syllabus has been designed so perfectly well that it entirely serves the learning purpose for children in 2021. Any idea how many pre-schools were there in 2006 and now? How many children went to pre-schools in 2006 and go today? Keep aside the technology revolution; the pre-primary education landscape has undergone a sea-change in the last 15 years.

Could NCERT fore-see such changes in 2006 and make a syllabus that is equally applicable in 2021?

The smart learning/smart classrooms are the flavour of the season. Any school worth the “International/Techno/Global” lingo that they use in their names will vouch for it. Just that, it is never discussed what is taught in these smart classrooms. What constitutes smart learning for smart children?

What would be your guess of today’s children being smart by reading the same textbooks used 15 years back?

NCERT Syllabus: Aimless

The Government of India has brought in the New Education Policy. It looks brilliant at the top, all glossy. Just that, the NCERT continues with the same syllabus from 15 years back. It looks murky at the bottom, all dull and dim.

Maybe, the New Education Policy aims at the Old Syllabus Books.

The NCERT might say that they can change the syllabus. But that would be a change for the sake of change as the syllabus doesn’t actually require change. This would be farthest from the truth. The learning requirements have changed for the children in the last one and a half-decade.

How can the un-smart syllabus from 15 years back do justice to the potential of smart kids?

One might say that this is precisely why private CBSE schools don’t follow NCERT books and have their own pedagogical tools. There are ICSE, IGCSE and IB curriculums, too. Well, who sets the benchmark for Indian students’ learning? Where do the maximum students enrol? Whom does the state Boards look up to for inspiration? NCERT.

The aimless working of NCERT further accentuates the inequity of the Indian education system.

The Action Points

Forget the above gripe. As a parent, how do you feel that your child is taught what was 15 years back? Does yesterday’s learning inspire confidence in you about your child’s chances to succeed in tomorrow’s world? Do you think that we are doing justice to the country’s future by letting our children study from the era of no WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon in India?

If no, what’s the way out? What’s to be done for the sake of our children, who are being let down, terribly and completely? What can we, mere, parents do? There are, of course, no easy answers when the Government and the education establishment is part of the problem and not the solution.

I propose bringing the issue into the limelight and requesting the Government for parent involvement in curriculum development.

What would be your suggestions and ideas?

(Along with Class I, the NCERT syllabus of Class X and XII was also launched in 2006 and has remained the same ever since. Wonder what XII Science students will be getting taught about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Automation etc? They might as well still be learning how dinosaurs roamed!!)

PS:  I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

4 Beliefs For A Successful Learning Environment At Home For Children

The education establishment promises to make diamonds out of our unpolished children. The best future is guaranteed for the child to get him/her enrolled in a school/app. In the midst of all these cacophonies, a parent might want to consider setting up a successful learning environment at home for children. If at all, I want to share our beliefs for making one for our unschooled twin daughters.

Children Learn, On Their Own

The underlying principle of the Indian education system is didactic – Children are to be taught. The education establishment carries the responsibility of teaching the children. The assumption being that the children are no good if left to their own. We, parents, have also subscribed to these assumptions and executions.

The history of human civilization shows that schools are of a recent origin. Forget it, irrelevant in today’s times. There are self-taught women and men irrespective of going to schools. Forget them, unrelated to our context. Children miss out on their childhood and being children, having fun for the sake of schooling. Forget it, the lure of cracking entrance exams is more enticing. Forget all these.

Who is the most curious person you ever met? Who is the person most open to picking up learning from any and every experience? The person who wants to experiment with stuff and doesn’t lose courage despite failing? Your own child, previous to his/her schooling, that is. The children get much less credit, rather no credit, than they deserve for their learning.

The children have the capability to learn wherever/whenever/however/forever. They have no desire to remain untaught; rather have the potential to be self-taught. They can well carry the responsibility of teaching themselves, should there be an expectation, should there be an enabling environment. They have the willpower and the application to self-learn.

Children can and will learn, on their own. This is the first belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

Parents Teach, On Their Own

We, the adults, are world conquerors, super-achievers, supremely confident. We are the proud products that the world looks up to, of the education establishment. However, when it comes to our children, we are nowhere up to the mark. We are better off handing over our children to the education establishment at the earliest.

I am expected to do anything and everything, but not expected to teach my children. I am taught to do anything and everything, but not taught to teach my children. How is this possible? I am not able to get the irony. I am made to think that teaching children is the most complex of all tasks and it is better not done myself.

Well, the most important aspect of learning is questions and not answers. What’s important is that the child’s curiosity and inquisitiveness gets an open environment. What’s important is that the child gets secure and positive surroundings to question, try out and fail. Learning will emerge as a by-product of this meaningful learning environment with parent’s involvement.

Parents and children are most comfortable with each other. They are better off teaching each other and growing up together. Apart from rocket science, there isn’t anything that a child can’t and won’t pick from the parent. A parent’s word carries the most weight for the child to focus on, get motivated and learn along with.

Parents can and will teach, on their own. This is the second belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

Assessment Is Redundant

The children learn and the parents teach. But, who will validate? Who will certify that the child has learnt and is learning? As always, the education establishment carries all the aces here. We are made to believe that unless the child is assessed i.e. the rote exams, there is no learning happened.

If Covid-19 has done any good, it is to take up the veil of utterly unneeded school and board exams. The exams are cancelled for the last two years. Last heard the children are doing well without the assessment. If the pandemic can allow the children to learn well, without the exams, the parents can as well do that task.

Children do not need a mark sheet to tell them that they are literate. They can read a book and do their math of counting and sharing. They can make an adult go speechless with their questions and can go on a nature walk themselves. The children are hands-on, open to experiences and have empathy for nature and fellow beings. That’s enough proof that they are learning.

Assessment is redundant, over-rated and uncalled for. This is the third belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

Time Spent With Children Is Time Well-Spent/Well-Invested

The modern world has instilled in us that adults are better off working – professionally and domestically rather than spending time with children and teaching them. Adults have to earn money and resources to invest in their children. But, they cannot invest themselves – their own time and efforts. We work so damn hard for the sake of our children, but not with our children.

This, in fact, is a larger theme than parenting. For it affects every adult’s life and what s/he perceives it to be – a rat race/going around in circles or pursuit of self. Leaving the scope for a later time.

I can invest in my child – time and efforts, directly, not just through money. This is the fourth belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

A Successful Learning Environment At Home

To be honest, it doesn’t matter, successful or not, it is a term open to personal interpretations and a lot of other factors. But, the journey of the learning environment at home for children is surely enriching and constructive for all the participants. This topsy-turvy ride is laden with many self-doubts and I have shared my beliefs that keep us going with our unschooled twin daughters.

What are your views on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.