TODAY -

Manipur an agenda for school education : Vision 2020
- Part 1-

Dr S Gyaneswar Singh *



Our vision of Manipur in 2020 is a Manipur free from poverty, fear, ignorance, disease and corruption. We would wish to see Manipur as one of the most peaceful States in the country, prosperous, developed and free from oppression, exploitation, extortion and violation of human rights from any quarter. We also wish our people have a modem outlook and mind set; a knowledge society, where all our children have access, achieve and excellence to a good education and a healthcare, comparable with the best in the country.

Where all have opportunities for training and development of skill and pursuit of life-long education; where the potential and creative energy latent in our people find opportunities for harnessing in the rapid development of the State. We also envision Manipur in 2020 as a gate-way to the South-East Asian countries for its locational advantage in the ‘Look East Policy’; a sound commercial base with well developed infrastructure of roads, railways, electricity and air connectivity which provides the competitive edge to all manufacturers for marketing their products.

We also envision development of Science and Technology, in the new specialized fields like electronics, in formation technology, biotechnology, nano-science and technology etc., through our higher education system. These will also encourage research, development and innovations in various fields including agriculture, horticulture, forestry and production techniques for creating a holistic ambience for sustainable development.

If our vision is to make Manipur a really prosperous State by 2020 we shall have to strive to provide for a world-class education system for human resource development. Education is a bridge to the future. It should be the means towards preparation for the future. Education’s prime objective is to increase the individual’s ‘cope-ability’- the speed and economy with which he can adapt to the continual change of the world of today. Our students should be instructed how to learn, unlearn and relearn. For tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has am learned how to learn (Alvin Toffler : 1970).

Education is an instrument for change. Development of a knowledge society would always call for an education of comparable standards and quality. In the knowledge society of the twenty first century, education will be increasingly valued as an end in itself and not as a means to an end. There should be a paradigm shift from schooling to learning with emphasis on continuing life long education. Expansion of learning facilities, and universalization of education upto the secondary stage, enhancement of learning capabilities and increasing competencies of the learner. Education in school must include a component of training and skill development with emphasis on employability, increasing productivity, poverty alleviation and work ethics. It should make lives of our children more meaningful as they become economically independent and self-reliant. It would be an important step towards their social and economic empowerment.

Education of the future must ideally prepare our children to face the challenges of our harsh modern life. For this, it needs to be intimately linked with different life­skills, the abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life, by developing in them generic skills related to a wide variety of areas such as health arid social needs. It is through these skills that students can fight the challenges of drug addiction, violence, teenage pregnancy, AIDS and many other health related problems. (NCFSE : 2000)

The school’s main portal of learning must be strengthened duly supported by alternative methods of learning through non-formal alternative approaches of education. Improvement in the standard of education and Total Quality Management (TQM) at all levels which should make our School compatible with the very best in any part of the country. As the future of our people depends on the education and development of its human resource potential, we must provide the best educational opportunities to our children or else we shall have to remain physically, mentally and spiritually weak in this competitive and globalized world. We must enlighten and empower our children through education to meet these challenges. Educate or Perish is the current buzzword.

Education is also the cornerstone of economic growth and social development. It contributes to economic development through increased national income and individual earnings (Theodore W. Scheltz). Education is not only of direct importance to living, in broadening a person’s horizon of perception and thought, it should also influence the conversion of other entitlements into human abilities, conversion of income into nutritional capabilities (Dreze and Sen -1989). Education is the principal means of promoting the welfare of the individual and improving the quality of life. As such it is the only instrument available for socio-economic transformation by enhancing productivity and individual earnings, raising national income, reducing poverty and ensuring equitable income distribution. Education contributes to development, and development of the economy vastly contributes to further development of education. This bi-directional relationship is very important in understanding the role of education in development (Tilak, J.B.G. 1993).

According to Plato, education is meant “not to fill an empty vessel but to turn the eye of the soul towards light”. Real “education has to draw out the best from the child and man-body, mind and spirit”. This can never be done by packing ill-assorted and unwanted information into the heads of the students. It becomes a dead weight crushing all originality and turning them into mere automate (Mahatma Gandhi; 1933). Education can be perceived as a value in itself, which win continually be assessed by the society.

Quality assurance in education will be the most essential requirement rated highly by the society. The ethos of the school will be to carry the value of education to the people who pursue it as an end objective. In school, the child must be demonstrated the future of education, its goals and objectives. Students of our school should be inquisitive practitioners of knowledge and skills possessing valuable habits of mind, as well as sound and practical information. However, in our system, we have bartered away understanding for memory-based short term information accumulation. This must be reversed particularly now that “the mass of what could-be memorised has begun to explode”. We need to give our children some taste of understanding, following which they would be able to learn and create their own versions of knowledge (Yash Pal : 2005).

These statements underline the importance of paradigm shift in education more particularly in teacher education. In other words, ‘pedagogy of thinking’ should replace the present pedagogy of memorisation and rote learning and regurgitation at the time of examinations.

The curriculum and teaching and learning content in the school need to be so structured as to combine scholastic and co-scholastic achievements, life skins and language competence. The teaching of Mathematics and science need to be modernised and strengthened. Proficiency in writing and spoken English should be emphasised. The twenty-first century is a century of Information and Communication Technology (lCT), Computers, Internet, E-leaming etc. In the info-tech age, the teaching-learning programme in the school should be designed as to provide an interactive platform for technology-enabled learning. The learning endeavour in the school and its outcome should be to spot talents, kindle the spark within, and empower each student to strive for excellence.

Education inculcates self-discipline and self discipline gives immense strength. The aim of education is to emancipate the mind from the tyranny of prejudice—personal, social, national/religious, linguistic, racial, ideological—“to clear mental cob webs” and “put the minds in order” (Radhakrishnan, S) “The culture of the soul” is sadly missing in the system. A human being must imbibe the “qualities of dama (self-restraint), dana (sacrifice), and daya (compassion). As such the spiritual dimension (SQ) will have to be given central importance in our new educational thinking (Karan Sing : 1996). It should however be remembered that education for spiritual intelligence is not necessarily related with religious instruction.

Education is evidently an investment in our children and preparing them for the world of tomorrow. Our vision of education encompasses the “Four Pillars of Education”—for the 21st century—Learning to know, Learning to do, Learning to live together and Learning to be (UNESCO: 1996). Learning to be should aim at developing the child’s personality, and potential education must not disregard any aspect of a person’s potential : memory, reasoning, aesthetic sense, mental and physical capacities, communication skills, self knowledge and leadership quality which remain hidden like buried treasure in every child. The education of the future should aim at integrated and balanced development of cognition (IQ), emotion (EQ), spiritual (SQ) and physical dimensions of the human personality.

Education of the future should be driven by values— personal values, community values and universal values; values of self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-actualization, work ethic, humility, equity, justice, co-operation, tolerance, non-violence and peace; respect for human rights, environmental protection, gender equality; values which are eternal, permanent and universal - which unite all mankind, values which prepare the mind are certain universal ethical attitudes. These values are to permeate all levels of curricula—formal, informal and hidden pervading across all subjects. Value based education would help our fight against all kinds of fanaticism, ill will, violence, fatalism, dishonesty, avarice, corruption, exploitation, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.

Education of the future should provide suitable emphasis on : increasing productivity through education and training—development of skills and upgradation of skills, development of work ethic; positive attitude of mind towards physical work. For linking education and employment, vocational courses should be introduced from the elementary stage as generic vocational courses as work education and vocationalisation of higher secondary education should be strengthened with a strong base of vocational guidance and career counselling. Selection of trades should be need based taking into account vocational survey fmdings, manpower needs with greater emphasis on self employment opportunity. In view of the ineffective and unyielding nature of integrative vocational courses in the higher secondary courses in our State establishment of separate VET (Vocational Education and Training) centres and institutions integrating with the existing institutions such as the Polytechnics, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, primary health centres, engineering, agricultural and medical Colleges and cooperatives etc, as conceived by National Curriculum Framework: 2005 should be seriously considered and implemented. VET would be designed for all those children who wish to acquire additional skills or seek livelihoods through vocations.

To be continued ...




* Dr S Gyaneswar Singh wrote the article for The Sangai Express
This announcement was article on July 31 2010.


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