Reshaping the Education Environment for a Better Tomorrow

Oft is said that a child begins her journey of learning much before she has taken her first steps. In fact, it is a fact that the early years of a child’s life are a period of tremendous brain development. Transcending this fact, especially with the girl child I strongly consider education of the girl child to be an integral part of the education ecosystem. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi referred to it as one of the key building blocks of our society. In our role as parents, we are the sculptors responsible for shaping our children’s personality.
As a mother, I have always believed that early childhood education plays a pivotal role in helping the parents groom their child’s cognitive abilities. I have also believed that it is essential to maintain a structured routine for spending quality time with the child – ensuring that the learning and play time do not overlap. Most importantly, one must have fruitful and extensive conversations with the child, enabling her to speak her mind and make her own decisions.
During my daughter’s formative years, I made it a point to expose her to a number of topics, ranging from politics, education systems, economies, and more… heavy, controversial topics that normally a child may not be expected to know, let alone understand at such a young age. While the traditionalists may argue that my parenting style did not fit the pre-set norms, I believe this helped her develop a mature sense of analytics and decision-making capabilities from a very young age. Case in point, she was well able to define her higher learning needs, including the choice of subjects as well as the institutes that would be most suitable to achieving her goal.
Education Policy: Building a strong framework for a child’s today and tomorrow
While as parents we do not hesitate to go an extra mile to groom our children, the country’s education system plays a critical role in laying down the roadmap to mould the children for a better and brighter future, not just as individuals but as citizens.
The latest National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, introduced by the Government of India, has the potential to nurture the country’s young population into becoming self-reliant and resourceful in both ever-evolving domestic as well as the global environment.
I feel the aim to universalize Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and provide foundational literacy/numeracy for all can be a game-changer. The policy facilitates play- and discovery-based learning for children between 3-8 years of age and has laid down measures to ensure equitable and inclusive education for every child in the country.

Moreover, the NEP 2020 places higher importance on vocational education, with minimum 50% of learners going through the school and higher education system required to experience it. This is a must to prepare the youth with requisite skills and know-how in diversified career options relating to trade, craft, etc. I feel that it is the need of the hour is to develop commercial, trade or technical skills from the word ‘go’ for the students.

In this regard, the government plans to set up “skill labs” in collaboration with polytechnics and local industries as well as hiring locals by schools for shorter courses on vocational crafts; thus, creating more employment opportunities. Also, digital platforms are slotted to play a bigger role in this aspect, in terms of setting up vocational courses online for wider reach.

Rising trend of “Co-op” Education
Over the past few years, I have witnessed the trend of “Co-op” or cooperative education gaining momentum, though still more prevalent in developed countries such as the US, Canada and the UK. This is a combination of formal classroom education with real-world work experience is an innovative method of learning – a win-win for the students, the industry, and the economy. Not only does it boost the students’ employment rate, but also helps in nurturing their talent and discipline, that, in turn, can provide fresh and innovative insights to various organizational problems.

I strongly feel that as India is fast accelerating towards becoming a global economy, we need to have a conducive environment to promote Co-op learning.

Role of Education in E-Waste Management
Belonging to an industry that promotes environmental protection and creation of a sustainable economy without waste, I feel that we need to understand the importance of technology and its application for developing effective and streamlined e-waste management infrastructure. This entails research & development of innovative technologies that can create automated systems for reprocessing/recycling parts into new products with a different life cycle; thus, reducing the adverse impact of e-waste across the globe. In this regard, grassroots education is imperative to spread the importance of safeguarding the environment.

Way forward…
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I strongly believe this to be true. With knowledge and education, you can shape your future any way you like.

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