Updated: Jul 18, 2019
Do you know how old is our national education policy? You will be surprised to know that it was framed in 1986 and last revised in 1992. So we all can agree that India urgently needs a new education policy. Fortunately this time the government is also on the same page with us.
HRD Ministry’s Kasturirangan Panel
Way back in May 2016, TSR Subramanian panel set up by the HRD ministry, submitted its report. But the government decided to have more consultations and set up another panel headed by Kasturirangan. After three extensions, this panel has submitted the report, which is now waiting for the government's action.
3 Main factors panel suggests for School Design
1. As early childhood education is the foundation for one's future, it is about time this is taken seriously and have the schools specially designed for kids by collaborating with experts. This is the first time the little ones will be going to be in a new environment, away from home and family. How can they feel comfortable and free if the space itself is not safe and appealing to the them?
For instance, in preschools, where kids are the majority users of toilets, having adult size toilets is not justifiable anymore. It should be designed to be at kid’s scale to make them own and in-habitat the space with ease. The school infrastructure should be designed to remove the experience of isolation instead must be conditioned for learning.
“The physical environments for early childhood education will be welcoming and stimulating with accessible infrastructure, drinking water, and the toilets will be safe, clean, and brightly lit”
2. A 2015 study published in the journal 'Building and Environment' found that factors such as air quality, lighting and students’ sense of ownership of their classroom all affected the students’ ability to learn. It is a welcome move that the panel considered these factors.
If designed according to developmentally appropriate, flexible seating arrangement will encourage engagement, feeling of comfort to participate and interaction among kids. A collaboration with educators and architects will create an exceptional learning environment.
It is noteworthy that gradually architects in India are focusing on using locally-sourced but energy efficient, environmentally-friendly materials to fit the spaces for Indian needs.
"The classrooms will allow flexible seating arrangements; learning materials will be safe, stimulating, developmentally appropriate, low cost, and preferably created using environmentally-friendly and locally-sourced materials."
3. Early childhood pedagogy has evolved and increasingly aware that traditional school layout can’t support kids’ new behaviors and activities and, in fact, gets in the way of them. Without a positive learning environment, it will be difficult to motivate them to behave well and learn. When they first step into a school, they make a judgment about its environment. By adding various interactive activities, they will know that this is a space where they are valued yet always stimulated.
"A committee of cognitive scientists, early childhood education experts, artists, and architects will be formed in each state (or locality) to design spaces, within the funding allocations, that are truly inviting and inspiring places to spend time and learn"
Panel’s 2 suggestions for achieving these goals
1. The way in which a school is set up allows it to communicate with students non-verbally. So, a school specially designed as a teaching tool can be more conducive for learning. More than ever, schools can now turn to Architects specialized in designing the child oriented schools accommodating the pedagogical needs.
These architects design exclusive play activities that nurture and build motor abilities, language, socio-emotional skills, and cognitive skills in growing kids by adding art, play elements, and transforming static school infrastructure like walls and furniture.
“Posters, graphics, and art containing alphabets, words, numbers, shapes, and colours will be placed on the walls at the eye level of children for high-quality stimulation and engagement"
2. Activities involving arts and crafts along with being fun, boost the creativity and foster the self-expression in the kids. Static building elements of the school can be transformed in to dynamic systems hosting a variety of activities specially made to fit the curriculum and specific needs of individual schools. The concept of environment of the school as the third teacher, after teachers and parents is being accepted and incorporated into the school designs in India now.
“picture cards, puzzles, dominoes, picture storybooks, blocks, simple musical instruments, number towers and rods, puppets, materials for arts and crafts, and colouring books.”
The views of the panel are unarguably distinct from the outdated conventional education policy of India. With the pragmatic and achievable recommendations, the panel has made the suggestion in the right direction but to be the education policy of the future superpower, we still have a long way to go.
Source: India Today