Devyani Jaipuria comes from a family of visionary philanthropists. She dons multiple hats in her various roles – a young and energetic-philanthropist, an industrialist and a global advocate for social welfare. In her role as the Pro Vice Chairperson of Delhi Public School, Sector-45, Gurugram, Delhi Public School – Jaipur, and Dharav High School-Jaipur, DPS International – Gurugram, Devyani puts equal emphasis on her roles as a vision creator and executor. She was instrumental in establishing DPS International, an institution which is a fore runner in the IB world; elevating DPS 45 to unprecedented levels of academic excellence; pioneering contemporary education with her Modern Montessori International (MMI) chain of Early learning schools, and leading the educational revolution at Dharav High School and DPS Jaipur.
The pandemic propelled a transformation in the education system that perhaps would have taken many more years to eventuate. Online learning suddenly became synonymous with learning, successfully superseding the traditional classrooms. While the last two years assumed an unprecedented importance in the journey of a reimagined education system, today, I believe, is all the more critical. As educational institutions now re-open, we need to strike a strategic balance between the old and the re-vamped. Concepts and approaches that have been incessantly talked about as the focus in an all-new learning space and an ever-evolving ecosystem need to be now implemented and that too with utmost celerity. Here are the changes that must be integrated into the Indian education system today and now, for a tomorrow that is better for our students.
Technology integration is critical, but the ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘to what end’ are more important to determine
Technology waded into the education system faster in the last two years than it did in over a decade. Talking about K-12 education in particular, schools must continue to explore, develop and adopt effective models of tech-based education that blend well with in-person learning. Institutions must implement a well-balanced combination of both to enable optimal learning. It is important to understand how to use technology with respect to each grade, different learning themes and even student capabilities. Schools must ascertain objectively how best to integrate technology progressively from earlier grades to high school.
Apart from using tech as a learning tool, teaching new-age technological concepts which will perhaps be a requisite for many jobs of the future should be introduced early on in schools.
Collaboration, co-creation and global citizenship should be the focus
Schools need to hone students to brace the real world and be prepared for jobs of the future and solve issues that haven’t been anticipated yet. Our curriculum needs to be purpose driven and inquiry based. Along with discipline-based literacy, a collaborative approach where students can learn and engage with others and be able to apply their knowledge to real world with practical projects is critical. Children must be equipped with a higher sense of agency and purpose to shape not just their own lives, but think to impact on a large scale – communities, nation and environment. Institutions must integrate modules which will nudge children to become engaged citizens and morally driven leaders later in life.
Learners-first approach and personalization must not just remain concepts but be adopted as a reality
We must adopt a progressive and modern approach to a personalized education experience for each student throughout their education journey. It means to identify the unique talents of each student and create engagement modules and learning projects accordingly. Students must be able to learn at their own pace without the restriction of a non-adaptive curriculum. Technology has made it easier for us to implement a differentiated learning model which is aligned to individual needs. Some e-learning initiatives today use progressive technologies such as AI and ML to assess student data and use insights to create individual interventions.
Values must form the core of what we teach (and how we teach it)
Education in India can be a perfect example of the amalgamation of old and new. Taking inspiration from our ancestral education modules, instilling values such as loyalty, kindness, integrity and compassion should be an inherent part of the curriculum. Thematic knowledge can be supplemented with value-based modules which have shown to make more confident, competent and intelligent learners. In fact, values such as resilience and humility are desired today in leaders and professionals across workplaces, giving them an advantage over their peers.
We must also assess skills and implementation of knowledge than just knowledge itself
We need to look at a revamped evaluation system as we adopt new approaches, pedagogies and learning models. Students can no longer be assessed on mere subject grades, we need to formulate systems which evaluate them on knowledge, skills and how they are able to utilize those skills in real world. Project based, practical assessments and on-ground internships need to be a norm.
We need to ensure our future cohorts of children are all safe and cybersmart
Yes, we have talked about technology integration and education already. But this deserves a special mention. Increased online presence also means that our students are now prone to more cybercrimes, cyber security failure being the 4th most critical threat to the world. We must integrate modules on digital citizenship, cybersecurity and cyberbullying to equip students to make the right choices when faced with a threat. Open knowledge resources online should be made accessible to all students.
Teachers need to learn with students
Lastly, as learning evolves, so will the teachers. Teacher training has assumed more importance now than ever before. A collaborative learning environment needs well-trained teachers equipped to take up the differentiated requirements of all types of students. Creating a standardized teacher training module across institutions will aid further in creating an inclusive, vibrant ecosystem.
The future of Indian education sector is a system which is student-centered, purpose-driven, inclusive and real – where the teacher, curriculum, pedagogies, assessment and the learner are radically transformed to be future-proof and future-ready.