The concept of an education system is more of a subjective one, if you think about it. Yes, it involves systematic methods of giving and receiving information. However, it also has way more to it like the learner’s inclinations, the teacher’s methods, the learning environment and so on.
Education aims to prepare individuals to become a part of the economy and society. It also helps them develop a value system, practice critical thinking, and of course, inculcate problem solving skills. It’s something that evokes mixed feelings, though. Some love it, some detest it and some are doing all they can to get access to it.
However, it’s pretty clear that our education systems have a foundation accumulated over the years. The question is: does it encourage following hierarchy and obedience rather than critical thinking and formulation of individual perspective?
A course that allows students to explore various fields to understand their interests better
A system that encourages them to follow these interests, rather than having multiple courses imposed on them
A more personalized learning because every learner’s needs are different
An educational journey that challenges the learner to bring out the best in them, rather than shut down their learning
Education should be a catalyst in a learner’s discovery process, rather than an active element.
Our current education systems, while slowly adapting to these different learning needs, still have room for growth. At present, it builds on systems that make the learner seem more employable. This means focusing on book knowledge that is coerced into the learner.
However, rather than treating education as a commodity, it would do better to see it as an essential service. Instead of enclosing learners in a box, encouraging them to explore out of it could make the learning process more efficient
The issue with this system is that it stimulates compliance and disappoints questioning of the system. This eventually just grooms citizens who want to encourage the current system and accept all information displayed to them, rather than exploring topics and having their own say in it. The latter would also act as a change enabler.
The bright side of it, however, is that we do have an elaborate education system in place that is constantly reviewing itself for betterment. The question is, is that enough?
Education is a sector that is essentially intertwined with various aspects of a functioning society. This means that any real change will trigger subsequent changes in these auxiliary sectors. Such an elaborate system means that a drastic overnight change may not be practical. It seems reasonable that the system can eventually adapt itself to the needs of these diverse learners. So is our education system is molding us for failure? The verdict is that it’s more a case of “if the shoe fits”. While it may work for some, it may not be the best approach for all
Would you like it if someone else decided what coffee you drink? I’m guessing, not. So, when it comes to education, why don’t learners have a voice?
Assessment of an Ideal Education System always happens from the perspective of teachers or education theorists and experts. These authorities supposedly have opinions and ideas to make education progressive and yield the ideal results. But amidst all that, nobody has ever felt it necessary to consider what the learners might want.
Learners are the recipients of education and whom the system of education affects the most. Then isn’t it fair to wonder what the ideal education system would be from a learner’s POV?
I believe we have all been learners at one point in our lives. We’ve all seen education from the receiving spectrum. Therefore, a lot of us might have felt that certain things should have been different. The experiential divide and age gap between educators and learners prove beneficial to the education system. But what was supposed to be a fruitful way of passing knowledge has, over the years, transformed into being authoritative.
Students have developed a lot of behavior and mental phobias that don’t speak highly about the credibility of the current system. Despite it all, students appreciate a lot of the current ins and outs of the system. So, what should the ideal education system for a student be like then? The best way to answer this question is by diving into what the students are actually expressing all over the internet.
So here are opinions straight from the minds of the current and former students and our take on them.
Classes Based on Abilities for Ideal Education
“Let’s put the kids that are great at math in a challenging math class. If the same students are having problems with their second language, let us assign them to an easier language class. This is the best way to get the most out of every student and ensure that no one gets left behind.” –Mads Olsen, 18, Former Intern at the Danish Parliament
According to Ms. Olsen, classes need a division depending on the skills a student possesses. A lot of students find it extremely difficult to gel together with a group or a class that shares different interests and abilities than them.
If we plant two seeds of completely different environmental needs, it’s impossible for both of them to bloom. Every learner’s mind is different from the other—their needs to breed their skills differ. Students with similar abilities will stand a chance to improve their skills in a group setting. It gives them an opportunity to exhibit what they know best. This not only boosts their confidence but also encourages them to learn from the others around them.
There is a possibility that similar ability classes might feel like an inhibitor for the overall high school learning of a student. However, such a system may actually benefit learners. Apart from teaching the basics, students can choose their preferred ability classes. These ability classes need to have a fifty percent weightage in the overall result.
The ultimate goal for a majority of the students who graduate high school is to land into the college of their choice. And for the said college, these grade points are extremely crucial. If every student competes with similarly skilled students, they’ll have a higher chance to score based on their full potential.
Ideal Education with Revolutionary Changes
“Imagine a school that gives dance, theatre, sports, and debating equal time as academics—where you are taught getting good grades is neither necessary nor sufficient in life. A school whose vision is to let the child’s imagination run wild without a universal right or wrong.” –Sarthak Gulati, Central Banker, Thinker
Nobody can refute the fact that the current education system has become extremely conventional. Years of patterns have been instilled in the minds of the educators, who back away from any changes in the system. This has led to the creation of a monotony and a rigid structure that dictates what is right and wrong.
Our education system forces young minds into a mold prepared multiple decades ago, without offering any flexibility. This has led to a generation of students who are so accustomed to following a prototyped path, that straying from it fears them.
Ideal Education for today’s day and time perhaps requires breaking these molds. It is a time to realize that the orthodox patterns haven’t managed to benefit a vast majority of young minds. The current system has failed to achieve what it set out to. A breakthrough and major system reboot feels like the need of the hour.
Evaluation Methods need a Progressive Change
“NO FORCED HOMEWORK. After the whole week, a student’s work is to be evaluated, but not with high or low marks. Instead with real options on what they should do for improvement in their thinking process and how to do that.”- Jan Olejek, Student (via brilliant.org)
The prevalent method of evaluation in the current education system has always been a point of contention. The rigorous examinations, grading systems, and rankings are a psychological nightmare for most learners. This evaluation system has only been promoting high IQ excellence since time immemorial.
Aptitude and other kinds of intelligence have been a very limited part of the entire marking process. This needs to change. It is important to encourage learners to realize that even if they do not excel in academics, it’s okay. There are other facets where they might be good at. They, therefore, need evaluation on those facets, for an honest and true grading system to prevail.
This change will not only support learners that have individual yet unique talents. Something that a lot of students currently aren’t able to do is give exams with confidence. This is so because they lack the motivation to work hard for an examination on subjects that they don’t like.
This phenomenon has come up in various education experts’ policies, that it is high time that the evaluation methods are changed. If nothing, it will help to streamline students based on their skills at an early age and help them understand their true potential.
Students have developed their own opinions and ideas on how they wish to be taught. Policymakers can see these opinions like customer feedback on a product. Ideally, a brand would take these into account when improving or creating products. Like product managers, policymakers must include student opinions when designing an education law. An ideal education system, therefore, requires a collaborative effort between policymakers, educators, and the end-user—learners.
Education has been the basis of setting standards for gaining a position in society for centuries. Periods and eras passed, and the methods and purpose of providing education transformed. Different regions of the world used different approaches to impart education. But throughout the world, the purpose of providing education remains the same—to liberate a child from the binding shackles of illiteracy.
Education has shown a consistency of being enlightening, assisting students to grow, develop, and enhance their skills alongside. But somewhere along the way, the ultimate goal of enrichment of a student through education has somehow shifted to this grubby race of scores and marks, following an objectively repetitive pattern of learning.
There can be a litany of complaints that one can put forward if asked what is wrong with today’s education. Students growing out of the system of authority, burned out and overworked teachers, inadequate methods of assessment of intellect, and unaffected students are some of them.
Added to the list are a slow adaptation to the fast-growing technology, inconsistent and unequal school funding, and a general lack of relevancy that has been caused by years of repetitive teaching methods and course work. However, perhaps the greatest drawbacks of the education system currently have been the conventional pedagogy of depending on books to hone skills.
Therefore, the liberation that one expects after receiving formal education does not do much in carving a competent person and ready to face the world. What exactly are these limitations that need an alteration or at least require renewing to keep up with contemporary times and the fast-evolving species of humans?
The Limitations of a Four-Walled Classroom Education
It has been around a year and a half into the pandemic now. The location of receiving education might have changed from a formal classroom to a digital screen, but the confines of learning remain the same.
What’s upsetting is that students have never been led out of the classroom walls into the world to learn. Being in this restrictive schooling environment had inhibited their development, and it took the pandemic for us to realize that. The inflexibility in teaching is the reason why students are finding it so hard to adapt themselves to studying online. Many theorists have argued for the notion of schools killing students’ creativity—a fact that has been proved by compelling life examples of geniuses like Albert Einstein and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
Restrictive System of Evaluation
Students are taught certain topics in certain periods of time, after which they have to answer questions that test their subjective and objective understating of it. Learning and cramming for the sake of scoring well in the exams, instead of committing it to the long-term memory has sadly become a very common practice.
Researchers and education reformists have brought this practice to the attention of education institutions several times. What education really needs today is a better motivator to enhance the skills of the students. Scoring well in exams can be that motivator. However, in today’s education system, good scores only mean cramming and purging on the answer paper. Then, completely wiping it out of the memory and moving on to the next course.
It might not be an easy feat to achieve, but it is high time the way of evaluation changes in the education system. The comprehensive learning of students requires a challenge—in a way that will compel them to truly submerge their minds in the concepts educators try to teach them. They need to be able to know everything that they’ve been learning, ten years from now. Only then is education actually fulfilling its purpose.
The present evaluation methods have inhibited a lot of students who face examination anxiety from performing to their full potential. We need a major change in the way knowledge is evaluated.
Need for change in Education Policies
Reforms worldwide keep education on a huge pedestal to evaluate the prosperity and intellect of the entire country. Evaluating scholars through their IQs, and comparing their marks and scores has become a norm. Each country has ranked on the basis of the students who are able to ace these standardized tests.
It is perhaps time to realize the flaw in this system. There is a need to acknowledge the unfairness of grouping multiple kinds of intelligence, aptitudes, and skills and grade them under one. Furthermore, it is time to realize that not every student learns in the same way. Thus, they require customized evaluation methods.
The policymakers need to leave the age-old methods that they were raised into. Instead, they should revolutionize education on a global level. The stagnation in this structure has stopped benefiting the evolving society and the new-age students. So an in-depth change is the need of the hour.
Each country might have different needs, based on the culture, diversity, and upbringing of the youth. Yet no one can deny that education has been in a rut for far too long now across the globe. Change, therefore, is necessary and should ideally start from the policymakers. Then, institutions need to implement those changes to see a positive transformation in students.
The picture that today’s education system portrays, with high IQ people gaining relative success, is certainly pretty. But what gets blurry are students who have been a victim of this one-track train wreck side of education. Those students were never able to reach their full potential because the current education system could give them a platform. The cliché of a student being good in either sports or studies to reach somewhere in life needs to break from the school level itself. And a revamp of the entire system is just what the doctor recommends!
Education systems across the globe have had different outlooks on imparting knowledge. The world has been a global hub for learning, with educational institutions being the bridge. Education systems vary depending on the culture and values of the people of the country. The policies and structures that the government of the country enforces play a strong role as well.
In global rankings, countries like UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Denmark, among others, have the highest rankings. However, Finland’s education system has consistently topped the charts over the years. This analysis is based on the country’s average student test scores in subjects like mathematics, science, and reading. Apart from that, matters like literacy rate, high school, and college enrollment rates, and international student ratios are also considered.
Education Policies of Finland
Finland has managed to outrank UK and USA education systems in the above criterion. This is because the country follows a dedicated and systematic approach to learning. Finland adopts a very systematic and comprehensive curriculum with a design to ensure that root-level learning is elevated.
Finnish schools focus on high-quality infrastructure and other facilities. Tuition is free for students from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland. Additionally, it is mandatory for most teachers and educators to have a master’s degree.
Finnish schools empower some core principles from the first stage of education. A child does not require to enroll in a school until they turn six. Though if a parent wishes, facilities like expansive early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs are available.
The Finnish government keeps reforming its education system to work with the latest trends. Its most recent reform shifts the attention of a learner from the classic ‘what to learn.’ Instead, it aims to inculcate a ‘how to learn’ mindset. Finnish education focuses well on helping a student get employed by training them to avoid-dead ends from an early stage.
UK’s Evolved Education
UK’s education emphasizes on analytical and practical thinking, dividing studies into different levels. The four levels include primary, secondary, further, and higher education. Students can choose if they wish to study further after each of these levels.
The most revolutionary system of evaluation in UK is perhaps its quality assurance system. The Quality Assurance Agency is an independent auditing agency. It is responsible for reviewing and comparing government controlled universities and colleges of the country regularly. They post their results on their website online
UK’s education ranks high on international students’ desirability index. Their teaching methodology breaks the barriers of classroom walls and implores students to venture out. Furthermore, scholarships, bursaries, grants, fellowships, and all sorts of financial aid are available for students with real potential and caliber.
UK is also the proud establisher of one of the highest globally accepted tests of the world the IELTS. Today, all major global universities have accepted IELTS as an assessment of English Language for non-native English speaking students. This includes most institutions of Australia, UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and more than 3,000 colleges, universities, and other institutions in the USA.
Check out the free IELTS course offered by TutorHere and improve your understanding of the test!
USA’s Progressive Learning Systems
While the UK enforces the choice of choosing specializations quite early in the students, the USA’s Education System believes in teaching all major subjects till they earn their High School Diploma. USA’s education system focuses majorly on examinations and grades, which becomes an important deciding factor for students for enrolling in major universities of the country.
US academic system has three stages, i.e. Elementary school, Middle school, and High School, where importance is given to building foundations in English language and Mathematics.
The biggest difference in the US education system from its counterparts is that here there is an option of studying major subjects like Mathematics and Science sequentially rather than simultaneously like others. There is a choice for the student to complete Physics in one grade and Mathematics or Chemistry in another. The only end goal is to finish off with everything to earn a diploma after the 12th or the senior year.
Global Education Systems have managed to connect continents for centuries. With each country looking to outshine the others in matters of education, competition is tough. The responsibility of curating a top-notch education system, that caters to a global audience is what separates these countries from others in the field.
In the coming decades though, new players will be emerging with progressive policies for education. Gradually it seems, no education system shall be out of reach for those who really wish to advance in fields of their choice.
The education system all over the world has for the longest time needed a reality check. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven itself to be that check for nearly all world governments. When crisis strikes, the reflex of the education development community is to intervene in a way that meets the immediate needs of the students.
There’s a temptation to look for a ‘sticking plaster’ remedy that will provide some immediate relief. It has taken a long time and uncountable developments to get the Education System at the stage it is today.
It takes a flexible and resilient system to get back on its feet after being shaken it to its core. The major developments in the field of education have been about catching up with the rest of the world. An important part of how Education developed over time is how teaching has incorporated new technology or topics.
There was a time when teachers taught what they had learnt, the way they had learned. They gave little or no regard to the needs of the student. But with time teachers were adapting their teaching methods to meet the varying needs of the students.
In the previous post, we explored the purpose of education and how it has evolved over time. With this post, we will delve deeper into the evolution that education as a whole has undergone over they years.
The 1940s-1950s Education
The 1940s was an era of modernization. Education at all levels became better organized, funded and standardized. The college curriculum was more thought out and professional. There was a huge enrolment surge which also put a huge strain on the colleges.
India, in the 1947s was given independence which also brought remarkable improvements in every field including education and research. However, illiteracy remained high. Education was a prime responsibility. The Government appointed a Planning Commission to plan development in several sectors including Education. The top goals of these plans were:
(i) To establish universal elementary Education (ii) Eradicate illiteracy (iii) Improve vocals and skills with the help of programs. (iv) Upgrade and modernize all stages of Education.
The 1960s-1970s Education
An educational revolution, the 1960s, brought around educational policies and reforms. The old subjects in this decade were taught in new ways. This decade tried to uproot rote learning, and to develop student’s minds and curiosity. Even though, there was immense growth in Education, creativity or individuality still weren’t encouraged. Students were prepared for mediocrity instead of being taught to think for themselves.
This decade was full of efforts to increase opportunities and teach the disadvantaged minorities. A lot of these efforts were successful. Even though the student count was high, the level of education was at a low in this decade. Almost every age group suffered performed poorly in tests than in the previous decade. This led the nation to believe that it was in an educational crisis.
The 1980s-1990s Education
The 1980s were a battlefield for the field of education. It was clear through a fall in results that students were learning less in school. The environment was instead rife with violence and drug abuse. The quality of education was suffering and a common curriculum was lost in an array of elective subjects. Lack of professional teachers received all the blame but the Government could not agree on how to solve the problem.
India in the 1990s was battling illiteracy with all its resources. The national literacy rates in India increased from 43.7 percent in 1981 to 52.2 percent in 1991 (male 63.9 percent, female 39.4 percent), passing the 50 percent mark for the first time. To improve national literacy, the central government launched a wide-reaching literacy campaign in 1993.
Using a volunteer teaching force of some 10 million people, the government hoped to have reached around 100 million Indians by 1997. Improving literacy among women received special focus. The improvements that India has made in education since independence has been substantial
The 2000s-2010s Education
This decade had so many educational reforms that it is hard to distinguish their significance. In this decade, the education policies in the sector plan to focus on innovation and better use of technology. Over the last ten years, Indian educational policy and reforms emphasized overcoming challenges;
(i) improving the low enrolment ratio in higher education
(ii) low quality of teaching and learning.
(iii) constraints on research capacity and innovation.
(iv) uneven growth and access to learning opportunities, etc.
Governments during this period planned to address issues such as funding, leadership, and governance to strengthen educational institutions.
However, all these changes have not been easy to bring. Efficient implementation has always remained a key challenge in all policy reforms in India. There are challenges in improving the quality and content of instruction. Our education system still lacks global standards. All this calls for a critical re-look into the issues and challenges of implementing educational reforms effectively.
The lockdown has opened doors to a new innovative, thoughtful but sometimes just out of the network coverage world. Education is a powerful tool for preparing people to progress in the global economy.
Ancient India has been a hub of knowledge in many disciplines. An update to our age-old Education System has been long overdue. However, we are still following the same education system used hundreds of years ago based on the industrial revolution model. Therefore, emphasis should be on making sure students understand grasp a concept, but rote learning takes precedence.