“The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know, what he shall do.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I. Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends
(Because No One Else Will)
“My problem with Mumbai University is they don’t put up the timetables for board exams at proper dates,” says 21-year-old Bhanu Babbal, a BBM student.
Haven’t we had enough of surly office staff members making us run around for hours to submit one measly form? Why is it that in an era of such advanced technology, word of mouth remains the most reliable means of figuring out when your next assignment’s due? What do you do if you have no friends?
Digitizing administration processes in schools and colleges could be the best thing that could happen to students, who needn’t ever worry about their documents getting lost in a tottering pile or their grades getting switched due to a mistake. Corruption, bribery and errors in administration could be obliterated with just a click.
II. Practical Thinking
“I think there should definitely be more practical exposure in courses. The current portion doesn’t make sense if you go looking for job opportunities in real life; it's been the same for years.”
III. Not That We’re Complaining But..Holiday, Again?
“There are so many mornings when we walk into college in the mornings only to realise the first class is at 3PM.”
“Wha...we have a college library?”
What should be basic facilities, like well-stocked libraries including publications and audio-visual content and screening rooms are often found only in fancy, private institutions for very specific courses. For a field dedicated to moulding young minds, we have to admit this is a major let-down. Background reading doesn’t need to be a pain if it’s within our reach.
Equip libraries with literature and reference books, DVDS and computers with internet access to give students a shot at exposure to material that's not just relevant to course, but also really broadens their understanding of the world. It would be great if they were encouraged to spend some extra-curricular hours in the library, as well (you manage catch them as they're sprinting headlong for the exit with the last bell).
V. Keeping up with the times
News doesn’t need to be boring – students should be made to realise the kind of world they’re going to be living in, working in… and ultimately going to be in charge of. We’re not just talking local news, but international news as well. Considering, particularly, the critical juncture at which we are today, globally – there is a very evident interconnectedness in global affairs, and it has an effect on us all.
The Newspaper in Education (NIE) course in the state curriculum is a great example of this, but it can’t be an initiative that eventually loses steam and fizzles out. The idea is to inculcate this as a habit, until everybody inadvertently starts keeping an eye on the latest headlines of the world.
VI. Good Ideas get goodies
Remember the two 15-year-old boys in the news recently for inventing that device for shoes that could charge mobile phones when walking? Pretty cool, right? The sheer talent, spanning all spectrums, in this generation is quite mind-boggling, if they’re given the means to explore their potential.
Encouraging good ideas and innovations with government grants and subsidies is a surefire way to open up minds and cajole students out of their comfort zones to innovate. It’s also of utmost importance if we want to keep indigenous talent on home turf to improve things here because the fact is: if we don’t do it, other countries eventually will.
VII. A Little something on the side
VIII. Kickstarting a Start-Up
The sheer number of spectrum-straddling ideas germinating in minds across the country are quite overwhelming. Resources, on the other hand, are another story. If an idea with real potential doesn't get the leg-up it needs, when it needs it - chances are, it's never going to explore it's whole potential.
“You need to see what Kerala's state government is up to, to understand this.”
“More importance should be given to higher education. Ministry and UGC should offer M.A in more colleges rather than just in Mumbai University.”
X. Is there anybody there?
XI. Quality Stuff
“They need to think about the quality of education the state board offers. Some children can’t afford to go to CBSE or ICSE board schools and hence attend a SSC school, the education quality of which is not as great.”
XII. Real Talk
XIII. Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V
XIV. Clubbing Subjects
“I would really like to study Accounts along with French,” confesses 21-year-old B. Com student Anisha Muravne. “I don’t think there’s a course that would allow you to study Accounts and a language together, though.”
XV. The Birds and the Bees
“Educating the educators should be the first step and they should be open to kids approaching them with question, and not shoo them away. Kids sometimes prefer asking and talking about sex to teachers, rather than their parents.”
XVI. Is this seat taken?
"It feels like the college we land up in after our boards has as much to do with the reservation quota, as our marks."