Saturday, October 09, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

It was inspiring to watch Sir Ken Robinson's speech on bringing revolution in education. It truly makes sense in giving a thoughtful approach to the idea of letting children evolve as per their passion, rather being forced to follow a linear approach to live and waste precious lives.

I particularly liked statements, "The great problem for a reform or transformation is the tyranny of common sense" and "Tread softly because you tread on my dreams", "Everyday and everywhere children spread their dreams beneath our feet and therefore we should tread softly"...

However, the speech does not offer any takeaways as no specific solution was recommended for the problem in discussion. It was good to wake-up to the issue, hardly being thought about.

Comparing the indian education system before the advent of British Raj, had solution to all the elements being highlighted in the speech. Children were offered formal basic education in Vedic maths, logic and religious scriptures, providing a perfect blend to develop and build a solid foundation for body, mind and soul. Students were expected to follow strict monastic guidelines prescribed by the guru and stay away from cities in ashrams.

It largely followed educating generations on the basis of castes and related duties that one had to perform as a member of specific caste. The Brahmans learned about scriptures and religion while the Kshatriya were educated in the various aspects of warfare. The Vaishya caste learned commerce and other specific vocational courses. Educating on the basis of caste would raise eyebrows in today's world, but viewing it from a different perspective, it provided specialisation to the communities, rather a child re-inventing the wheel in a complete new field of study. Such practice provided the child to quickly adopt the skills and a opportunity to develop it further, from where his father left. There were some cons too, like caste based education, dependencies and power.

Undertaking a careful study of ancient Indian education system to build a bridge with the current education practice could help bring Revolution in building stronger societies for generations to come.

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