Quality in school education

The touchstone of quality in school education

This is a pivotal question in the book; the best question to start the journey of ‘discovering education’. It captures the all-important exploration that propelled us to conceptualise Education – 3.0!
One of the most disruptive social changes in the past decade has been the ‘loss of grace of gray hairs’. All too sudden, age seems to offer no advantage in life or work; in fact, the dawn of the 21st century has created an illusion of an inverted relationship between wisdom and age. Is this change for real and good?
It is this context of the changing fabric of wisdom that best sets the stage to discover the touchstone of quality in education. Unearthing the fundamental play between (formal or schooled) education and (personal) wisdom holds the key to understanding the essence of quality in education.
Education was informal and community driven before the re-discovery of schools over a couple of centuries ago. In such a scenario, all were ‘equally educated’ in a community – every child grew up living in the contextual, ‘limited’ and common set of values, skills and knowledge; everyone was certain of equally internalizing the shared context. Yet, no two people were ‘equally wise’ (wisdom was not ‘similar’ between any two members of a community) because incremental knowledge was welcome and appreciated and ‘officially’ added to the common pool of knowledge.
The lack of structure and limited scope/goal of informal education of pre-school era has had a very amazing impact on the development of children. Every child was free to hold a unique take on events or situations around (but beyond the shared context) and the community had the benefit of diverse perspectives. People’s minds were not boxed into ‘standard constructs’ and learning was a life-long process (that mostly explains the association
of wisdom and age). People gained more knowledge as they faced new situations or events, quite in line with progression of age. In essence, wisdom = ‘self-learning’ + self-discovery = life-long learning!
If we are to look into our current educational system with respect to this definition of wisdom, we can easily explain our current predicament. ‘Development of wisdom’ is increasingly missing in our education. ‘Schooled education’ ≠ ‘self-learning’ capability ≠ ‘self-discovery’ ≠ ‘ability of life-long learning’; ‘schooled education ≠ wisdom’.
The impact of a ‘too rigidly standardized’ education system meant to reach out to ‘one and all’ is all very loud and clear – limited capability and opportunity for ‘self-discovery’ or ‘self-learning’. Expectedly, we see the increasing loss of association between wisdom and age and the diminishing respect for ‘experience gained over years’. And indeed, long years of ‘experience’ are apparently not translating into higher wisdom now. For example, a 10-year teaching experience does not necessarily mean 10 years of continued learning and self-development. There is no ‘learning on the job’ or ‘learning from new situations or needs’ that is welcomed back into the classrooms.
We are cramming up knowledge in search of wisdom. We are not making any personal connect, interaction, introspection or simply rich conversations around what we are taught. The seamless access to knowledge due to the Internet does not seem to have yet made people realize the futility of cramming in search of wisdom! Wisdom is a private journey of exploration, observation, thinking and expression.

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