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Outdated And Stagnant: 3 Reforms That Our Education System Needs

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By Sudipto Das:

Formal education and the methods of providing it have always been a matter of huge discussion in India. But we have never really been able to overcome the hurdle it poses and the vices it possesses. I have a view which involves three areas and the changes, I believe, can be implemented to have a better formal education system in place.

students

The first area I want to focus on is, marking a child’s performance and then critiquing it, which in a number of cases has proven to be counterproductive. When a primary school student is made to confront an odd situation of public shaming or declaration of his/her result through a report card in front of a whole class and his/her parents are told about the child’s shortcomings, how much pressure it would be for the child is beyond our understanding. I still remember my teacher’s scathing remarks on my report card which made me fearful of mathematics forever. Instead of making me better at problem solving it made me avoid mathematics throughout my life.
What I am trying to say is that we shouldn’t have the grading or marking system till we are in secondary school. Giving out assignments and checking them is important; but not marking or categorizing students at an age when they are still trying to discover themselves. Let’s not teach our children to race and come first, let’s try and make them run together to achieve a common goal.

The second thing I would like to have changed is not recognizing the need for appreciating the accomplishments of children in extra-curricular activities. In the race to produce scholars, we have always neglected the value of extra-curricular activities and never made them a part of the curriculum. My teachers were of the opinion that my participation in debate and drama was adversely affecting my studies. While that was true, my point is, shouldn’t I have been given marks for my involvement in an activity which was helping me build my opinions and perspectives in life? Are those skills secondary and deserve to be placed in some isolated corner of the report card?

The third aspect which needs greater attention from academicians, educationists and law-makers is to make different curricula more consonant with certain basic principles. CBSE and ICSE are the two central boards in our country and then every state has its own board which takes the count to a staggering 38. State run boards are inconsistent, each time there is a change in regime, education seems to be the first victim of the political upheaval. For instance, it is believed that the UP Board is stringent in giving marks to students which makes it difficult for them to clear the most coveted colleges of the country. If implemented, in my opinion, these three recommendations will solve the crisis our education system faces, outdated and stagnant as it stands, as of now.

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  1. Uday Kant Naik

    I agree to you second point that extra-curricular activities plays a strong role in shaping ones personality. Activities like debate gives us a wider aspect of thinking. Even sports teaches us many social behavior like team work and respecting a colleague. But apart from that our current education system fails even academically. You see most of the students are simply clueless what to choose at time they clear their board exam. They don’t what will be future prospect in a particular stream. for e.g. a common science stream student is supposed to be enrolled in either Engineering or Medical. We are obsessed with these and this is because the other options like Bsc which clearly have better future prospect are never being projected as a “Safe Carrer”.

  2. Soumyo

    Agree. It is high time that these are implemented. Especially the co-curricular part. Unless a child is able to garner the skills to present himself in front of the society, he/she will be unable to face the world; not even with great college degrees.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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