Fostering Innovation through Technical and Artistic Traits
Ms Seema Handa, MD, Eklavya School
Ms Handa was invited by Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd publishers of digital LEARNING magazine for the 12th World Education Summit 2018, 09-11th August at the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, New Delhi, to share her views on the topic of fostering innovation through STEAM learning. Ms. Handa is an alumnus of Clark Community College, Ohio, USA and a life member of the prestigious Phi Theta Kappa society. She has more than three decades of experience and has been heading the best school in Jalandhar for over fifteen years now.
Eklavya School Jalandhar
Two K-12 CBSE schools in Jalandhar, Eklavya Schools are experiential schools which figure among the top school in Jalandhar. Eklavya School is a prominent member of CASA – an association of CBSE school in Jalandhar.
World Education Summit
World Education Summit is a premier platform for everyone who is passionate about education and learning. The summit is the largest gathering of education leaders from across the globe. World Education Summit aims to build a strong community by providing networking opportunities to clients, partners and education leaders.
- All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE),
- Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai,
- Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govt. of India,
- National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT),
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO),
- and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS)
have been key partners of World Education Summit since its inception.
Need for STEAM
STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics – employs project-based learning across all disciplines to provide all-round 360-degree education to the new generation of students. The present education system in India is linear with the entire gamut of knowledge divided into subjects, periods and topics. The syllabus and curriculum is more theoretical and information-based with very little connect with practical application or reality.
This is one of the major reasons why Indian students lag behind their western counterparts in creativity and innovation. Along with this understanding has also come the realisation that we must totally overhaul our current education system and redesign it as per the future needs.
Changes in School System
This change in thought process has permeated the secondary and primary education.
- The ‘A’ in STEM acknowledges that real life cannot be compartmentalized into technical and non-technical subjects.
- We all use a mix of scientific and technical sensibilities intermingled with our artistic temperament, emotions and feelings in actual life.
- ‘Art’ in all its totality addresses the need to look at education holistically and to cater to the strengths of a mix of student sensibilities in the classroom.
- The challenge is in the implementation of the new thought process in a vast country like India where 65% of the students are enrolled in government schools.
Taking lessons from the Past
If one travels even further back in time, ancient India was initially the land of Gurukuls. The students lived with their Gurus and contributed to the daily routine work while absorbing the values and life skills to lead a positive and productive life.
- Translating the Gurukul system into the present era, we need to first focus on the Emotional development and Social values of the student.
- Along with providing a value-based moral compass we need to provide technical skills and life skills to equip the students for the basic task of living and working.
- Knowledge and information, or education, as we know it today, comes last.
Today the importance of facts and knowledge is fast dwindling in the age of the internet, where all information is available at the click of a button. In fact, the information being taught in the classrooms today may no longer be relevant twenty years from now.
The future is here
Unconventional careers such as drone pilots, ethical hackers, social media experience advocates, simulated astronauts, professional activists, software bug hunters, social media growth managers, etc are rising on the horizon. And a lot of the careers as we know them today may no longer exist twenty years from now.
The blue collar workers gave of their time, the white-collar workers gave of their knowledge, and today we are talking of ‘Yellow collar workers’ who give of their commitment. Employers today are looking not just for qualified aspirants, they are looking for socially skilled, emotionally mature, happy and well-adjusted employees. In other words, happiness quotient, mindfulness and life skills are as important as your technical and academic abilities.
In the End…
The participants also discussed short-term and long-term objectives and ongoing initiatives for strengthening the country’s education system, at the school level and in the higher education space. The discussions and deliberations gave new insights into the latest developments in education as well as the challenges, and scope for accomplishing these goals at a national level.