Education, at all Levels, must be Holistic and Integrative

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By Sheikh Maqbool

With the directions of the High Court to reduce the ‘burden of textbooks’ on students at the level of elementary education, the NCERT proposed the National curriculum Framework(NCF) 2005 and has launched new books based on the new syllabi. The teaching method proposed by the NCERT is the so- called child centered approach, where children in a class will learn themselves from playthings. The role of the teacher there will be merely that of ‘class room manager’. As regards methods of teaching and learning, the NCERT has introduced the highly superficial ‘functional approach’ According to it, in learning languages, there is no need to attain perfection through rigorous learning of grammar – translation and so on. Students must learn language to use it mostly through conversation. As regards mathematics, students should learn how to apply mathematical formulae; proofs are not required. Furthermore, the so- called ‘market relevance ‘of a subject or some topic is considered the yardstick for overhauling of the educational syllabi.
It has been observed that policy makers have discouraged the study of basic science and mathematics and literature and made these merely information oriented and vocationalized. It is essential that students acquire an understanding and a vivid sense of the beautiful and of the morally good. Overemphasis on the competitive system and premature specialization on the grounds of immediate utility kill the spirit on which all cultural life depends- specialized knowledge included.
School education should serve as the common core component of learning, where all students should study the same syllabi. Therefore, instead of market relevance or specialty, at this stage thorough learning of two or three languages, mathematics, history, geography, physical and life sciences is much more required, with due importance, in order to develop analytical skills, understanding of the social and political problems and comprehensive development of a student.
In all the four familiar areas of the school curriculum, that is, language, mathematics, science and social sciences, significant changes are recommended with a view to making education more relevant to the present day and future needs. With this argument, subjects like history and geography, which are vital in developing social consciousness of the students, are abolished completely. In the mathematics course, whatever might be the argument regarding imaginative studies, the approach to teaching is to let the students learn only the numerical application of the formulas and proofs is not required. Apart from that due to the formulas on yes/no answer type or multiple choice questions make the entire studies merely information oriented and impairs the process of development of analytical skills and faculty of reasoning of the students.

—The writer is the chief spokesperson of J and K RTI Foundation. He can be reached at: