Improving the Quality of Education has to be a Holistic Endeavour. Mere Focus on Technology Won’t Do

Improving the Quality of Education has to be a Holistic Endeavour. Mere Focus on Technology Won’t Do
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By Sheikh Maqbool

A significant development since the previous Education policy of 1986/92 is the emergence of Information and Communication Technologies (NIOS) which has brought in new dimensions in the field education. New possibilities have opened up for use of information technology in different ways, not only to manage the sector, but also directly assist in enhancing the quality of teaching and learning, expansion of education opportunities, and improving educational planning and management. The use of computers in education and related field is not new. Computers are widely used throughout the globe since the half of the last century. In our state, these have been broadly used. But, they have failed either to enhance the quality of education, or create sufficient jobs to solve the unemployment problem. The illusion about employability in IT sector has gradually diminished.
If retrenchment, downsizing and lay-offs have become the order of the day in the IT sector then, why is the MHRD catering to the dream of ICT? Actually, the ruling class and government are anxious about the growing number of unemployed youths. So, they want to create mirage of huge job in IT sector.
Teacher’s grievance and wrath against the devastating measures like online registration through NIOS for D.EL.ED h and B.ED, brought in on the pretext of reforms in education, are natural and have only grown with time. However, it was apparent that government, rather those in power who mattered, was not willing to listen to people’s criticism. That “epoch -making measure, that is the NPE -86 with its tag of a national policy, but actually undertaken without meaningful consultation with the academic community and is proving to be a boon for the investors and corporate houses, has been foist on the people.
Moreover, open school systems do not provide classroom, library, laboratory, learned faculties which are the essential parts of education. A teacher, therefore, misses the opportunity of an educational environment which is very much necessary not only for study but for fulfilling the purpose of man-making and character building. This means that the government does not really intend to increase, augment and improve the school education system, and that is why, it eulogizes “out of classroom “learning. The entire focus of NEP-2016 is to produce a large number of half-educated people to satisfy the needs of the job market. This goes against the philosophy and improving the quality of education to make it accessible to larger number of students.
What kind of quality teaching would one expect from the teachers, chained to such an arrangement? Rather, the entire ambience will stink of a putrid commercial outlook in place of the already dwindling cordial, humane, and noble relation between teachers and students. “Quality of teaching is the best indicator and a key determinant of the overall quality” is a cliché. Thus, any reform must give highest priority to attracting good teachers. Teachers in Jammu and Kashmir are protesting since years for their salary; even the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, in the last budget, promised the streamlining of the SSA salary but nothing concrete has been seen on the ground. So, one can understand that authorities, with policymakers at their back dishing out reforms, also look for various ways and means to trim teachers to fit their design. In such a case, will not the suggested method remain prone to making teachers compete with each other for more favors of organization matters and powerful social forces, so that their remuneration is not affected.

—The writer can be reached at: [email protected]

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