Curriculum / Pedagogy
WIDESPREAD literacy has been a desirable goal in India since pre Independence days. However, there is a wide gap between goals and reality. Even though the percentage in terms of literacy has increased, the absolute number of illiterates in the population has not decreased. In fact, it is larger than ever. Most people who are considered literate (due to the liberal census criteria) are incapable of comprehending what they read.
GLOBALISATION is today being hawked as a new idea. But in fact, over 70 years ago, the idea was advanced by Mahatma Gandhi as the ‘Economic Constitution of the World
THE Yashpal Committee went around the country a few years ago to elicit peoples ’ perceptions of the problem of curriculum burden, following the great Indian tradition of janapada mataanveshana. As a research assistant to the committee, I too talked to teachers and educators in several parts of the country to try and understand how they perceived the problem. One common opinion I heard was that,yes,there is a load,but that it is also necessary:'We have to catch up with the world and be prepared for the twenty-first century.’
IF a curriculum can be viewed as a master plan of what knowledge is considered worthy of passing on to the next generation, then it embodies a vision of the future. As such, a curricular vision is a deeply political exercise. When a nation state which is unable to provide even primary education to all its citizens after nearly 53 years of independence, embarks on a curriculum-making exercise on behalf of a much fissured and fractured national community, the political nature of the exercise necessarily causes anxiety.
THE National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has prepared a new document called ‘National Curriculum Framework for School Education ’.The new document is being discussed in seminars and workshops at various levels. Sometime back the NCERT held discussions on another document,‘The Primary Years:Towards a Curriculum Framework ’;this was supposed to provide a curricular framework as well as serve as a curriculum document.
MATHEMATICS appears to have acquired an identity as an independent branch of knowledge early on in human intellectual history. This identity became precise and firmly established thanks to the Greeks in the millennium before Christ. Two characteristics are vital to this identity: abstraction and logical deduction; these are of course present in all scientific enquiries but in mathematics they are defining elements.
The most important challenge is how to provide essential public services such as education and health to large parts of our population who are denied these services at present. Education is the critical factor that will empower the poor to participate in the growth process and our performance in this area has been disappointing. Literacy is still less than 70% and while the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has expanded access to primary schools in terms of enrolment, it has yet to provide quality education.