We all know how standard education works in India. The focus is on theory. Children learn the same subjects for centuries, math, physics, biology, history, etc. It goes this way from Elementary to Secondary to High School. And University is not much different–the theory again.
A group of pioneers led by Payam from New Delhi tries to break the trend. They plan to establish several 21st century educational institutes around India. Payam believes that the educational system is outdated, and needs a complete re-haul. Former successful businessmen, he and his investors have enough money to establish the institutes. They plan to open their gates for both paying and government-supported students. In the moment they negotiate with the district government to receive the same financial support per student as traditional schools are granted. The result of these negotiations will determine whether they’ll pursue with the project or not. But the plan is already set….
Mix of theory and practice
Payam’s group plans to connect traditional subjects with innovative one, adding manual skills to the healthy mix. They consider the current generation in India as ‘over-technical’, lacking both the communication skills ans social skills, and most importantly lacking handicraft. Payam hopes to bring back joy to Indian households, and make young people talking again. India, long famous for the sales skills and handicraft, has lost the reputation for both of these in recent decade.
Teachers from the ‘street’
Another innovation Payam looks to introduce is hiring a mix of traditional teachers (those holding masters or bachelor degree in teaching) and experts from practical life, as part time teachers. Successful businessman, craftsmen, salesmen should find some time to share their knowledge with the pupils from the institute, moving their legacy further. By bringing in people who actually achieved successes in their respective fields, Payam believes to help the children finding positive role models, and to actually learn (and observe) skills and abilities that are needed for success in 21st century.
Overcoming legal barriers and problems
The biggest issue Payam’s model faces is bureaucracy. Money are easily spent in India, on all kind of things, but education has stayed in a limbo for a long while. Payam finds it hard to break the spell, since most people are satisfied with how things work at the moment. ‘India is moving forward as a country’, they insist. They say that the country is prospering on a global scale.
Payam, however, believes that success of the country should not be measured purely by economics, and that other variables–such as happiness of general public, the variety of activities, the cultural heritage, the quality of relationships, etc. play more important role than the GDP and other economic measures so often cited by the government.
Sometimes we can find ourselves satisfied with how things work in our family, in our city or country. But the one who stops moving forward actually falls backward, since others are moving forward and passing him on their way. Clever businessmen and leaders do not wear pink glasses on their heads. They understand the problems of modern India, and come up with suggestions on how to make things better. We should follow their example and support their ideas.