Dialogue for New India

Dialogue for New India – Alternative Pedagogical Systems and their Role in Building New India

When ideas converge, when thinkers deliberate, when experts share, a nation is put on a trajectory of development through informed decision making and aware citizenry. To realize the goal of New India 2022, as envisioned by out Prime Minister, we seek to advance on the idea of New India and keep the deliberations going through PPRC’s Platform – ‘Dialogue for New India’. Speakers from Different walks of life shall share their experiences and ideas and contribute towards creating a rich repository for NEW India. This Month’s speaker was Dr. Ramanujan, an experienced and dedicated academician with extensive work on education system in India and reforms.

Dr Ramanujam, the Distance Education Professor at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, was invited to speak for the first “Dialogue for New India”. The topic of the day was “Alternative Pedagogical Systems and Their Role In Building New India”.

The speaker started off with an interesting historical perspective of teaching and pedagogy. The Greek and Roman systems of three-tier education, which India follows to this day was introduced in detail. The discussion then veered toward the languages used in the system. Due to our historical circumstances, Indian languages lost opportunity to evolve organically, having to depend on the Western languages for precise expressions and even literary critique in some instances. This, the speaker says, was a great tragedy. So, he propounds a robust language policy for improved pedagogy and learning systems to build New India.

Native language must be given foremost importance because of its importance to develop cognitive skills during the development stages of the neural systems; to be able to play a productive role in intellectual activities. In addition, even on the national interaction front, language plays a great role in bringing together diverse culture with language breaking the crucial barrier.

The conception of our universities was unlike the western universities. Their objectives were different. However, over time, there has come a conscious dilemma that questions the assumption that teacher is the sole guardian of knowledge. This paved way for establishment of distance education institutions in our country which today educate around 26% of the entire student population. The aim is to improve this to 40%.

The onset of technology has brought many innovative means of education. For instance, the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), that have proved to be paradigm shift in the realm of distance education. They have democratised the knowledge that was hitherto privy to elite centres of learning is henceforth available to every person that has access to the internet.

Education is the cornerstone of New India. And it is very important to distinguish literacy and education. Hitherto, our efforts were focussed to make people literate. The future that the nation seeks, however, needs something more. It needs values, morals, and ideals ingrained

and internalized by the youth of India. To educate the numerous youth of our country, innovative pedagogical means are necessary.

The speaker concluded by saying that the New India we all envisage is within reach should education be approached through unconventional and innovative models which create a wave of literacy and other impalpable aspects of an educated society.

The discussion followed a brief question and answer session during which interesting and insightful details of education’s role in New India are elaborated and examined. The next session of “Dialogue for New India” hosts another expert to delineate the ways to achieve the New India of our dreams.

© Copyright 2015 PPRC