I am a big fan of my country India. As an Indian, I do not know as much about my country as I should. Not my fault entirely India is vast and diverse.
I am on a mission. To explore every bit about India for a lifetime. However, this makes me ponder on the education I received in school.
Would it have helped if my education system was a bit different?
When I was in class 4, my first lesson in geography taught me about astronauts, the moon and space. I was fascinated by it all. I came home and told my mom- Maa- I want to become an astronaut! They are cool people. But then, in my next chapter, I moved to understanding the tidal waves.
After every classroom learning, every chapter had questions in terms of fill in the blanks, chronological order, brief answers. Those were the easy ones. Some teachers would ask those in the exams. Sometimes, there were some surprise questions that would come from anywhere outside the textbook! Nostalgic about those times. Eh?
The school textbooks of history taught me more about the independence struggle than stories of its people.Patriotism was drilled in me and I loved reading India’s independence struggle. Gandhi and Nehru were my heroes.
How awesome would it been if I understood the meaning of the quote said by Mahatma Gandhi- ‘India lives in her villages while I was still a 10-year-old.
If I were taken to a village would I have understood the issues of the country better than learning from a textbook?
How awesome would it have been if I were taken to the Prince of Whales Museum in Mumbai to understand the Indus Valley Civilisation?
Would it have been nicer if learning happened outside my classroom?
Would it have been better if I travelled to a place, saw the diversity of India while I was still in school?
If this happened in schools in India:-
Perhaps, the myth about India not being safe would have busted.
Perhaps, children would appreciate India more – its culture, art, history and agriculture among other things.
Perhaps, parents would not put their children in coaching classes with the sole mission to enroll them to in an IIT- Indian Institute of Technology to become an engineer.
Perhaps, I would have developed a thought process from an early age and would have seen things from a different perspective.
Perhaps, I would have a better understanding of the leanings and opportunities in what we called rural India which comprises 60 % of our population.
Perhaps, I would have been better informed and would be able to question the practices in the media.
Learn when you travel through experiential learning.
Even today, there is limited scope for experiential learning in a classroom environment. How nice would it have been if children were taken to a place where they traveled and learnt through experiential learning.
If there was a School of Travel in our country that would have catered to teaching children while travelling!
In India, a gap year is not much appreciated. A year for travel or to explore yourself? That cost’s so much money! Perhaps, an iPhone would be a better bet. Eh?
We Indian’s do not travel for travel’s sake. Yes, times have been changing.More and more people are taking up travel as a career. Both men and women alike have been travelling. Would have been nicer, if the seeds were sown at an early age.
I only wish I knew about the benefits of travel and experiential learning when I was a child. the education system will change someday. Maybe, I am an idealist. Maybe, I am an optimist.
However, I will not want my children to fall prey to the education system and classroom learning which I was a victim of
Who knows, someday I will have my own travel school.
The world is a classroom.