The new education policy, NEP 2020, takes a paradigm shift on our understanding of two key questions. These are “how to learn” and “how to make our students lifelong learners”. It aims at devising ways to disengage students from rote learning and engage them in experiential learning, in order that they may become independent learners.
The NEP clearly states that schools should not merely condition and limit the students to mugging up facts and memorising information. Rather, schools should adopt learning approaches that enhance students’ learning outcomes, enable them to develop competencies required to solve real problems, and make them future-ready.
The CBSE has been working proactively and consistently in upgrading the education system by incorporating innovative reforms in pedagogy and assessments even when the idea of NEP 2020 was in a nascent stage. In its effort to integrate constructive pedagogies within the existing framework, it has taken a few landmark decisions in the past. One of them was the introduction of art integration in learning and making learning experiential and multidisciplinary in 2019 (vide circular no. ACAD-12/2019 dated March 8, 2019).
The other was regarding the mandatory implementation of learning outcomes-based teaching-learning process to be adopted in all affiliated schools (vide circular no. ACAD-05/2019 dated January 18, 2019). These two decisions paved the path for schools to engage in competency-based education (CBE).
The underlying focus of CBE is to ensure the attainment of proficiency in learning by students and to make them capable of dealing with real-life situations at age- and grade-appropriate levels. Per the guidelines provided by CBSE, the goals of CBE can be achieved only by implementing innovative and experiential pedagogies, such as art integrated learning, sports integrated learning, learning through storytelling, and so on.
For ensuring proper implementation of these pedagogies, the CBSE has prepared various guidance manuals and curated online courses, and is also carrying out exercises to train the teachers. To ensure quality and homogeneity, it is now mandatory for all CBSE schools to upload the art integrated projects (AIPs) prepared by students and reports on the implementation of art integrated learning on the dedicated portal available on the Board website.
As we enter the era of the Fourth Education Revolution, where the physical, digital and biological spheres are converging at a quick pace, it has become imperative for all of us to reimagine education. The advancement of AI is changing the face of education across the world and creating opportunities vis-à-vis new threats and challenges. A significant portion of the job sector in which humans are engaged today will be taken over by machines in future. According to Bernard Marr, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Education Revolution will bring about a drastic change in the way we live, work and educate our children. These shifts will be driven by new-age technologies.
We need to intensify our efforts in imparting STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) education to all, irrespective of socio-economic disparity, sex and cultural diversity, because every individual will need technological skills in order to survive an uncertain future. They will also require adaptability, collaboration, emotional intelligence, mental agility, communication and unstructured problem-solving ability.
How learning should be assessed then is a big question. Innovative methods are the answer whereby assessments are individualised on the standard pattern displayed by the child. Assessing the child in multiple ways keeping their interest in mind and allowing them to conduct exploratory activities in a collaborative manner builds up original thinking. It develops flexibility to work at one’s own pace and be open to evaluations. Various assessment tools like teach-back, bricolage, digital badges and blockchains help the child reflect and review his learning effectively. The CBSE, of late, is supporting such assessments and has issued guidelines to schools in this regard.
The internal assessment policy of CBSE asks schools to assess students through periodic/topical tests, multiple assessments and subject enrichment activities, besides explorative and structured projects. Multiple-choice type competency-based questions as an alternative to term-end exams, based on a reduced syllabus, is also a move in this direction.
The role the CBSE is playing is indeed commendable as it is empowering us with its reforms to celebrate the unique potentials of every child. As educators, we should give our learners wings to explore and fly. We should widen our perspective and redefine success by revisiting our curriculum and aligning it to the NEP where “every child matters”.
Let us build a community of conscious, curious, creative and confident global citizens....