Experts voice need for kids to have a voice in classroom

Participative pedagogy

Experts voice need for kids to have a voice in classroom

The education system in India lacks democratic space for children. Most often, children are afraid to speak in the classroom. In fact, both schools and homes have failed to provide democratic spaces for children, education experts have found.

A day-long national policy workshop, “Dialogues - Transforming Citizenship Education” which aimed towards policy reforms in both primary and higher education, was organised with the participation of the Indian Institute of Management- Bangalore, Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness, Centre for Corporate Governance and Amnesty International India, to come up with recommendations for the government, to make both primary and higher education more interactive.

The workshop involved education experts, teachers, activists and students too. Experts took inputs from students about the classroom situation and the changes they would like to see in their institutions. Some of the observations made based on the workshop were that there was no link between the topics taught in the classroom and what happens around students. Hence, they fail to relate to it and have a passive involvement in the teaching-learning process.

On their part, children who participated in the workshop pointed out that there was a lack of role models around them who they could look up to. It was found that the NCERT textbooks were more interactive compared to the State board books.

The information in textbooks was presented in a manner that encouraged rote learning, pointed out Poonam Batra, educationist, Central Institute of Education, Delhi University. Even though teachers alone need not be seen as objects that require to be changed, teacher education at large needs reorientation, she said.  At the end of the day-long session, experts came up with a charter which vowed to work towards democratisation of education.

The CMCA will compile all the recommendations that came up into a report. Ajay Seth, principal secretary, Primary and Secondary Education, who took part in the event, promised that the government would support the initiative. 

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