Educating Millions : a new approach

Going back to the Drawing Board:
Several years ago, around the year 2009, I wrote a piece for the National Council for Teacher Education, that was published in a volume ” Teacher Education: Reflections Towards Policy Formulation” edited by M.A.Siddiqui, A.K.Sharma and G.L.Arora.
The piece had the title ” Information and Communication Technologies in Education: Implications for Teacher Education” and while many details in 2009 have been fundamentally changed, it had a section at the end, for which it seems that the time is ripe today.
In fact the last sentences of the article have been copied below:
“In going back to the drawing board to ‘re-look’ the education system to meet the challenges of the future, where the starting point is not 20 students of similar abilities in a class but a million diverse learners who have to be transformed efficiently over a short period of time with predictable rates of success and then this model of teaching a million students at a time, has to be replicated a hundred times.”

For ready reference, the last part of that article is copied below:

11. Independent Educators:

We need to re-assert and re-establish the supremacy of the teacher, and not the bureaucrat or the Institution. S we enter the Knowledge Economy, it is important to appreciate that education alone will create valuable knowledge products for global use, and this alone will let us flourish ad thrive in the new age. If we establish a teaching profession, which meets International standards in keeping with the call of globalisation, it permits independent practitioners to move about under mode 4 of the GATS as well as practice their profession at home without the need for Institutional intermediaries, and with access to training in modern ICT tools, both for synchronous and asynchronous interactions across the globe.
In the recent years, the three ideas that have had a huge impact on the way organizations work are quality, business processes and their re-engineering and the importance of intellectual capital. All three must be assimilated into the educational systems, because it is the teachers who will become leaders in the knowledge economy, as they alone know how to construct knowledge. A mere expert knows his subject, but a good teacher knows how a person can learn the subject. If it can be done in a measured way, it can develop into teaching technologies rather than mere magic at the hands of a great teacher or anon-replicable art in the hands of a few that will eventually die out. With the help of well developed learning contracts, clearly articulated learning outcomes and learner tracking systems, it can almost be ensured that the agreed learning outcomes are achieved.
Just as it is legitimately possible for any lawyer, doctor, engineer, architect, chartered accountant to work for a state government, the central government, a large corporation, a small business or to work independently on his own, it should be possible for qualified educators to work outside the traditional Institutional framework on their own.

The separation of powers doctrine in governance applies most neatly when ministerial departments implement legislation made by Parliament and are subject to judicial review by the courts. Like the separation of powers in good democratic governance and the principles that are being applied to good corporate governance, if we decouple the responsibilities for laying down of standards, conduct of examinations, the teaching-learning processes, and maintain databases that are shared with potential employers of qualifications acquired by learners, holding the certificates in de-materialised forms like we do for de-mat shares, we can see a lot of opportunities for educationists. Collective, co-operative networking arrangements with branded teachers working together under a brand that communicates a commitment to a shared vision would remove many ills of the present system and unlock the large potential that we have in retired accomplished teachers or unemployed younger talented people. Teachers need not ever retire and can continue to play a role in imparting education till they can do so (incidentally there is no retirement age for politicians, lawyers, doctors and many other professions). This idea is a very straightforward solution to the twin problems of educated unemployment and not enough access to education to the needy.

The other professions have bodies such as the Bar Council, the Medical Council, the Institute of a Chartered Accountants. We can have such an Educational or Teachers Council, which may be a constituent component of NCTE.
The recent amendments in the Companies Act that are proposed regarding the one person Company and the concept of Limited Liability Partnership can help facilitate this further. Educators can work independently as one person company in their individual capacity, or a group of educators can form a limited liability partnership, and in both these ways can seek investors and support from financial institutions, especially those dealing with small and micro-enterprises. And if required there can be special provisions for such educational entities to prevent any possible abuse.

About mmpant

Prof. M.M.Pant has a Ph.D in Computational Physics, along with a Professional Law Degree, and has been a practitioner in the fields of Law, IT enabled education and IT implementation. Drawing upon his experience in world class international institutions and having taught in various modes of Face-to-Face, Distance Learning and Technology Enhanced Training, Prof. Pant is now exploring the nature of institutions which will be successors to the IITs, which represented the 1960s, IIMs, which represented the 1970 and Open Universities which were the rage of 1980s & 90s. He believes that the convergence between various media and technologies would fundamentally alter the way learning would be created, packaged, and delivered to learners. His current activities are all directed toward actual implementation of these new age educational initiatives that transform education in the post Internet post WTO era.. Prof. Pant, has been a Former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and has been on the faculty of IIT – Kanpur (the premier Engineering institution in India), MLNR Engineering College and Faculty & Visiting Professor - University of Western Ontario-Canada. He has been visiting scientist to research centers in Italy, England, Germany & Sweden and has delivered international lectures with about 80 papers published. During his association of almost 15 years with the IGNOU, Prof. Pant has served as the Director Computing and has been the Member of All Bodies (i.e. School boards, Academic council, Planning board, Finance committee and the Board of management). With his interest in Law, backed with practice of Law in a High Court, and his basic training in Science and IT, Prof. Pant has been particularly interested in the Cyber Law, Patent & trade mark issues, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues etc. and has been involved with many activities, conferences on “Law & IT” Prof. Pant is presently; • Advisor to Media Lab Asia - Chairman of working group on ICT for Education, chairman of PRSG handling projects on ICT for education. • Lead Consultant for an ADB funded project for ICT in Basic Education in Uzbekistan • Member of the drafting Group for India’s National Policy on ICT in education • Chairman of the group creating books for class 11 and 12 students on ‘Computers and Communication Technology’ appointed by the NCERT • Preparing a ‘Theme Paper” for the NCTE in the area of ICT and Teacher Training • Advisor and mentor to several leading Indian and Multi-national Companies in the area of education. Prof. Pant has in the recent past been ; • Member – Board of Management – I I T, Delhi for 6 years (two consecutive terms) • One-man committee to create the Project Report & Legislation for Delhi IT-enabled Open University • Advisor to the Delhi Government on Asian Network of Major Cities Project (ANMC-21) distance learning project in association with Tokyo Metropolitan Government. • Chairman Board of Studies, All India Management Association With his mission to create and implement new business opportunities in the area of e-learning & learning facilitation, Prof. Pant has promoted Planet EDU Pvt. Ltd., as its Founder & Chairman, along with a team of highly experienced and skilled professionals from Education & Training, Operations, IT and Finance.
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