Bias-Free: Schools & Education

Bias-Free: Schools & Education

Bias-Free: Schools & Education

Many years ago, our legendary President Dr. Abdul Kalam, had dreamt of a developed India by 2020.
It almost seems surreal that we are now in 2020, and that dream remains a dream. We have as a nation and society moved on in many ways, but in many more ways, we are still way behind on our journey to realise that dream. In most indices, especially in terms of health and education, we as a nation have a long way to go.
Effective and harmonious societies are built on trust and respect. While this sounds relevant on paper, the ground reality we live in today says a very different story. Mistrust and disrespect rules our society today; this is evident at all levels of our societal fabric. The recent past has witnessed some very disturbing trends across the world and India in particular. Our Parliament is passing laws and making policies not because they are the highest priority for our citizens, but because they have a majority and they can do it. Personal freedom and respect for basic societal norms don’t seem to matter. Political parties can stoop to any level and jump to any bandwagon to ensure they are in power; there is no semblance of ideology or vision. Financial policies are being implemented to follow an agenda and not necessarily to make the lives of the common man better. The common man has taken onto social media with a vengeance, and everyone is expressing themselves without any censor – sharing information like they witnessed the incident personally or giving ‘gyan’ in the form of forwards like they have experienced it. Everyone has an opinion, and they are making it loud and clear.
I got on the expression bus myself and decided to share my thoughts and research. Over the past month, I have been travelling extensively to interact with school teachers and principals as part of Mentor Connect with the theme – ‘would a human remain relevant in the future classroom?’ I see a massive influx of new-age tech in our classrooms and the education domain in the coming decade. In the past two decades, technology has had a reasonable impact on education; but in the coming decade, it is all set to transform education.
While this change is happening, the role of the teacher becomes ever so important as they will be the only human connect in the classroom. This is where the real challenge lies – to nurture and retain the human. We will have to overcome two aspects to ensure that the human connect survives i.e. indifferent attitude and biases of teachers. The increasing interference and disrespect from parents are leading teachers to have an indifferent attitude towards children. An involved teacher gets emotional and can land up being corrective and suggestive. If this natural human behaviour is not accepted, and if the school system does not protect the teacher, they get into a habit of being indifferent. The other aspect is that political, social, religious and economic biases have become integral to our societal fabric, and both teachers and students have the tendency to bring it into the classrooms. The end result is the bridge between the teacher and student, that is the key to learning, is being destroyed.
As we embark upon a new decade, the theme of education in the 2020s is loud and clear – ‘save the schools from biases and disrespect’.

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