Friday, Oct 10, 2003
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By R. Sujatha
At the Vedavalli Vidhyalaya, a rural school, 20 per cent students are first generation learners. In their presentation, the children recalled their classroom experiences that include a large dose of the outdoors. Most of the learning takes place in laboratories there is one each for mathematics and language, besides other science subjects.
The display included magazines handwritten and produced with imagination, sculptures, paintings on wood and glass, and wonderful creations with shells, wastepaper, bamboo and paper.
Their amazing versatility left visitors wowing the teachers' enterprise and the students' willingness to be moulded into tolerant, confident, skilled and enterprising citizens of the future.
At the Raj Bhavan, the Governor, who inaugurated a seminar organised by the school on effective teaching strategies to make learning easy, said encouraging the creativity in a child helped it to learn quickly. While Indian education was classroom and teacher-centric, countries such as the U.S. emphasised student participation.
Children amassed data but failed to apply them and this must be the challenge that should be addressed to at the primary and the middle school level. This would make the children confident, willing to take risks and face problems. In 15 years, India would become the source of intellectual capital because of the sheer demographics. While developed countries would have an aging population, more than 50 per cent of the Indian population would be less than 35 years. By refreshing the education system India could capitalise on this.
R. Parthasarathy, managing trustee, Akshaya Vidhya Trust, said the school was an experiment aimed at changing the trend of churning out students who lost out in a competitive world because they lacked communication skills.
Since the school believed that child was a customer, its inquisitiveness and the participation of its parents in the changes brought into the school enabled the school's development, he said.
Kaushik John, a tenth standard student, presented the Governor with a pencil sketch of Gandhiji and a glass painting of the school.
S. Paramasivan, Director of School Education, said the State's participation in national competitive tests was low because parents still wanted their children to become doctors or engineers. Textbooks for standards VII to XII would be revised in 2004 and 2005, he said. The seminar was sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services.
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