Apr 1, 2013

Next time you are bullied tell them you are on an exponential learning curve!

Is it "the right time" for education system to introspect on its evaluation and certification process?

You see, you have been bullied every now or than for apparently no good reasons especially in your early growth phase as you can recall from your childhood memories and being bullied even today while you undertake every new challenge. Take a pause and rewind, being bullied for not performing as well as the next bright child in your class or neighborhood, not been able to memories the obvious answers to the obvious questions asked in the endless class tests, being bullied for not performing financially as well compared to people with similar background in life.

Let’s see what's the DNA of this bullying business and has it any significance in the light of the fact that learning and absorption capacity of a person is mostly independent of their childhood performance due to several unknown and very unpredictable environmental influences and opportunities available in one's life as they grow compared to limited and intentionally restricted options available/ provided to them in early childhood. Has it any significance at all in today’s rapidly changing world with emerging technologies, accessible and free resources of knowledge and why this business of bullying should fade away real fast, at least why its high time for the same to happen. Let’s see why the boundaries of education system should and will disappear very soon.

If you will closely observe the peripheral resources of learning available today while tracing the chronological changes in streams of information dissemination and future possibilities of technological infusion in informal learning process which all cumulatively presenting a new and broadened learning process, this informal learning process is getting so inclusive, so fast every passing day that it will make your head spin. These informal learning tools are mostly ignored in education process at present. 

Let’s look at the parallel growth in education system, which apparently seems way behind the real life real time pace of development when it comes to learning process - internet, smart phone, social networking just couple of examples though, you know! Unfortunately none of these wonderful tools of information exchange and knowledge transfer which have become core of everyone's everyday life are in the priority list of education system at all, and neither going to be an area of interest or exploration very soon for them, rather they will make sure that this plethora of life changing tools shouldn't get into the education system in the name of discipline, in the light of childhood vulnerability! Of course you need some kind of regulatory mechanism.

If we go with the current ideology of educational evaluation system then people in their life should be arranged in the exact same order of professional success as they were arranged in their school or graduation class, as evaluated based on their marks gained, based on their knowledge of the curriculum, but take a look around and you will realize it’s not true, it can’t be and it will never be true. The current evaluation system doesn't acknowledge the real potential of individual; they just care about the part of potential confined to their established boundary of curriculum, including peripheral limited activities like cultural and sports participation, ignoring the future environmental influences especially technological ones.

Present educational evaluation system seems somewhat flawed and bit dangerous as well; this whole process of establishing and certifying who has what capacity at the very early stage of individual's growth period while the growth of a person is directly proportional to what kind of opportunities he or she received in post schooling or later part of educational or personal life. Imagine a hypothetical situation in which an institution firmly establishes this fact that some particulate child has capacity of a D+ grade performance in primary or high school level, imagine if he or she could not get through selection process of a good school at secondary or higher secondary level and hence could not further got enrolled in a good university because of that D+ grade. Now imagine, what if that same child becomes extremely knowledgeable and efficient few years down the line after completing primary or high school education possibly due to new environmental influences, due to the latest learning tools and vast knowledge resources available today, what if he or she is the first one to grasped and master the latest tools of learning and research, what if that D+ grade student is technically the soundest candidate for higher secondary or university entrance but couldn't secure admission just because some institution had long back established and authoritatively certified the poor grade of student based on some skewed benchmark. A dream might get devastated due to early certification of knowledge on a discreet fragmented evolution system often within a limited bandwidth of educational framework. Couple of questions for you to answer - Can you justify assessment establishing poor performance of a geek child in cultural and sports activities or visa-versa? Can you justify assessment based on questions asked in class tests, answers of which you can find out in less than 20 seconds in Google? Can you justify bullying of that poor student who does not know the one word answer of that textbook question, when he or she can find out a precise and elaborate answer of that question within seconds while learning much more in the process only if you could have allowed him or her to use their smart phone? What’s the validity of asking such questions today and what is the validity of educational assessment based on such questions today at all? Don’t you think it’s the right time for the education system to introspect?

Mutation of educationsystem due to technological infusion is an emerging area of exploration which educational strategists should focus on. Learning is a constant process, and with the exponentially growing free and accessible resources of knowledge, learning process is bound to be an exponential phenomenon. So, if you are a parent or a teacher or educationalist think twice before bullying your child or student or to those supposedly less knowledgeable than you today, because they are going to come back tomorrow loaded with knowledge and laced with such innovative tools of precise knowledge acquisition which we can’t even imagine today. Today's comparison of two kids has no realistic relation or reflection at all with the actual success in their life in future when they will be at the highly accentuated curve of learning, the only deciding factor would be who shows how much interest in the emerging technologies and sources of learning, who familiarize himself or herself how much and who absorbs how fast and all of this is totally independent from the performance and potential assessment of today.

It’s not just the fault of education system which apparently fails to timely acknowledge the impact and possibility of technological development which has and will always outpace the development of educational system. Education system has its own constraints which we should also acknowledge, which is that they need to thoroughly investigate, assess and validate everything before letting it into the curriculum of education system, they can’t really merge the trending knowledge into the mainstream education without thorough understanding of the trend and its possible impact on the students, young or mature, and by the time they understand the trend and tame it down to the extent to be eligible for the mainstream educational inclusion, that trend becomes outdated, hence this constantly lagging process of chasing new knowledge and hence this outdated dissipation of knowledge through structured education system. And since the benchmark of assessment is outdated, there is grossly wrong process of assessment of students as well. For another example, no matter what and how extensively that particular student knows about some area of his or her interest, it is not going to help him get the good grade unless that knowledge is about one of the couple of subjects specified in the curriculum. That student is supposed to stick to the curriculum diet imposed on them by the institution; apparently every other knowledge is irrelevant in the eyes of education system at least that’s what they think is important to secure a good job at the end of the day. A fundamentally wrong notion of educational performance at least a highly irrelevant model of evaluation of talent in today's world when you are not just solely dependent on schools and universities for your learning, while you are learning wherever you are, whenever you want, in that very moment, learning on your mere wish. In spite of all this free and immense knowledge the existence of educators can’t be negated, what is needed is to have a holistic approach towards talent evaluation and fast inclusion of technological shifts.

This is "Learning on the go" generation and we can’t confine it in the predefined boundary of education, we can’t impose on others what they should learn, rather they should decide what they want to learn and it’s our responsibility to provide them the customized curriculum of their individual interest, education system will increasingly have to be much more flexible, it’s inevitable and its need of the hour. What needs to be done here is that to create a macro framework for the education system, flexible, fast and inclusive enough to quickly notice, sanitize and accommodate the changes occurring in technological field and otherwise, into the mainstream education system. A framework which makes the educational system sensible and smart enough to allow unlocking the true potential of unique individuals rather than mass production.

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