The blog presents a formula of five pillars for nation building using education reforms. The formula is outlined after the introduction of two educational models and some ideas for building a lesson plan for the positive thinking.
The two models emphasize continuous updating of the content in discussions with a team of teacher’s. As an example of potentially relevant content, the suggested reading section lists an article by Dr. Bhamy Shenoy. It advocates use of Gandhian solutions to solve some of world’s energy and environmental problems. It can be a lesson in creative thinking and may be relevant for including in the content based teaching and learning.
I intuitively believe that the Gandhian solutions are not an option for all of global challenges, in general and India’s problems in particular. My views in the suggested reading section are reported for two challenges – impacts of the demographic explosion and potential regional military conflict – facing India in 2011 and beyond.
India’s third serious challenge is rural development. A passionate and emotional plea by Prof Premalatha Pai is also presented in the suggested readings section for emphasizing development of “Special Agricultural Zones (SAZ)” over the “Special Economic Zones (SEZ).
Finally, the blog also identifies recent developments in India’s resolve to introduce low cost computers that may help with distance learning of rural youth as well as continuous education of teachers to help deal with good educators’ shortages. INDUSA Endowments is sponsoring LIP (Learning by Doing with INDUSA Practical Technologies Initiatives) with management and tutorial contents by Vigyan Ashram, Pabal, Pune District to releasing a virtual school webpage to help students and teachers’ interested in distance learning.
Two Education Models
Many have said that educational reforms are needed to produce high quality innovative and creative fresh graduate. I agree and suggest that the required education for teacher training should be organized by incorporating a content based continuous education that is offered in the two models: “True Education” and “Positive Thinking”. The suggested readings for contents related education also includes a book by a Harvard professor for revamping the teacher training (see references and notes).
The “True Education” concepts with a case history were presented by Dr. Bhamy Shenoy. A workshop is offered at the Sri Venkatarama SwamiCollege.
The “Positive Thinking” concepts ideas are presented in two blogs. There is sufficient information in the blogs for a good teacher to reduce it to a lesson plan using ideas suggested above. I will consider it an honor and privilege to work with a teacher interested in adopting positive thinking concepts.
“True Education” and “Positive Thinking” models essentially are comparable. True Education model, I believe, is a defined system with standards for class room learning.
The Positive Thinking is field (laboratory) oriented (self-) learning process. For positive thinking process, the educators train students by introducing the process to assemble all facts by direct examination of all issues to develop total picture on each issue. Emphasis is on direct examination of issues to get a complete picture that automatically negates negative thinking. All thoughts are thus facts based and positive.
Basically both models emphasize content based preparations/education and in that sense they are comparable. Metaphorically, the teachers of the true education are scientists and the classroom is their laboratory.
Positive thinking requires a person to engage in direct field examination of all issues to learn full knowledge and in that sense the person is required to think scientifically and for him/her the environment (the field) is the laboratory.
Ideas for Lesson Plans
For developing a lesson plan, to be positive, one starts with defining the issue. Without a definition one cannot stay focused on the issue. In addition to definitions standards to judge the information are also required. You may have to investigate applicable standards for ascertaining what a total picture on any issue is.
Definition is a basis to identify required process for conducting data gathering to learn total truth. Many times truth comes in bits and pieces. You have to cultivate a habit of assembling information bit by bit until you have a ‘total picture’.
Even after this tedious process, you have to stay alert and check and recheck your information or “facts” to be certain that your facts are consistent with reality.
Five pillars of development
To build a developed nation five pillars are suggested. Government policies should establish five pillars to attain its potential as a global power. For an aspiring global power, my previous blog, “Global Economic Powers America, China and India,” identified three basic strengths: political capacity, self sustainable economic strength and a military power that is second to none.
The five pillars are:
- Educating the workforce up to and beyond whatever technology demands.
- Attract the world’s most dynamic and high-IQ NRI and fresh talent from Indian and international schools, universities and technology institutes or hubs to enrich its universities and start new businesses.
- Put together policies and implement the best regulations to incentivize risk-taking while curbing recklessness (not always perfectly).
- Fund research to push out boundaries of science and then let Indian innovators and venture capitalists pluck off most promising new ideas for new businesses.
- Put in place the best infrastructure of ports, roads, and electronic or digital communications for efficient supply chain managements of exports and imports.
Each of five pillars require educated workforce skilled to generate wealth, attract world class faculty for Indian schools and produce creative Indian innovators that are not averse to risk-taking. Government’s job should be restricted to enhance infrastructure including protection by Indian Navy of international navigational lanes for commercial vessels needed for the smooth flow of supply chains for exports of high value products and imports of globally sourced raw materials. Government also needs to incentivize risk-taking for starting new businesses that use innovative and creative talents.
To cultivate most dynamic fresh talent a need is to reform education system to produce creative minds empowered to innovate and generate wealth. Innovators have two choices. Work for industries that specialize in producing value added technology driven products in demand, both by consumers and institutions (military, financial sectors, etc). Second option is to take risk and start a new business. Each option for creative and innovative technologist provides opportunities to create job for multiplying opportunities and generate wealth.
In the existing education system, a teacher works alone all day, everyday, and the isolation is the enemy of improvement and innovation. The suggested model takes teachers away from the isolation mode and enriches his/her knowledge base with improvements and innovations as an interactive player of the teacher’s group or team.
To implement the idea of reforming education let’s get the teachers out of their isolated circumstances and give them time to work together. Today’s students are tomorrow’s workers in any dynamic progressive economically growing nation. The importance of learning new skills that stimulate creativity and innovations, and the high-quality teaching are the real solution to education reforms. Reformed education by necessity should be a partnership between businesses, policy makers and educators.
Reforming education starts with defining
- What excellent teaching is, not just reasonable teaching, and it requires an established standard for that.
- What is most important to learn, and it’s not a memorization-based curriculum, but a thinking-based curriculum.
- In the US KIPP “Knowledge Is Power Program” schools have defined what excellence in teaching and learning is. Graduates of KIPP schools go to college and succeed in college at higher rates than white, middle class kids.
A reference for the US KIPP to a Wikipedia article is provided. Those interested in additional information for “the US KIPP program” should Google the term to learn details. It is essentially a type of education offered by two models discussed in this blog and very demanding on teachers as well as students. When students see how hard teachers work with them and how interested they are in student’s growth, students work even harder to excel.
Important policy changes needed are
- To think of teachers as scientists and the classrooms as their laboratories.
- Require teachers to take content courses that enable them to bring a higher level of intellectual preparation into the classroom.
- Professionalism is defined as working more collaboratively. Give teachers time in the school day and in the school week to work with each other, to continuously improving their curriculum and their lessons.
References and notes
- Bhamy Shenoy, “True Education”, Sri Venkatarama Swamy College (SVS), Bantwal – 574 211, Karnataka, India; A digital copy of the “True Education” booklet is available up on request.
- Bhamy Shenoy, “True Education”, a Proposal by IFHD (www.ifhd.org), CATALYST(www.afhd.org) and PRAGATHI(www.pragathi.info)
- Abstract : This is a case study and the program is already implemented by Dr Bhamy Shenoy in some parts of Karnataka, India where he experienced great change in the thinking of students after the ‘TRUE EDUCATION’
- Kishan Bhatia, “Transcendence Fueled Positive Thinking,” 0620 0708 2011; (3,828); http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2011/07/08/transcendence-fueled-positive-thinking/
- Kishan Bhatia, “Mechanism of Positive Thinking,” 0226 0303 2011; (2,725 words) http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2011/03/03/mechanism-positive-thinking/
- Kishan Bhatia, blog, “Global Economic Powers Comparison America, China And India” (3,553 words) http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2011/08/06/global-economic-powers-comparison-america-china-india/
- Wikipedia article on KIPP the “Knowledge Is Power Program,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_Is_Power_Program
- KIPP is a nationwide network of free open-enrollment college preparatory schools in under-resourced communities throughout the US. KIPP schools are usually established under state charter school laws and KIPP is America’s largest network of charter schools.
- Operating principles: The schools operate on the principle that there are no shortcuts: outstanding educators, more time in school, a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, and a strong culture of achievement and support will help educationally underserved students develop the knowledge, skills, and character needed to succeed in top quality high schools, colleges and in the competitive world beyond.
- For details on curriculum see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curriculum
- More than 95% of KIPP students are African American or Latino / Hispanic; more than 75% are eligible for the federally-subsidized meal program. Students are accepted regardless of prior academic record, conduct, or socioeconomic background. However KIPP schools typically have lower concentrations of special education and limited English proficiency (LEP) students, than the public schools from which they draw
- Michael Nagle for The New York Times “Ed Schools’ Pedagogical Puzzle, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/education/edlife/edl-24teacher-t.html
- David Sirota, July 18, 2011, “How Finland became an education leader” http://www.salon.com/news/david_sirota/2011/07/18/tony_wagner_finland
- Harvard Professor Tony Wagner explains to David Sirota, “how the nation (Finland) achieved extraordinary successes by deemphasizing testing.”
- Tony Wagner “The Global Achievement Gap” Basic Books; ISBN-13: 9780786731749
- Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need – and What We Can Do About It;
- Ch. 1 The New World of Work and the Seven Survival Skills 1
- Ch. 2 TheOld World of School 43
- Ch. 3 Testing, 1 2 3 78
- Ch. 4 Reinventing the Education Profession 126
- Ch. 5 Motivating Today’s Students – and Tomorrow’s Workers 167
- Ch. 6 Closing the Gap: Schools That Work 207
- Conclusion: A Few Answers – and More Questions 255
- Index 284
- MIT Technology Review; http://www.technologyreview.com/business/38172/#.TjlqKLk89v0.email
- New Technology Brings Offshoring to Villages. The next decade will bring remarkable changes in the way office work is done.
- Perhaps nowhere will change be more profound than in countries such as India, where improved network access and smart technologies could make it possible for certain tasks to be divided among people working outside major city centers, including in rural areas.
- Kapil Sibal, Minister for HRD, “India’s Elusive $35 Laptop at Hand; http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/03/is-indias-elusive-35-laptop-at-hand/
- More than a million of the $35 laptops or laplets would be mass-produced and sold to colleges and universities in India, starting about six week from the announcement.
- India is facing an education crisis, in part because there are not enough skilled teachers to meet the rising number of students. Development professionals and government officials hope online learning using the computers will bridge that gap.
- Bhamy Shenoy, “India can be a shining example to solve the world energy and environmental crisis using Gandhian Principle.” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1675619
- My comments to those who insist that Gandhian solutions are applicable to present day India’s problems in all situation is to consider some basic statistical data and demographic explosion taking place in South Asia.
- I am for using Gandhian solutions prudently.
- Proponents of Gandhian solutions mean well and appear to be concerned about 70% of Indians living in the “other” or “the rural India” that relative to 30% emerging urban India is a member of developing third world. The proponents insist on empowering rural India and its farmers with skills and if necessary, offering them subsidies to generate wealth using agricultural life style. IMO, it is an unrealistic expectation considering data presented later. A solution offered by Prof Premalatha Pai to solve rural development problem is also present following my comments.
- I am not an expert on Gandhian solutions for India but intuitively I feel for the reasons discussed below they do not offer practical or the best solutions for South Asia of 2011 – 2030 with two nuclear powers, one of which has threaten to use its first strike nuclear capabilities against India.
- Gandhiji’s programs were designed for India with a population of under 400 million, if at that. Did Gandhiji or for that matter any Indian scientist in 1947 knew about population explosion that we ce today? Population is exploding while availability of land, air and water is fixed.
- Global population in 1804 was 1 billion and in 1927 it was 2 billion. In 2011 it is 7 billion and by 2050 it will be 9.5+ billion. It took 123 years for population to double from 1 to 2 billion and another 84 years to grow by 3.5 times to 7 billion.
- India’s population in 2011 is 1.2 billion and is expected to be 1.5+ billion by 2030. India is facing challenges associated with the demographic explosion.
- Please think through like an economist. With 70% population in rural communities, in 2030+ India will have more than 1 billion people in rural economy.
- Of the 70% rural population, only about 40% farmers have on average about 2 hector or less farm holdings. Rest 30% is mostly semi-literate farm laborers earning less than Rs 60 per day.
- On marginal farms with available rural labor the needed productivity to generate wealth with agricultural business appears to be a pipe dream. Educationally empowered farm workers will be substantially more productive and definitely expensive as is the case in developed lands. If you don’t agree with me you should consult agricultural scholars as I am not an agricultural scientist. I am sure if Dr Bhamy wanted to, he can consult agricultural scientist or obtain information from other friends to verify my speculations.
- India needs to annually produces more than 20+ million additional skilled workers and jobs for them to generate wealth with value added consumer products to continue India’s GDP growth rate at 8+%. India’s agricultural economy in best of last 10 years has grown at 4% or less. We know that most of economic growth was in industrial sectors of the urban centers.
- Gandhiji’s concepts neither addressed the urban economic growth nor addressed a need for the military power that is second to none to maintain our freedoms in rough neighborhood of South Asia.
- I do believe Gandhiji did not have a magic bullet or even a clear vision for what lies in future of India in 2011 and beyond.
- For a look at why global economy in general and why American economy in particular is stagnating, a look at American political realities is necessary. Some answers are available in my blog, “American Vote-Bank Politics and Great Credit Contraction” (3,166 words); http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2011/08/12/american-vote-bank-politics-and-great-credit-contraction/
- By 2014 America is likely to pull out of Afghanistan and then Pakistan army and its surrogate jihadi Taliban may again roam freely in the Af-Pak region and again try to invade India if it senses that militarily India is vulnerable.
- America has invested more than 10 years to neutralize al Qaeda from safe heavens of Pakistan. American and NATO abilities for war in the Af-Pak region is subject to its economy in particular and global economy in general. Simply put, after ten years of war public interest in war is sagging as economically America and NATO are finding it difficult to sustain response to the low intensity war in the Af-Pak region.
- In a private communication Prof Premalatha Pai offered a relevant solution for some of rural India’s problems. She majored in economics for her college studies and is a teacher at the SVS College, Bantwal.
- As long as India continues to have more than a half of its population in rural communities the suggested solution especially makes sense to uplift skills of landless farm hands to take new jobs created in the SAZ to handle agricultural businesses. The operations of SAZ will require businesses to train unskilled rural labor and such actions will help improve incomes of rural communities.
- The SAZ can handle refrigeration units for food storage and transportation, food canning operations, eliminating losses of grains stored in open spaces to biological and environmental factors, including pests and microorganisms. The environmental conditions contributing to grain losses in openly stored spaces include heat (around 30o) and humidity of 70% to 90%. Losses in the nutritional value, caloric value and edibility of crops, by extremes of temperature, humidity or the action of microorganisms, account for food waste. In case of poorly skilled labor, losses are generated in the handling of food and by shrinkage in weight or volume. Overall depending on the source, the estimates for food waste varies from 20% to 40%.
- Prof Pai passionately offered following emotional comments on the issue of “self sustainable economic strength”.
- She asked, “Why not (we) Indians speak on agriculture and development? Why focus only on large Industries?
- In her view industries have to supplement agricultural needs of India. She argued, being an agricultural economy, India should boost agricultural development more than industrial development.
- She added, “instead of going for SEZ, (it is) better to make our farmers fit for setting up of SAZ.
- Whatever fertile lands are owned by the farmers, the government is grabbing it in the name of creating SEZ promising better consumer products for comforts in life.
- But how long will people enjoy this kind of materialistic life and at what cost is the question?
- No doubt the farmers are promised huge payments for the land; though most of these promises are forgotten when the time for actual payment arrives. Her cynicism is based on pervading corruption by Indian bureaucrats and politicians.
- She asserts, aiming at industrial development at the cost of fertile cultivating lands is totally a foolish act on the part of the government dancing to the tunes of some influentialMNC’s.
- She suggested, let the Government provide the same facilities – SAZ – to the farmers which it wants to extend to the industrial ventures in SEZ and let them grow best crops.
- She concluded whatever development we speak of now is of no use if you don’t get food to survive. We can’t survive by the industrial products. Ultimately one will breathe his last due to hunger for food and never for the sake of products of industries.
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