While concluding the series I will be available to all the educationists and school managements who have an honest desire to move forward with singular commitment that every child receives and every child achieves.
As I meandered through reminiscences, reflections, introspections about the myriad issues that eclipse the beauty of that very special corner of the earth I call home, I had happy reunions with friends and colleagues of my youthful days and made many new connections with like- minded people who shared my concerns and discussed the future of the valley once so green.
My intentions were definitely not cynical; my endeavours of the pen [laptop in today’s modern world] were an attempt to create a heightened awareness of the umpteen issues that plague my homeland. It was perhaps a mirror I was holding to help clear the murky images of modern day lethargy and ennui and awaken kindred spirits to revive, if not the past glory, then at least a community of educated thinkers who will identify the problems at their core and shake a few molehills if not mountains of neglect and complacence and create a hope of a new and improved Kashmir free from the shackles of ignorance and corruption , a Kashmir that resonates Tagore’s dream of “into that heaven of freedom my lord , let my country awake.”
People don’t fail, systems fail, but the good news is we hold the reins and we have the power to change those systems that are no longer delivering the service they once promised.
People who matter, who have the ability to make a change through cognitive perception of real world issues unfortunately do not do justice to the society. Problems surmount, apathy persists and personal gain and self -glorification rule the thought processes.
During these reflections I have received a number of feedback from young of J&K, I came across outstanding and promising writers giving me unshakeable faith that our collective wisdom when applied cannot go wrong.
I am winding up this reflective series about education and other equally harrowing issues including the devastation caused by the floods, political unrest and lack of business opportunities.
Let us look towards the future with optimism and hope. I know that at the end of the day this may be a small initiative that may or may not have any appreciable impact, however it kept my mind aligned to reality.
While concluding the series I will be available to all the educationists and school managements who have an honest desire to move forward with singular commitment that every child receives and every child achieves. The journey became richer and the understanding sharper on account of feedback received during this journey as a reflective practitioner
I would like to thank the editor for being a partner in the journey of reflective understanding of issues past and present and those likely to surface in the future.
I leave you all with the burning issues and questions that need deep reflection and serious action:
? How do we enable transfer of skills for effective teaching, the one who dares to teach must never cease to learn;
? Wither teacher education – education technology an optional paper, no scaling up of BEd curriculum to match international standards;
? Quality is urgent – improving the quality of education in schools is a matter of urgency. The school Inspection committee is conspicuous by its absence. What about Accreditation? A huge pool of educators that are talented and possessing an enviable quality are available in J&K in its diaspora across the globe; is there a willingness and a felt urgency to tap this willing talent pool or do we wait for the bubble to burst;
? Independent audit of teacher education a must;
? Most wanted – resourceful teachers “computers do not noticeably improve school pupils academic results and can even hamper performance;
? Analysing shifting teacher and learner requirements in current and future learning spaces;
? Schools facilitiesand classrooms must be flexible enough to accommodate changing learning patterns and methods;
? English or mother tongue , create a platform for lifelong learning and learning for understanding while retaining mother tongue as the medium of instruction while at the same time be creative in enabling the fulfilment of the aspirations of the people to have sound knowledge of English that seems to be the proverbial stairway to success;
? Time for serious questions about language proficiency– should we teach in English with teachers having low levels of English themselves;
? Classrooms without textbooks –myth or reality educational institutions in Asia need to invest hugely in curriculum mapping, before doing away with textbooks , integration of IT shift in pedagogy and methodology;
? Parent engagement must be an on- going process;
? Paradise on earth – environment and ecological balance , promote water conservation ethics among children or are we waiting for Dal lake also to start foaming;
? No playground, no play, active learning central to child development;
? Raising the stink, basic facilities, toilet and hand washing facility direct link to poor hygiene and sanitation and disease;
? Learning outcomes – a journey not a destination –outcome based learning effective curriculum and effective pedagogy, effective assessments;
? Quality control or assurance, teacher accountability and qualifications.
Signing off with the hope that with our collective wisdom we will make a difference in the educational landscape of Kashmir because as Allama Iqbal rightly said:
Who ilm jis say aouroon ko faida na houa
Hamray agay barabar hai howa na howa
- A writer, thinker, published author, and an educationist, Dr. Farooq Ahmad Wasil, is GLOBAL HEAD low cost schools, GEMS Education, Dubai, UAE. He has over 3 decades of experience in the field of education – setting up, operating and managing schools. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is painful to watch the happenings in Kashmir. My current assignment is getting very hectic and I am constantly travelling. I thought of concluding this journey with a final article entitled reflections. I shall revert with my new initiative that may be a monthly article. My gratitude to you and the entire team at Kashmir Images. May your tribe grow from strength to strength.