GOVERNMENT subsidies can help in bringing paradigm shift in implementation of progressive education across nation

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You have had a long entailment in the advocacy and practice of progressive education in Nepal. How was such concept emanated in you and what factors influenced you to embark on this program?

Knowledge and skills are the demand of time and circumstances. During the 18th century, particularly, at the dawn of industrial era, there was the need of human resources that could work in industry and operate machines since it was the dawn of industrial revolution. So, schooling and efforts were made to produce such kind of human resources. Similarly, during the 19th century, social development took a new shape and various theories were propounded regarding the learning processes of children. The theorists during that time advocated that every child has different and unique learning ways and capacity; hence, a traditional way of teaching could no more be effective. Subsequently, a pedagogical movement began in the late nineteenth century and has persevered in various forms till the present. It is such a learning approach that gives emphasis on learning by doing – hands-on projects and experiential learning.

In this system of learning, an integrated curriculum is focused on thematic units where the curriculum is guided by the children’s learning abilities, a concept known as active learning. This system is widely practiced in Scandinavian countries from the early days. In Scandinavian countries, children are often praised for leading the way towards better, and choices are given from grade six.

I had received education from traditional school which was not conceptual learning. Later, while I was given Montessori training, I realized that every child has a unique learning capacity, and teachers should be able to identity it. I realized that conceptual learning is the real and long lasting learning which is possible only through progressive education.

Progressive education is the student- centric education where education is imparted based on the learning interest and ability of the children. In this system, teachers are just the facilitators, and the curriculum is the guideline for dissemination of education.

To what extent were you confident in the initial phase of launching progressive education in your school? What outcomes have you achieved till the date?

I was fully confident that real learning is possible only through experience and concept. In fact, a concept is the main get-upand-go for active learning. For example, if the students have concept of 1 and 3, they can easily understand 13. Similarly, experiences are the fundamental for progressive education. For example, one has to swim to learn swimming. In this system, the integrated curriculum is focused on thematic units as well as emphasis on learning by doing – hands-on projects and experiential learning in child friendly education. It is a continuous learning process where the importance is given to the learners’ multiple capabilities and unique aptitudes and talents as well as learners are focused on problem-solving and creativity.

I untiringly introduced all these approaches and techniques in my school. As a result, our students have demonstrated their outstanding performances in the first batch of SEE. Till the date, we have been continuously witnessing such convincing results of the students.

You have shared with us that progressive education is the best and real learning. In your experience, why all the boarding schools in Nepal are not focusing on developing progressive education?

Even in the present days, most schools impart book-based education through a customary way whose main reason is lack of trained teachers, lack of proper counseling to the parents and lack of readiness of the school. Since progressive education is fully activity-based, it is, obviously, costlier in comparison with the traditional way of education. So, for the enhancement of progressive education, the school, parents and teachers should be fully prepared and well-equipped. Moreover, selfdetermination, preparation,

knowledge and devotion of the school administration are required too. Similarly, national education policy should also be supportive and favorable for both governmental and private institutions.

In this regard, most schools are not ready to create such an environment since progressive education is financially more burdensome than general education.

How is the scope of progressive education in Nepal? What is your expectation from the government to develop progressive education in Nepal?

Change does not occur overnight. It is possible through continuous efforts. If the government provides us with subsidies, we are ready to take initiation of development and expansion of progressive education throughout the country. If the investment, which is made in government schools on the basis of the number of students, is provided to us, we are ready to provide progressive education in Nepal. It is possible to impart progressive education within the frameworks of national curriculum. We have conducted many panel discussions with the stakeholders to solidify our mission.

Do you have anything to say at the end?

Human value is an important asset. Happiness and self-respect are also equally important. Let’s learn with happiness, selfrespect and responsibility

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