Hemlal Sharma Bhusal is the Founder Chairman of Butwal Public School as well as Joint Treasurer of PABSON Central Committee. The School has applied bookless education that encourages students to become independent learners and develop creative and critical thinking. Although students and parents feel uncomfortable in the initial phase, this concept is accepted as useful as they become habitual later. Founder Chairman Bhusal has expressed his approach and concept about progressive education and benefits of bookless education with College Readers. Excerpts:
According to your experience, what should the school education system of Nepal be like?
In today’s fast-changing world, it is crucial that our education system keep pace with the advancements that characterize the 21st century. This is particularly important for young students, starting from the kindergarten, as they will be the future leaders and workforce of our society. However, in Nepal, the education system tends to focus on rote-learning, especially in secondary grades like grades 8, 9, and 10, with the goal of achieving high GPA for the school’s reputation. This approach won’t be sufficient to prepare our students for the challenges they will face in the real world. To provide our students with all-round education, it is essential to focus not only on academic excellence but also on practical education. This includes developing practical skills, critical thinking, problem-solving skills and creativity, all of which are important for success. Furthermore, proficiency in both English and Nepali languages is vital for our students to compete in the global market and communicate effectively with people from diverse backgrounds. We need to focus on upgrading the education system to provide our students with a holistic approach to learning that emphasizes practical education and skill development. By doing so, we can equip our students with the knowledge and skills they need to become successful in their future endeavors.
Is progressive education simply a marketing tool to attract students or is it genuinely an effective approach?
The implementation of progressive education is not feasible at present, as it involves imitating foreign educational systems and requires a skilled workforce. Due to the shortage of competent manpower, teachers who specialize in mathematics may not be able to teach science and vice versa. To ensure the success of progressive education, organizations such as PABSON or the government should prioritize the training of around 5000 teachers who can proficiently implement this approach.
.In reality, what is the actual meaning of progressive education?
To implement a successful progressive education approach at the primary level, it is crucial for a single teacher to be proficient in teaching all subjects, including science, mathematics, Nepali, English, and other practical subjects. This teacher should have a comprehensive understanding of the curriculum and must possess the skills to impart knowledge in a practical way. Moreover, such a teacher should have strong communication and interpersonal skills to effectively engage with students, provide personalized attention, and cater to their unique needs. The teacher should also be creative and adaptive in teaching methods to ensure that students learn effectively and enjoyably. In summary, having a versatile and competent teacher is fundamental to the success of progressive education at the primary level.
What is your opinion on the integration of progressive education with the education system of Butwal Public School?
At Butwal Public School, we recognize that progressive education may not be effective in today’s fast-changing world. Hence, we prioritize a bookless education approach where students are not solely dependent on textbooks but are taught by skilled and experienced teachers who use a variety of innovative methods. Our teachers are competent to impart knowledge and facilitate learning experiences that are practical, engaging, and relevant to the real world. By emphasizing practical learning, we prepare our students for the challenges they may face in the future and help them develop critical thinking, problem-solving capabilities, and creative skills. We are committed to providing high-quality education that equips our students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their lives. At our school, we do not subject our students to lectures and academic work throughout the entire school day. Instead, we incorporate breaks and entertainment such as dancing, singing, and art into their schedules as breathers and thus recharge their minds. This approach helps our students to stay engaged and motivated while promoting their overall well-being.
What kind of education is bookless and what kind of teachers are needed for operating this approach?
Bookless education is an approach that focuses on learning without textbooks. Textbook, as we all know, has been an integral part of traditional education for many years. The aim of bookless education is to encourage students to become more independent learners and develop critical thinking skills, which are essential for success in the 21st century. Bookless education does not mean that books are not used at all. Books are used as references rather than the sole source of information. Instead of relying solely on textbooks, bookless education emphasizes practical learning experiences. This approach provides students with hands-on experiences that can help them apply theoretical concepts to real-world situations. It also fosters creativity and innovation, as students are encouraged to explore different ideas and come up with their own solutions to problems. To effectively implement bookless education, we need to have skilled and up-to-date teachers who are well versed in Internet and computer technologies, besides other current trends. Teachers, who are proficient in technology, can use various online resources such as educational apps and digital content to supplement their teaching and enhance students’ learning. They can also provide students with opportunities to work collaboratively and engage in online discussions, which can help them develop essential communication and teamwork skills. In contrast, outdated teaching methods that rely solely on textbooks and lectures are not effective in today’s educational landscape. Teachers, who lack knowledge about current trends and technology, may struggle to engage students and provide them with the tools they need to succeed in the future. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize skilled and up-to-date teachers in bookless education, to ensure that students receive quality education that prepares them for the challenges of the 21st century.
Lastly, what messages do you want to convey to students and parents?
My goal is to succeed in providing high-quality education, not only at Butwal Public School but also in every school in the country. I believe that every student has the right to access education that equips him or her with the necessary knowledge and skills for future. To achieve this, schools must prioritize innovation and should constantly strive to improve their teaching methods and curriculum. It’s crucial for schools to invest in skilled teachers who are dedicated to fostering an environment of learning and growth. Additionally, schools should provide opportunities for practical education and encourage critical thinking among students. I hope that every school fulfills its responsibility in shaping the future generation and contributes to the overall progress of our society.