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What is 'Education-for-Life' all about?
Many times, it is easier said than done. Recently, the newly appointed young human resource development minister, Smriti Irani, hinted at making a paradigm shift in education towards 'education for life, not degree'.

It is tall order since it requires de-structuring and restructuring of education system as well as a change of mind-sets of educational functionaries and managers. First and foremost, it is necessary to understand, what does education-for-life (EFL) mean and entail.

Many models of education exist and many more get evolved in every few years due the efforts of individual educators, thinkers, pedagogues and organizations who get disenchanted with conventional education. Some creative people keep on looking for alternative education systems and some existentialists also experiment with educational practices to know and learn about life as the central aspect of education by combining subject matter of various disciplines with a centrality of knowing oneself.

Over the last four decades, many organizations and individuals have tried various strands EFL model systematically and consciously to benefit themselves and learners both. The EFL is a notion of education that emphasizes joy-of-learning, experiential learning, positive cognitive psychology, humanistic psychology, creating a community of learners, developing learners holistically to find purpose of life along with fulfilment and happiness in life.

The successful evolution and operationalisation of EFL is a tall order which requires a lot of hard work and attitude of being a co-learner with children and deriving the joy learning as co-constructor of knowledge and co-discoverer of life with them.

In fact, over the years, EFL systems of education have offered learning methods that integrate rational, ethical and spiritual development of learners with the standard academic curricula and subject matter prescribed at various age-grade levels.

Here is the ABC of Education-for-Life education to describe its key elements or attributes.

A: Assumption is that children (learners) have innate potential to construct knowledge and derive pleasure of learning and are dormant divine.

B: Balanced academic programmes based on their transaction through cooperation and self-discipline that foster and nurture intellect, rationality, emotions or wisdom, well-being of body and mind, and non-sectarian spiritual values.

C: Creating conducive learning environment of positive social psychology, respect for diversity of learners and creating conditions for learning to happen

D: Developing learner holistically and emphasizing whole brain learning.

E: Evolutionary cum participatory style of management of the educational system to match emerging and varying situations and individual contexts of co-learners.

The proponents of EFL believe that human life is the opportunity to develop our full potential as human beings by experiential learning of the knowledge of the world prescribed in academic disciplines and harmonious development of the body, mind and spirit by knowing oneself and purpose of life.

In India, EFL was discovered long ago but got destroyed with forge in invasions and rules. Indian EFL was a combination of Shiksha (knowing and learning about the world and subject areas rationally with emphasis on learning processes) and Vidya (knowing thyself or integration of body, mind and spirit).

I think that Irani must take up the challenge to translate her intentions into actions by establishing a few EFL institutions and demonstrating success therein by creating relevant learning environment, teaching-learning practices and management structure before expanding and universalizing EFL.


Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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