Editorials, GS-2, Social Issue, Uncategorized

Researching education

  • India in a big need for research in education sector, to improve quality of education.

Research

Two kinds of research can be done in education.

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Second type of research is usually done by economists, political scientists, sociologists and scholars from similar intellectual backgrounds.

In India nobody is bothered about first type of research, very little can be seen, and second type of research gets disproportionate attention of policymakers and the public.

It basically focuses on issues of peripheral importance to the reality of education.

If research really want to help educational policy and practice, in improving the educational experience and attainment of the millions of students in our schools, we need to pay adequate attention to the first kind of research also.

This type of research requires focus on understanding the two important elements in our education system.

  1. The teacher
  • Most teachers in India deal with heterogeneous student group
  • That present complex challenges.
  • Example
    • different age groups
    • A large number of these children would have parents who have never gone to school
    • and even for others, the brutal struggle for livelihood leaves little possibility of educational support at home.
    • Language issue: child knows different from the language used as the medium of instruction at the school.
    • For many of these children, the only full meal is the mid-day meal provided by the school. Before and after school, most of them are engulfed with their share of daily chores.

Now the questions arises:

  • How does a teacher deal with this situation?
  • How can she be effective as an educator?
  • How does she tackle the issue of multiple languages?
  • How does she provide required support to those children facing the most acute deprivation?
  • What are her struggles in doing all this, day after day, for years?
  • What support does she require and how can we make that happen?
  • How can she deal more effectively with the local community?

There is no one correct answer to any of these questions. There can be multiple valid approaches, influenced by factors factors, which may change over time.

With experience and rigorous reflection, one can arrive at relevant operating principles that can help in multiple contexts and situations.

Even these need constant critical interrogation, because of our dynamic social reality.

Now arises second set of questions which requires deep understanding of education systems in their complex social setting.

These type of questions take account of, the aims, values and concerns of education revealed by the first set with empathy.

Questions arises are:

  • How can the capacity of our 8.5 million teachers, who have a full-time job, be improved within the constraints and diversity of our education system and social reality?
  • How does community engagement with schools become effective?
  • How can schools foster constitutional values?
  • How should schools be governed, recognizing fully that simplistic, industrial-mindset governance mechanisms are not only ineffective but also harmful to good education?
  • How do we deal with the rot in the pre-service teacher education system?
  1. Individual educators and organizations
  • Some have conducted systematic inquiry and they have been able to abstract the experience into shareable knowledge.
  • And if we compare multitude of these matters and their complexity, such inquiry has been microscopic in India.

Conclusion

  • Research in education must focus on the real and important issues within education.
  • Educators themselves should adept at asking and answering research questions, rigorously and systematically.
  • If educators take responsibility for research, it will definitely cause a quiet revolution in education research and education itself.

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