Natives and Immigrants Syndrome
Almost every day we hear this line ‘Change is the only constant’. Yes it is very true. That means we also need to keep changing ourselves by updating our repository of knowledge, teaching pedagogy, skills to handle and manage the class at the school level. Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our education system was designed to teach.
With the rapid dissemination of digital technology, our new generation of students which is growing up surrounded by technology, may be called digital natives. Whereas, we, the older generation, still struggling to come to terms with this digital technology, are referred to as digital migrants. The integration of new concepts, adoption and utilization of latest technology, changing value systems, lowering of societal norms and their larger acceptance also need to be incorporated in the policies both by the policy framers and by the executors.
But it is a tall call as it involves unlearning and relearning processes which would impact the mindset also. The plain truth is that both the makers and executors are immigrants to the technological world and they are drawing the parameters for the natives who own and belong to this technological world. Hence, they are much more comfortable, more friendly and their conduct, behaviour and language is of today and not of vintage period. This scenario is like the cheetah and the snail being on the same board – this mismatch is injurious to the health of education. But the fact is that this is a reality and it exists. So, what is the remedy? This gap needs to be bridged by understanding, recognising and acknowledging the needs of the day. To this end those on the top of the echelon need to reconnect with the learners and the teachers need to bring change in their attitude, delivery and understanding. They have to redesign their lesson plans which address the concerns of the learners. The rules of the games and boundaries have to be redrawn as per the need and demand of the time.
If we the immigrants look at technology which complements pedagogy in a value addition format, the norms and expectation of behavioural standards need to be made flexible and to be looked at objectively. There is a likelihood that this kind of alignment is feasible and fruitful, otherwise it will be something like each to oneself which is going to be messy, ugly and unacceptable. Even nature equips the insects to become chameleons by merging with the surroundings to ward off the enemy. So let us not go against nature as wisdom lies in not going against the grain.
To achieve this aim it is considered necessary to institutionalise the system so that there is a constant flow of information and requirement in both directions. Before a policy is framed or amended the views of all the stake holders across the geographical segments must be debated so that it is accepted in a manner of ownership rather than something which has been forced down from the top.
The fast and frequent changes foreseen in the field of education will make it difficult to scale the evolutionary requirement of the system. The feasibility line should decide the time to reach the destination. This will provide enough time and space for all to do justice. Thus there will be a happy meeting point between immigrants and natives and they will be able to devolve a common point in pursuit of excellence.
Col Dr K S Saini, a retired army officer with a doctorate in Literature from Colombo University, is running two reputed schools in Haryana. His leadership and commitment towards quality education and social empowerment has been recognised by many national and international organisations. He received the best principal award from Mahatma Gandhi Rastrabhasa Hindi Prachar Samiti, education excellence award from Silverzone Organization, Bharat Vidhya Shiromani award from Indian Solidarity council among many other awards. He has written extensively on school education for a number of newspapers and journals.