Generalised concept of Education
In the last few decades the concept of education has undergone largescale change. Education is no longer conceived as a classroom activity only, rather it is now seen to be acquired anywhere, anytime and by any process. What we should, now, be concerned is the achievement and not the process or place of learning. A person like Rabindra Nath Tagore could learn without any formal schooling and achieve one of the greatest recognition in literature as Nobel Prize. Similarly, if Bill Gates can become one of the leading innovators of our times without much formal schooling, then entire learning system must be seen afresh with a new vision.
In this concept, education no longer remains a time-bound, place-bound process confined to the four boundaries of the school system and measured in terms of years of exposure of classroom teaching. Education is, now, equated with learning no matter how, when and where it is acquired. Clearly, as compared to the earlier structural and institutional approach, the functional approach to education is becoming more and more acceptable.
In this context, now a person is said to acquire knowledge through three ways:
Formal learning: It is highly structured learning with fixed syllabus, fixed curriculum, place-bound and time-bound activity. It is what we generally refer to as school or university education.
Semi-formal or Non-formal learning: It is learning through learner oriented semi-organised and loosely structured short-term programmes of governmental, non-governmental organisations and traditional activities.
Informal learning: It is learning through most casual and incidental activities performed during day-to- day interactions.
In generalised concept of education steps must be taken to ensure that a child is able to develop all types of learnings. This would require that persons involved in these learning processes should be utilised to a large extent in the learning process of the child. Present education is fully dependent on the teacher for teaching process. In the case of educated parents child gets lot of inputs from them. Thus, the child gets more achievement in comparison to the child whose parents are illiterate.The key question is how we can involve parents and other persons in the neighbourhood in the learning process of the children.
All persons are educated. Even socalled illitrate persons have lot of experience and knowledge. They can be engaged in the learning process provided we can reorient education to generate conditions where those knowledge also has an importnt role. If we build up a learning system in which information base of parents and neighbouhood can be fully utilised, then we can expect even illiterate parents to play an important role in the learning process. We shall see this point in greater detail later.
In this concept of education a learner is supposed to learn all through 24 hours. A child in the middle or upper class child comes back to house and after taking rest and play again applies himself to a home work or other learning processes related to the formal learning process. He has more learning gadgets and toys. He also has the free time to use them. This extra opportunity is also responsible for greater achievement to the child. In the present level of economy children in poor family cannot be expected to remain available at home only for learning process. It would be difficult to provide them with the modern gadgets of learning. Hence there is need to devise activities, games, learning programmes and gadgets to suit the economic condition of the community, which can be used by the children even while they are away from home.
Vivekanand had said, “If mountain cannot come to Mohammad, Mohammad should go to the mountain.” If children are not available for learning activities at home, let’s design activities, toys, games and learning process which can move with children. That is the only way to ensure learning achievement of the underpriviledged and poor children equal to the middle class children.