Education is a vital investment for human and economic development and is influenced by the environment within which it exists. Changes in technology, labour market patterns and general global environment, all require policy responses. Traditions, culture and faith all reflect upon the education system and at the same time are also affected by them. The element of continuity and change remains perpetual and it is up to the society to determine its pace and direction.
We are living in an inquiring and innovation-oriented society. The demand of twenty first century is novelty, creativity, and integration of knowledge at global level, research, critical and analytical thoughts. Rapidly social changes are creating uncertainty and complexity in the society. To prepare the children and youth to cope with the present situation needs to develop analytical and critical thinking, skill and attitude that would make them more flexible and innovative to deal with uncertainty and crises at national and global level.
The greatest need of the hour is to re design curriculum, textbooks, teaching methodology and children’s literature, formal and non-formal educational systems. It has been demonstrated by researcher that active learning (questioning and investigate the nature of topic) develop creativity and stimulate for learning.
Cultural values of the majority of Pakistanis are derived from Islam. Since an education system reflects and strengthens social, cultural and moral values, therefore, Pakistan’s educational interventions have to be based on the core values of religion and faith.
Curriculum plays crucial role in national integration and harmony. Curriculum role as observed in the NationalEducation Policy (1979) should aim enable the learners to learn knowledge, develop conceptual and intellectual skills, attitudes, values and aptitudes conductive to the all round development of their personality and proportionate with the societal, economic and environmental realities at national and international level.
Whitehead (1962) says “culture is the activity of thought, and receptiveness to beauty and humane feeling”. A child is a human being in embryo, a man to be and we are responsible to the future for him. It is considered that a child learns 90 percent of his personality by his nurturing.
It is, perhaps easier to educate a child in beginning than re-educated him when he has already formed. Therefore, books for children are not simply a source of entertainment rather inculcate intelligence and values. In Russia, America and Japan children’s literature is considered a great cultural and educational phenomenon, and creation of books for children is responsibility of the states. The manifest and latent functions of children’s literature is to transmit knowledge, myth, mores, values, folkways, legendry personalities, superstitions and beliefs which are integral part of a culture.
Textbooks are the most widely used as a teaching tool which represent our national culture. Textbooks reveal our national values, culture, and ideology of a nation. A good text book can be a “teacher in print”, and sometime even superior to an average teacher. In fact they are influence towards national integration by sharing common national culture. The selection, organization and presentation of subject matter in textbooks show philosophy, integrity, values and intellectual thoughts of a nation.
Questioning methodology is a powerful tool to built analytical and critical skills in pupils. In the world of knowledge the emphasis has not to be merely mastery to extant the knowledge but on the acquisitions of capacity to think and analyze facts logically and conclude its own. Teachers must adopt such teaching methodology by which students must learn how to discard old ideas and replace them with modify ideas. As Toffler once said “learn how to learn”.
Schools of the future will be designed not only for “learning” but for “thinking”. More and more insistently, today’s schools and colleges are being asked to produce men and women who can think, who can make new scientific discoveries, who can find more adequate solutions to impelling world problems, who cannot be brainwashed, men and women who can adapt to change and maintain sanity in this age of acceleration. This is a creative challenge to education .
Earlier this month, I was invited to be a keynote speaker on the theme of "Education for Economic Success" at the Education World Forum, which brought education ministers and leaders from over 75 countries together in London.
Education is fundamental to development and growth. The human mind makes possible all development achievements, from health advances and agricultural innovations to efficient public administration and private sector growth. For countries to reap these benefits fully, they need to unleash the potential of the human mind. And there is no better tool for doing so than education.
Twenty years ago, government officials and development partners met to affirm the importance of education in development—on economic development and broadly on improving people’s lives—and together declared Education for All as a goal. While enrolments have risen in promising fashion around the world, learning levels have remained disappointingly and many remain left behind. Because growth, development, and poverty reduction depend on the knowledge and skills that people acquire, not the number of years that they sit in a classroom, we must transform our call to action from Education for All toLearning for All.
The World Bank’s forthcoming Education Strategy will emphasize several core ideas: Invest early. Invest smartly. Invest in learning for all.
First, foundational skills acquired early in childhood make possible a lifetime of learning. The traditional view of education as starting in primary school takes up the challenge too late. The science of brain development shows that learning needs to be encouraged early and often, both inside and outside of the formal schooling system. Prenatal health and early childhood development programs that include education and health are consequently important to realize this potential. In the primary years, quality teaching is essential to give students the foundational literacy and numeracy on which lifelong learning depends. Adolescence is also a period of high potential for learning, but many teenagers leave school at this point, lured by the prospect of a job, the need to help their families, or turned away by the cost of schooling. For those who drop out too early, second-chance and nonformal learning opportunities are essential to ensure that all youth can acquire skills for the labor market.
Second, getting results requires smart investments—that is, investments that prioritize and monitor learning, beyond traditional metrics, such as the number of teachers trained or number of students enrolled. Quality needs to be the focus of education investments, with learning gains as the key metric of quality. Resources are too limited and the challenges too big to be designing policies and programs in the dark. We need evidence on what works in order to invest smartly.
Third, learning for all means ensuring that all students, and not just the most privileged or gifted, acquire the knowledge and skills that they need. Major challenges of access remain for disadvantaged populations at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We must lower the barriers that keep girls, children with disabilities, and ethnolinguistic minorities from attaining as much education as other population groups. “Learning for All” promotes the equity goals that underlie Education for All and the MDGs. Without confronting equity issues, it will be impossible to achieve the objective of learning for all.
Achieving learning for all will be challenging, but it is the right agenda for the next decade. It is the knowledge and skills that children and youth acquire today—not simply their school attendance—that will drive their employability, productivity, health, and well-being in the decades to come, and that will help ensure that their communities and nations thrive.
Read the full text of my speech to the Education World Forum here.