Unnat Shikshak - Unnat Bharat
Center of Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education
MHRD, Govt of India Initiative under
PANDIT MADAN MOHAN MALAVIYA NATIONAL MISSION ON TEACHERS AND TEACHING
Education system in our country since Vedic Era till the medieval period was innovative, dynamic, experimentative, par excellence - that created enormous knowledge for the upcoming generations and established our country as the supreme knowledge power/hub/leader across the globe. Irrespective to the field, spanning but not limited to the general science, mathematics, medical science, architecture, water recourse management, balancing nature while leading in the civilization to name a few, we scaled unthinkable dimensions all over and created leaders (Guru) par excellence. In this educational structure, teaching basically used to be two ways modality - mainly via brainstorming sessions with a complete freedom to students (pupil) for experimenting, understanding, learning, innovating. The processes were self-capable in (a) insuring a complete freedom to experiment with the thoughts, (b) providing wider horizon for imagination and innovation that generally led (i) the germination of new concepts/principles and, (ii) new approaches in understanding a given phenomenon from all dimensions without complicating the entire process. The entire education system was focused with an emphasis to create "scholars", and a general ambition among the students (pupil) to be a "scholar". Somehow, in the intermediate period, that educational structure was completely demolished. The adopted educational structure, over the period, could not match the benchmark set by our ancient structure, though there was no dearth of talents in India. Yet, Ramanujam, C.V. Raman, S. N. Bose, S. Radhakrishnan to name a few, rose like giant pillars even in this structure. Nevertheless, a comprehensive analysis could reveal that, over the past few centuries, our country is drastically lagging behind in teaching/research innovations and path breaking knowledge impressions. Deterioration/sharp departure from our own high moral values/standards along with the blind race towards materialism in the globalized world have further acted as a threatening factors to our educational standards - posing a great challenge in (a) retaining/attracting possible scholars/thought-innovators to the education sector that spans primary as well as higher level education; and (b) grooming the abundance of raw talent as global leaders/futuristic scholars in the teaching/research profession while drastically reforming/improving the quality as well as methodology of teaching. There is no denial that the foundation of a global leader (excellent teacher at primary/higher education level and an excellent researcher/scientist) is laid at the school/college/graduation level. Hence, it is this level of our education system, which needs utmost attention as well as comprehensive/coherent contributions from across all corners of the society - well established institutions of repute, individual scholars, policy makers/administrators and the political leadership. Challenges are many! Solutions need to be evolved at the earliest in order to capture the lost glory of India and to establish it once again as the global GURU. Further, the technological revolutions in the past century, especially in the communication industry with the invention of optical fiber and the subsequent transformation from electrical to optical communication systems that brought information to everyone's door-step in the form of internet, making entire world a small knowledge hub, has open up enormous facet of technological exploration and integration. If explored to the fullest of advancements and integrated across the breadth and length of our country with the system, technology will greatly impact/upgrade the educational standard at the foundation (school/college/higher) level.
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching is itself a visionary/revolutionary scheme launched by the current government. This mission provides unique and ample opportunities to IIT Guwahati in (a) addressing key issues/challenges of the present science & mathematics education structure, and (b) contributing in the best possible capacity to serve the nation in bringing India's past glory of "creative education system" by extending/sharing vast scholarly pool of teachers at IIT Guwahati to the primary/college/higher education sector. Being an institution of repute, IIT Guwahati has emerged as a world class leading institution. Apart from hosting world class infrastructure in the form of teaching and research labs across various disciplines including science and mathematics, it's a home of very talented, innovative, young and dynamic teachers who keep on exploring/experimenting with a quest of setting a new standard for teaching and research. "Centre of excellence in science and mathematics education" in IIT Guwahati aims to exploit its vast human/infrastructure resources in order to innovatively redesign/re-experiment/reform the present science and mathematics pedagogy in order to resolve the challenges faced by India.
by Sunil Khijwania