Are we (Indians) ready for Alternative Education?

Mrs. Ranjna Jangra

This was the topic of a panel discussion in a conference attended by me last week. What is Alternative Education? Any pedagogical approach which is different from the mainstream pedagogy can be called as the alternative education. Home Schooling is one of the examples of alternative education.
It is very popular in the countries like USA, UK and New Zealand. The question emerged in my mind was that why do we need Alternative Education? Can’t we have an appropriate blend of the conventional and alternative pedagogies in our schools?
The conventional approach towards learning is so profound in our minds that we are not ready to experiment and try any other route towards better learning. We still believe that best education revolves around textbooks, common syllabus, notes and examinations. We are still not very confident that children can learn beyond these boundaries too. We still presume that high grades and neatly written notes ensure learning.
According to John Holt “Learning is as natural as breathing “. Children are always learning. We should allow them to learn on their own by their own experiences. Self directive learning is the only sustainable learning and the concepts learnt can never be forgotten.
The aim of alternative education is to prepare children for life by equipping them with problem solving skills rather than filling their minds with the information without the knowledge of its practical application.
It empowers children to achieve academic, social, emotional and vocational excellence. I hope the new education policy which is under revision will bring out some welcome changes to encourage Alternative Education.

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