Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 5 August 2020

UAE experts welcome overhaul of Indian education system

The new policy, which will be implemented in Indian curriculum schools in the UAE, encourages critical learning and early specialisation

Arindam Banerjee, deputy dean of the masters’ programme at SP Jain School of Global Management in Dubai. 
Arindam Banerjee, deputy dean of the masters’ programme at SP Jain School of Global Management in Dubai. 

An overhaul of India's education system is long overdue, experts in the UAE, where Indian curriculum schools will be affected, said.

Late last week, India's Union Cabinet approved a National Education Policy that affects curriculums from school to university level.

Its highlights include increased focus on technology, building vocational skills and drawing clear-cut career routes for pupils at an early age.

Experts told The National that the new policy would be beneficial to Indian pupils worldwide as schools would be forced to move away from a "swallow and vomit" style of learning.

[This] will really help raise the creativity of the children

Dr Arindam Banerjee, SP Jain School of Global Management

Dr Arindam Banerjee, deputy dean of the masters’ programme at SP Jain School of Global Management in Dubai, said pupils were often overloaded with information that would rarely be of practical use after graduation.

“This is not just a policy, this is something that the Indian government has rolled out keeping in mind long term influence and a long due aspect of India.

“The forward-looking New Education Policy moves a step further towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and dream of a new ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, meaning a self-reliant India.”

He said that India currently produced millions of brilliant and intelligent graduates but who lack the necessary basic skills for tomorrow’s economy.

Under the new policy, pupils will be taught sophisticated skills, like coding, from Grade 6 and they will be able to choose courses that fit the field they would like to study in university.

Currently, pupils are only allowed to choose concentration courses in Grade 11, which Dr Banerjee said was too late.

He said assessments under the new policy would rely more on the “practicality of learning rather than theories of learning”. This change will help Indian curriculum pupils develop skills in areas they are currently lacking expertise, including data analysis and artificial intelligence, he said.

Almost 80,000 pupils study at Indian curriculum schools in Dubai, most of which follow the Central Board of Secondary Education curriculum.

Dr Mansoor Shaikh, whose son is enrolled in the CBSE system at an Indian curriculum school in Abu Dhabi, said the change “was required from a very long time”.

He said the curriculum was too extensive and overwhelmed pupils.

“There used to be a lot of writing and study load so, from what I understand, that will be compensated with activities. That will really help raise the creativity of the children,” said Dr Shaikh, who has a PhD in information technology.

He said the previous system encouraged pupils to cram information for exams and was not preparing children for the job market on graduation.

“Any student had to study everything, which might [end up] being useful or not.

“Even subjects that were not necessary were taken.”

Refining subjects at an earlier age would also help pupils focus on their future field of work, he said.

“So from the beginning [my son] is getting an easier and focused life,” said Dr Shaikh, 47.

His wife Farheen Shaikh, a science teacher at an Indian curriculum school in Abu Dhabi, also welcomed the new policy as a diversion from the rote memory approach.

She said some pupils go through most of their schooling not applying critical learning because they just memorise information to regurgitate it in exams.

“If they are starting this [selective subjects option] from grade 6, and they are changing the way their exams are graded, it will be very good for the children,” said Ms Shaikh, 41.

“We used to do coding at a very late age, but now children are interested in this. If they learn it from an early stage it will definitely help the child.

She said some pupils were becoming overwhelmed with subjects they were not interested in but the new system will allow them to specialise in subject they are passionate about.

“They will really benefit mentally and they will be very relaxed," she said.

Updated: August 2, 2020 01:16 AM

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