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For learning, one does not always need a tutor, a supervisor or a guide. It can be self-induced with efforts. We can call it a trial and error system (TES), but it’s definitely fool-proof, as the success rate would be hundred per cent.

Indian education system has always worked under the tutor-taught paradigm, allowing inefficiencies and developing inbuilt corruption. The existing system is indeed the loss of individual energy.  

Helplessness of the Indian system stems from historically slave mentality, first due to learning processes by dictates of an approved pattern, then by the English education mauling the genuine Indianness. Nowhere the inborn talent was given an opportunity to learn self-induced skills, and maturing thereby. The natural process was ignored, just as was ignored natural development of mind into creativity.

Rabindranath Tagore’s policy of education was based on this natural process of development, the very essence of TES, making inroads to maturity. And you have done it in cases galore. Learning is from the expressions of nature, TES is from the day to day handling of situations, with or without tools. You gather energy from the air, strength from the sun, imagination from the moon, food from the trees and happiness from water. Life turns a full 360 degrees.

Problem is, can we do the TES in the existing situation of today’s English-medium education? Can we feel confident about job security, growth in life and freedom from hunger and nutrition by only going through the natural education through the TES? Can we create quick social status and money, which most people are after today, even without going through the rigours of the present-day English education? These questions need to be answered while examining the TES.  

If computer has been the skills setting tool for the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) 2013 Prize-winner Sugata Mitra to develop natural skills of computing, educating the same children in the existing English-medium education under diktats and guidance from tutors might have been difficult, because naturalness would have been a casualty. Remember that many of these great tutors see red and wield canes, the types that effectively repulsed Tagores and Ramanujans from schools for good, in their early days, in the 19th century British India.

Tagore exemplified that the skills development can be possible without application of any tool for that. Only the TES will do. So did Ramanujan, who abhorred schools but went on to contribute to theories and principles of mathematics, without any formal training in pure mathematics. In this country there are many such talents who are simply intellectual greats without knowledge of the general publics, because seldom they want to emerge in the limelight. Ask Kolkata Puja committees, they would present a score of electrician greats without formal education, who create difficult electrical wonders while constructing the
pandals.
What they all have and had in common is the will to learn.        

A similar situation was hotly debated in a seminar convened by the Quality Council of India (QCI) in the Capital recently. The seminar wanted to examine the education track theme, and innovative technologies for the grassroots people, who cannot send their children to Harvard or Stanford or Oxford, but who, given a chance, would love to send their children to Santiniketan to learn the skills better than anywhere. In the seminar, eminent educational administrators, technologists, curriculum designers, teachers and thinkers from the Industry body, CII, had gathered to voice their concern about fruitless education, which only creates high-collared babus, and not innovators or creators. In the seminar, ASQ as Indian corporate coach for training techniques and skills was given a chair to moderate views. The views in general wavered from the existing tutor-induced babu-culture ready and fit to serve the empires, to naturally ingrained skills to innovate and excel.  

The QCI seminar discussed following challenges about how to take skills training in remote areas, how to ensure self-induced TES by those who cannot go even to open schools, how to develop stakeholders and bring them into the focus to improve quality of general education, deliveries and practices, and how to encourage children, say of the seven standard, innovate and integrate knowledge and skills in areas they are filially or intuitively inclined to? Interestingly, none of these today is in the priority list of the higher education monitor, University Grant Commission. Indeed teachers need to mould themselves more into inducing creative inquiry into the children. Rightly observed Sugata Mitra, at a newspaper interview recently, that the teachers need to frame questions to students, leaving them to research on them.

These questions from teachers added up by offers of TES from the trainers would effectively do the skilling of the ignored BPL family children about work which would give them livelihood.

Such work as basic newsgathering for journalistic purposes (which the hi-fi newspersons fail to gather from interiors), or the job of educating village elders about how to participate in rural development processes, or innovating self-employed projects for livelihood, are all possible options – more handy than arduous teaching about how to gather knowledge of English or in babu education. (IPA)
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