Where there is ‘skill’, there are many ways

The focus of college education needs to shift, from just passing examinations to attaining employability after graduation. And this can be achieved only if colleges produce ‘skilled’ and not just ‘educated’ individuals. So, what do we do to develop skills in undergraduate students?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://indiabioscience.org/columns/opinion/where-there-is-skill-there-are-many-ways.

Mam, the education system in india is still following the same old traditions that were about 50 years back when probably our grandparents were attending schools and colleges. But in foreign nations its not the same… they believe in acquiring practical knowledge rather than just the theoretical knowledge. Being science students when we are just limited to our books and a room… its awful at times. … when science itself ironically means to explore.

This system cannot be changed if only one person tries to bring a change it has to be a collective work. If one subject goes well… by that i mean its interesting and we are learning not just mugging the text we are understanding. … what about the rest?

KIndling interest and curiosity should of course be the mainstay of any teaching-learning program. Besides these, I think our education system, as a whole, does not seem to train students in making use of “common-sense”. While using any equipment or method, we simply go by the ‘instructions’ provided, ignoring that there are many ‘small’ things that are to be understood by reading ‘between the lines’. These small common-sense things also need to be taken care of. Common sense is. of course, the most important component in our daily life. However, it is equally important, if not more than the ‘technical knowledge’, in undertaking research in science. Small “do’s and don’ts” can make a whole lot of difference in the way experiments are planned, carried out and interpreted, besides taking care of the increasing environmental pollution that our contemporary experimental procedures etc cause. Learning ‘common-sense’ is not limited to class-room. This is learnt, as the phrase itself means, in our daily life, if we remain conscious about it. This is where teachers and family come in the picture.

@rana_niveditajsm: You raise a valid point - our education system is outdated. That said, I disagree that one person doing something different to improve the state of things won’t make a difference. In fact, the “system” changes only when individuals take it upon themselves to do their part. Skills that student would develop in students when an individual science teacher makes an effort, would go a long way because students would learn to apply those in all subjects, in all aspects of career development.

Thanks for reading the article, sir. I completely endorse the idea of ‘training’ students in making use of ‘common sense’. Towards this, I feel the foremost step can be to let them first use their ‘sense’, let them think. From my personal observation, many of the teachers are telling students “what” to think and not “how” to think. Encouraging independent thinking, judgement making relying upon their own resources and owning responsibility can help them to build confidence and self-belief. And certainly this should not be just limited to the classroom.

@rana_niveditajsm Thanks for reading the article and sharing your view. @reeteka has very much addressed your concern and I fully abide by her. Just one thing to add, I firmly believe that pedagogy needs overhaul and have already been making efforts at my end. I shared my views and practices to provide food for thought to other teachers as well.