Pakistan rarely accepted technology as significant. The Corona Virus led us to learn it the hard way. It has literally changed the dynamics of the education industry and forced governments to make immediate interventions. In fact, it allowed us to reimagine the entire affair of “imparting knowledge.” And prepare ourselves for the future to train students who are the most vulnerable and underrepresented. The privileged and the mediocre, alike. It demanded an education that is skill-based, affordable, and accessible. Within an environment where teachers are the mentors to lead innovation and provide scientific feedback.
COVID19 has given us various perspectives to see, explore and redefine our world and set our priorities. Of course, never for a second, we doubt the importance of education. However, it has been a bumpy ride for the curriculum we teach to our kids. We just cannot teach them for the sake of teaching. This idea has become redundant. More significance is seen in learning skills that empower a kid to survive critical times and stay mentally sane, healthy, and creative. If a child dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, scientist, political leader, economist, anthropologist, technologist, or policymaker. Irrespective of his/her age in such troubling times. It requires bringing into our schools a unique structure and a curriculum that facilitates a student from day one to acquire relevant skills to become one. It wants an eco-system.
The developed parts of the world have left the “information age.” We should too in Pakistan. Because nations progress who learn the quickest the need of times. Our education system demands a complete overhaul. You cannot open a school now to keep a kid for a traditional 10-year extended education. COVID19 forced us to think otherwise. What it taught us is the unpredictability of life, the necessity to survive, and to change our curriculum. On a global mass-scale global, the educationists are campaigning for a complete “knowledge revolution.” Whether it’s a school structure, the laboratories, the teaching faculty, or resources. With a vision that our kids have to solve contemporary issues.
Less is the “new more.” We have to get rid of too many courses. And focus instead on child’s needs in the 21st century. Consider facilitating kids with studies of “language”, “society”, and “technology”. Only a learner can translate the information. And apply it to address a societal issue. Therefore, we must start with the “basic language of the knowledge.” The “language” will open the door to reading and interpreting the information. The “society” will connect a child with a community to play his role. The “technology” will serve as a vehicle for value addition.
Robotics education actually focuses on such a mindset for technology-driven knowledge. However, its most significant challenge is our traditional education system. Our willingness to force a child to spend 9 months to complete an academic year. By pushing in information instead of allowing kids to learn it through activities. The second challenge is the mindset of parents. They are yet struggling to forget an education system, pre-COVID. Who believe homework is essential, a classroom is physical, and a uniform is vital. They need to accept that a new normal is to learn 21st-century skills through innovative channels, untraditional classrooms, and digital space.
Another challenge is the mindset of stakeholders in the education industry. The feel for a traditional school set-up, an administration, and a teaching faculty with students studying in the desks. Without which education cannot be conceptualized. With this mindset, you cannot introduce studies just mentioned above. Or the integration of robotics per se. We need to rethink, re-imagine, re-prioritize our education structure with new perceptions and open-mindedness. Only then will you see your child as a vital community learner and a productive member.
It is just a matter of perspective and vision. Think of a school as a social, technological lab. Think of teachers as resource persons and facilitators. And robotics as a tool and methodology to practice a skill.
We need to mentally prepare parents and our teachers. That the world has changed and offers new challenges that will eventually touch our kids and only them. Train them by walking them through a unique learning environment and the practices already enforced during the pandemic in better parts of the world. We need to convince our policymakers and educationists to work on an educational approach and methodologies that are revolutionary and sustainable. Covid19 has given us the opportunity to rethink our educational values.