The World is our Classroom

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Education has opened the world and we need to learn from each other, as everyone has something to offer. It is a global deal-driven world and the 21st century concept of WHOLE BRAIN THINKING is very relevant.


Dr Indu KhetarpalThere is a huge impetus to modernise current school systems; the ‘education race’ will undoubtedly be the biggest competition of the 21st century. The superpowers of the future will be neither those countries with the highest GDP nor the largest armies — rather, the hubs of innovation and advancement will be the ones exerting the greatest influence in the global sphere. For this, education is the key to success. A great transformation is taking place around the world—and it is taking place in education.

Impact of globalisation

Thomas Friedman’s best-selling book, The World Is Flat (2005), helped us to understand Globalization, where he says that if the world is not exactly flat, then it is deeply interconnected as never before. The book described how technology and the fall of trade barriers have led to the integration of markets and nations. We see evidence of this interconnectedness in our lives every day—from the food we eat to the coffee we drink to the clothes we wear.

The “death of distance” caused by the global spread of technology, makes it easy to create jobs virtually anywhere in the world. Students today are therefore competing not just with students in the city or state next door but with students in Singapore,US, UK, Shanghai, Bangalore and Helsinki.

The growing global talent pool

Over the last two decades, countries around the globe have been focused on expanding education as the key to maximizing individual well-being, reducing poverty, and increasing economic growth. Through United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal “Education for All”, nations have joined together to provide universal primary education in every country. Because of dramatic global educational gains, high school graduation has now become the norm in most industrialized countries.

The challenge from Asia

Due to spurt in education, rise of Asia is one of the most critical developments of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. From 1980 to 1990, Japan boomed, with world-class companies achieving great success in industries. The so-called “Asian tigers”—South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong—leapt forward and developed influential economies out of all proportion to their tiny size. India’s economy, like China’s,has been growing at a rate of 8 to 9 percent per year; by 2030, India is expected to overtake China as the nation to become a potentially even more significant player in the global market. Asia’s extraordinary economic growth is reciprocal to equally remarkable educational trajectory. As per PISA report, most of the top performers were in Asia. Shanghai and Hong Kong led the way, followed by Singapore, South Korea, and Japan.

Though India has been behind other countries in expanding secondary education; the Indian government established a National Knowledge Commission (2006–2009) to make recommendations for policies that would help establish a “vibrant, knowledge-based society” based on research, technology transfer, and knowledge and skill development and, thus, strengthen India’s competitive position in the global knowledge economy (National Knowledge Commission, 2009).

Building resilience in a new world

New York Times bestseller, The Smartest Kids says that in a global quest to find answers for how children learn. Journalist Amanda Ripley did groundbreaking research into what works worldwide and revealed a pattern of startling transformation: none of the places like Finland, Poland or South Korea had many “smart” kids a few decades ago. They had changed. Teaching had become more serious; parents had focused on what mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education. It is about building resilience in a new world.“Ripley’s cross-cultural research shows how the education superpowers value rigor above all else.”

This book gives me hope that we can create education systems of equity and rigor–if we heed the lessons from top performing countries and focus more on preparing teachers than on punishing them. Teachers in the high-scoring countries give their students more rigorous assignments and get more support from parents, principals and students for demanding work.

Educational policy in developing countries

Education policy is internationalised due to the dominance of the global economy over the national politics. Developed nations are believed to be less affected by globalisation than developing nations. Many states have introduced reforms in curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation to boost competitiveness. Therefore, in developing countries, the education policy provides quality access to education and training for all.

Education with global perspective

Global education embraces a multitude of facets. Study abroad experiences or exchange programme can make important contributions to global awareness. However,no effort to provide a global education can possibly succeed without a solid curricular base, which must be the focus of any discussion of the relationship between global and native education.

Global education urges the importance of bringing all students into some contact with global components. The globally educated student should gain experience and skill in comparing different cultures and systems. Student should gain experience and skill in dealing with relationships between the local and the global.

In sum, global education offers a shared agenda for further pedagogical work and best-practice reports, as we work on to help students develop fundamental cognitive skills. It is well worth the effort to prepare students to think more constructively about global issues, and simply to think better in the process.

The Indian school education system concentrates much more on academics and rote learning and is extremely competitive. There is a high element of homework and study at home involved, especially in higher classes. Taking private tuitions for many subjects is commonplace, given that teaching a large number of students per class has its own problems.

We must prepare our children to deal with the ever-shifting economic and political realities of our shrinking planet. To build citizens for the 21st century, we in India must continuously strive to offer instruction that helps students learn to see “through the eyes, minds and hearts of others.”

There is no recipe for a global curriculum to fit any given school. All teachers as well as all students, should have opportunities to learn about and work with individuals whose ethnic and cultural backgrounds are different from their own. Our responsibility as teachers and developers of curriculum is to help them become knowledgeable about their planet and about the issues we face for survival and for international harmony.

International schools in India provide more exposure to a different culture and a system which is probably academically of good standards with clarity of concepts and hands on learning. The atmosphere in international schools is much gentler.

At Salwan Schools,we believe children are the problem-solvers of tomorrow. Exposing them to world learning and access to the high-quality education empowers them to become leaders. We realize our vision through a unique and flexible approach that emphasizes inclusion and experiential learning. Throughout our educational process, we strengthen the key players – students, teachers, and the parents – who are all critical to a strong educational system.

  • Improve teacher performance by providing practical instructional and leadership skills training and Linking training to real-world applications through collaborative and reflective activities
  • Develop high-quality curricula, educational resources, and assessment models by developing resources that support school leadership, instructional quality, and student learning
  • Build school leadership by strengthening the attitudes and skills necessary for effective school management and building partnerships that give parents a voice in school affairs. We also encourage students to take responsibility for their learning and school management.
  • We have to strengthen our school’s educational systems by ensuring all children have access to quality education. We have created partnerships with international and national schools to promote global education and make a difference. When they work together, they lift students up.

Finally challenges of globalisation have been addressed by the Indian government by implementing and improving the standards of basic education, improving the status of teachers, in-service training and upgradation of curriculum. English as a medium of instruction is taken into consideration by almost all states of India and is the dominant language of all business and trade. In short, Indian education is improving, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and has empowered the common citizens. Indian students have made a mark globally, especially in US, UK and Australia and are a force to reckon with.

Dr Indu Khetarpal was the Founder Principal of Salwan Public School in Delhi NCR from 1997 to 2013 before taking up her current appointment as Principal, Salwan Public School, New Delhi. She has demonstrated outstanding commitment to excellence in her present assignment including drawing together five different schools in the campus with different management to address common challenges and ensuring the quality of student education through Public-Private-Partnership.

She holds a PhD in Educational Management and is an active participant in various innovative programmes of the Education Board. A prolific researcher having a long list of papers presented at various forums, she has wide interests in the Whole Brain Learning and has also written several articles. She is the Editor of Navtika, a Journal on Early Childhood care and Education. Dr. Indu Khetarpal has received various awards like National Award for Excellence in School Leadership by President of India 2005 and Endeavour Executive Award 2009 conferred by the Australian Government. She is also the Founder and Executive member of Gurgaon Progressive Schools Council and CBSE Sahodaya School Complexes,Gurgaon Chapter.