Welcome to the New Year 2019!

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The educational scenario for the current year appears quite dynamic with several new initiatives and reforms contemplated and proposed by the organizations leading and administering the policy initiatives. Some of them are likely to trigger reforms that are pending for a long period of time while others appear to tighten the reins of freedom in the field of educational administration. One has always witnessed a kind of conflict between the vision of the academicians and the bureaucracy on setting their priorities right. Administrative convenience has oftentimes outweighed the need and speed of policy changes and their operational dynamics in education. The current scenario appears to be no different. The challenge is how the country is going to cope with the speed of knowledge dynamics and entrepreneurial thinking that seems to be impacting the global portals in education. One would indeed wish better synergy in the top-echelons of policy administration.

The schools and the students are back to their annual exercise of preparing for the examinations. While a lot of conscious efforts are undertaken to address the stress associated with the processes, the exercises appear quite superficial. The nucleus of stress is indeed lying elsewhere — the urge to get into the top-class institutions. An unhealthy marketing exercise that creates a mystical social need about certain institutions and the liquidation of the profile of people who are unable to walk into those chambers has gained grounds. It does create a myth about the future and hence the need for oneself to get prepared for that from a decade before has side-lined several other major objectives of schooling and learning. Educational institutions find it quite convenient to be a part of such initiatives for reasons other than the core objectives of education and for which they stand for. It is time to rethink on this issue.

Some of the recent directives regarding the type of textbooks used in the classrooms and the load of a school bag have attracted the attention of many. It appears that we are fighting with tools rather than empowering a good quality of craftsmanship. Learning is never conditioned by the kind of textbooks used by a learner. As such learning must go beyond the prints of a textual material. It should trigger curiosity, innovation, research and further learning. Specification of any single format of learning input to a clientele is likely to have a retrograde effect. Freedom to learn needs to be encouraged. Further, the psychological load in learning has to be dealt with more effectively than the physical load. While one appreciates the spirit behind such initiatives, the consequences of its implementation has to be examined with a critical objective approach.

The quality of leadership in education has become a matter of national concern. With a huge deficit of competent leaders to manage and lead the K-12 sector to the future with the vision that is needed, several exercises have been initiated by the private entrepreneurs. Such initiatives need to be acknowledged and encouraged. However, it is important to ensure that these exercises do bring about the much-desired change in thought leadership instead of becoming marketing exercises. ICSL (International Council for School Leadership) is a new initiative that has brought the experience and expertise of some like minded thought leaders to design and deliver ideas in achieving this goal. I wish this initiative all success.

The current issue brings to focus a number of auxiliary and associate concerns in conceiving and delivering school curriculum from experts from different walks of life. I am sure you will benefit immensely from their writings.

Again, wishing you a Very Happy and Fruitful New year!

Balasubramanian
Editor-in- Chief