Schools have brought extracurricular activities back through environmental voluntarism and the celebration of festivals on campus but they should also encourage ‘experiential learning’ - a process that helps students gain hands-on experience while also prioritising research.
But schools should also remember that students learn in different ways and should be acquainted with four or five methods rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. The biggest challenge with schools is that they don’t train their teachers as much as they should. Schools have declined to send their teachers for training at our institute (IIM Indore) as it can take time. Changes can’t be made in a day or two as there should be more effort in making students more curious.
Schools More important post-Covid
Despite improvements being necessary, it’s important to highlight a school’s role, especially post-Covid. Since the pandemic, people argued that brick-and-mortar institutions, such as schools, would go away but were proved wrong. Schools are where students go for peer learning, socialising, and confidence building, so their existence is significant. Schools to introduce and nurture empathy, emotional intelligence, civic sense, gender sensitivity, environment, and value education and all of the above will help develop skills among students.
Schools shouldn’t tell what students should or shouldn’t do but nudge them in the right direction. I remember I met some students from West Bengal, who were in the same school and got into our five-year Integrated Programme In Management (IPM) at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) - Indore. Interestingly I met another six students, who were enrolled in our IPM, from the same school the previous year which told me that it is doing something right.
KSAs urgent to improve schools
This is where the National Education Policy (NEP) comes in which should be implemented in a multidisciplinary manner. Schools have to identify their concepts to build KSAs, namely Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude, which will help them improve the system.
The author is the Director of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indore and is a jury member for The FPJ Mumbai Schools Survey 2023.