Child-centred education

You may be surprised that child-centred education is what the national policy documents on education advocate. Take a look at the following inspirational quotes from the National Curricular Framework (NCF), 2005, document. The fact that the government recommendations do not get implemented is probably because of the inertia of the system.

“Education is not a physical thing that can be delivered through the post or through a teacher… There is a mutuality to the genuine construction of knowledge. In this transaction the teacher also learns if the child is not forced to remain passive… From personal experience I can say with assurance that a lot of my limited understanding is due to my interaction with children.”
– From the Preface to the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005

The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005, recommends that children’s life at school must be linked to their life outside school. This principle marks a departure from the legacy of bookish learning which continues to shape our system and causes a gap between the school, home and community. This syllabi and textbooks developed on the basis of NCF signify an attempt to implement this basic idea. They also attempt to discourage rote-learning and the maintenance of sharp boundaries between different subject areas. We hope these measures will take us significantly further in the direction of a child-centred system of education outlined in the National Policy on Education (1986). The success of this effort depends on what steps the school principals and teachers will take to encourage children to reflect on their own learning and to pursue imaginative activities and questions.
– From the Preface to the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005

This document frequently revolves around the question of curriculum load on children. In this regard we seem to have fallen into a pit. We have bartered away understanding for memory based short term information accumulation. This must be reversed particularly now that the mass of what could be memorized has begun to explode. We need to give our children some taste of understanding following which they would be able to learn and create their own versions of knowledge as they go out to meet the world of bits, images and transactions of life. Such a taste would make the present of our children wholesome, creative and enjoyable; they would not be traumatized by the excessive burden of information that is required merely for a short time before the hurdle race we call examination.
– From the Preface to the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005

Further, there is a deep disquiet about several aspects of our educational practice: (a) The school system is characterized by an inflexibility that makes it resistant to change; (b) Learning has become an isolated activity, which does not encourage children to link knowledge to their lives in any organic or vital way; (c) Schools promote a regime of thought that discourages creative thinking and insights; (d) What is presented and transmitted in the name of learning in schools bypasses vital dimensions of the human capacity to create new knowledge; (e) The ‘future’ of the child has taken center stage to the near exclusion of the child’s ‘present’.
– From chapter 1 of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005

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