Education today is catering to life styles of long gone era like 70s or 80s. Educational system didn't and couldn't keep up with the changes that we saw over the last century, especially the last two decades. Industrialization took away the elite-ness out of well-educated-knows-a-lot and gave it to has-a-lot-of-money. So, it became, what-you-know is not important anymore but whether you can-make-money out of what you know. Most of us do understand that school-education is not helping much in real world; but we don't or can't reform it, yet. We are so entangled in this industrialized education system that we don't know which end is up or down.
And I'm tired of just thinking it is not working; so let me make an attempt at putting my idea of reform out here. I am only looking at basic(elementary, a must-have) education in this topic.
Let us NOT horde the kids into classrooms according to their age. It is not right to demand all the kids of a particular age to have the same level of knowledge. Let them learn at their own phase. Some kids are faster in some subjects and not so in other subjects. So instead of 1st grade, 2nd grade according to age, make it 1st, 2nd grades for individual subjects.
Kid A -> assign a Teacher-B as counselor who guides and assesses that kid's learning necessities (NOT GRADES like today).
Categorize each subject into different levels -> similar to today's classes. Ex: Science will have 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade etc. and Social studies will have, again, 1st grade, 2nd grade etc. (...you get the idea…)
Now, Kid-A will learn each subject at his/her own phase and complete a level and move on to next level irrespective of his/her age. In this scenario, in a single class of subject-X, level-N there may be kids of different ages like 8 year old to 12 year old. Teacher-B will help this Kid-A throughout in deciding and coordinating with subject level teachers.
Ex: Kid-A starts with science-1st-grade and goes onto science-3rd-grade by the end of 1st year of his/her school; starts with social-studies-1st-grade and moves onto social-studies-2nd-grade by the end of year; starts with physical-activities-1st-grade and stays in the same level even at the end of 1st year.
Say, a 12 year old student can be in science-5th-grade, social-studies-10th-grade, literature-12th-grade, arts-7th-grade etc. (just an example, please don't hang-on to the number alone).
Of course, we can not have a 15year old becoming astronaut and going on a trip to space station (well, if NASA agrees) or we can not have him/her become a marine biologist and go to the depths of oceans. So we have to have a well thought out age limit for kids' "readiness" to real world (they can even finish their higher education but don't let them into wilderness of real world!...or can we?...).
- Kids are in control of how they learn - phase of learning, which subject(s) they like at a particular age etc.
- Lesser pressure on them for clearing a level (ideally, it shouldn't be there at all, but then we need to reform grown-ups first) - as long as they do well in subject(s) of their liking and moving ahead, they are doing fine.
- If a kid pursues music and not doing well in other subjects, -in this case, he/she will be able to go onto higher music-education without "passing" high-school
- A kid who is a history buff, can become a great historian without "passing" high school math/science.
- Like No.4 and No.5 you can imagine all the possibilities here….
- If a kid finishes all the levels of all the subjects by age 16, he/she can then go on world tour(travel teaches you a lot too!) before joining college (reform to college education will be in a different topic…)….parents, hold on to your seats now… :-)
- Grown ups also get relief from hearing other parents boasting about their kids - it takes too much time and energy to brag about each and every subject and its level
As with all reforms and ideas there are disadvantages or drawbacks. One thing that comes to my mind as of now is that how these different aged kids behave together in a single class (and the bullying may be). It may also work out well, as they are only in that class together for the duration of that class, after which they go back to a different class or their home-room.
Also, we should introduce psychology and sex-education as subjects in our basic education (at appropriate levels).
So what say you all ? ….