Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has appealed to students, teachers, parents and all stakeholders to suggest ideas for rationalizing curriculum so that young minds develop holistically. This welcome step needs to be appreciated for its intent and purpose. Why it took Mr Javadekar so long to realize the need for rationalization? It’s better late than never.
Steve Wozniak, Apple Co-Founder, made a sweeping stereotype about creativity of Indians. I strongly disagree with him. ISRO’s success with Mars mission is just one example to showcase ingenuity and improvisation where Indian scientists have made their presence felt. We may scoff at Wozniak for his comments but we need to acknowledge that creativity and innovation has not been prioritized to a significant extent in school curriculum.
Curriculum at school level and above should include success stories of young achievers who have risen above mediocrity to showcase their brilliance. These stories would inspire young minds to think out of the box. There are so many of them. There is a need to reward students who show promise in innovation and their stories need to be told to inspire the students so that many more can forward and try their hands in uncharted areas. Creativity/Innovation as a subject needs to be introduced at school level to encourage students to take a leap of faith. This subject needs to do away with pass and fail methodology of judging students competence. Young minds should be given liberty to try and fail till they find solutions. Participation and practicality of ideas should be given importance over success /failure. Students should be encouraged to tackle everyday problems and think solutions for them.
National Innovative Foundation, an autonomous institution of the Department of Science and Technology Government of India, organizes an annual IGNITE competition to tap innovation of school children. NIF alone would not be able to harness the potential of students if there is no sincere effort to motivate and inspire children to dabble and experiment with ideas.
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