Are children interchangeable widgets?

Andrew J. Coulson who directs the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom, writes about the ills of state-controlled education standards from Washington, DC:
Children are not interchangeable widgets. It does not serve their interests to feed them through learning factories on a single, fixed-pace conveyor belt. Some pick up reading quickly and easily fly through ever more challenging texts. Others find reading a chore, progressing more slowly even when encouraged by supportive families and talented teachers. To demand a single pace for all students in all subjects is to simultaneously tie together the laces of the fleet and kick out the crutches of the slow.

Not only is it impossible to create a single set of standards that would serve every child equally well, such standards would fail to significantly improve our schools. High external standards have never been the driving force behind human progress.
One cannot completely do away with state-run education in developing countries where private enterprises are singularly focused on short-term gains and generally fail to see the long-term advantages of education in the mother-tongue. Yet Coulson's statements, which expose the dangers involved in the illogical "One Nation One Board" approach which Mr. Kapil Sibal is so fond of, inspire pertinent questions.

One asks if making examinations difficult is the best thing the KSEEB can do to improve education in Karnataka. Is "raising the bar" the best thing to do when the system ties children down to the ground? If your child is unable to learn to read Kannada decently, do you reform the way in which you teach him or set up a test requiring him to write a commentary on the Pampa Bharata?

Has anyone done a study to expose the actual deficiencies in the education system? Has anyone cared for the reasons why the Kannada medium education system is not producing Einsteins and Aumanns?

2 comments:

Mohan Kumar said...

The new design of the website feels great - it works much better! At the same time, the image (about Karnataka/Kannada/Kannadiga) at the top of the page is sorely missed.

Mr. Coulson is absolutely correct in stating that the "one size fits all" education cannot be termed as education at all! Ignorant politicians like Kapil Sibal and others who know nothing about education will never understand such a thing. The "one board system" must be totally opposed by everyone, otherwise it will ruin education completely!

editor, KARNATIQUE said...

We're glad you like the new look and feel!

One of the reasons we removed the image at the top was the need to reduce how much you need to scroll to get to the first article proper. The other reason was, of course, to make the page load as quickly as possible by making the items "light".

We'll see how things go. There's still a possibility to load up an image which is 990 x 57 pixels instead of the current all-text header.

Thanks, and enjoy!

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