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Pragati

Re-Imagining a Holistic Education System

Photo of Srilakshmi Mahesh
4 5

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I am a.....

  • Human Centered Designer

Tell us about your idea

The pandemic has caused an upheaval of almost every system in the world and education is high up on that list. With institutes closed almost indefinitely, the world has been forced to respond rapidly to the problems that arose. This project has given us the opportunity to look critically at the Indian education system and assess how we can contribute as designers.

While picking an area of intervention, we realized that COVID-19 had bought about many insights, such as the value of involving parents in a child’s education, the potential of blended learning, the importance of mental and physical wellness, and the beauty of going beyond a classroom to learn. This made us realize that education should be more than just academic proficiency, it should be about the holistic growth of an individual. Due to the complexity of this topic, we decided that it made sense to look at a systemic solution. Based on our insights on how COVID -19 impacted the education sector, we re-imagined the idea of a holistic education system.

In India there are elements of education that are inaccessible due to limited resources. We have mapped some of these limitations and added potential solutions that would allow holistic education to be accessible to people.

The three main stakeholders of our system are the student, the teacher, and the family of the student. We have divided the students’ growth into two levels, the student and the self (physical, mind and spiritual), and the student and the world (environment, community and giving back). To us, education is both an outcome and a process, an exchange of knowledge by which individuals cultivate an understanding of themselves, in relation to others, the physical and spiritual worlds around them.” The proposed system caters to this.

Given the opportunity to pursue this, we will collaborate with existing organisations and educators to contextualize such a system to a specific location. We aim to create a system where holistic education is available to everyone. So far we have identified simple technology such as mass media, text message, etc. as the most efficient mediums. The scope of this project is broad and encompasses our aspirations for the ideal education system that our country’s youth should get to experience.

Given the nationwide lockdown, we think aspects of such a system must be prioritized to adapt to new challenges. These times demand for us to be useful within society, and school students are not exempt from this expectation. Therefore, it would be beneficial for the education system to look beyond academics, and use this time to develop life skills, foster community, and ensure that our mental wellness is taken care of.

Sticking to our proposed model of viewing the student through the framework of ‘student and self’ and ‘student and the world’ and taking into account the limitations of our current situation, we would like to focus on four aspects of the overall system:

1. Physical Wellbeing

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of personal health, immunity and hygiene. We are now excessively mindful about simple everyday actions. As such, teaching basic habits of hygiene is the need of the hour. Additionally, the key to having a healthy body lies in regular exercise and proper diet, so encouraging these aspects and including them in the curriculum is apt.

2. Environment

Being responsible for how you treat your surroundings is important when the risk of contracting an infection is high. With the increased amount of time that students now have at home, they can be encouraged to take ownership of their surroundings and contribute by helping with chores. This will also teach them how to treat the environment when ‘normal’ life resumes.

3. Spirituality

Being restricted from the material world has given us a unique opportunity to look within. In a world where most of what we deemed important is now inaccessible, we find that rethinking of our values is in order. Questions such as, what do we prioritize, what role do we want to play within our community, who is most important to us, are being considered. Furthermore, the uncertainty of these times has increased anxiety and stress among students. The quest to find the meaning of life gives hope for the future, as well as gives strength to deal with the present.

4. Community

 Community is a support system which adds to a sense of security. In this time of crisis, we must contribute in whatever way we can. Previously, the primary role of a student was to go to school and study, to become useful in the future. However, with schools closed and the need for useful humans in the present, the education system must rise to the occasion and adapt accordingly.

We have picked these four aspects as they are the most relevant to this time and we have developed them to compliment each other. Furthermore, we have elaborated the limitations and possibilities of each of these focus points in the feature map, which can be viewed below.



What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

We wish to leave in the past the academics-centred education that only tests your ability to repeat answers from memory. Next, we would like to continue the newfound engagement between parents and students regarding schooling. A child cannot grow in isolation; it is important that three stakeholders, namely teacher, parent and the students themselves, all play an active role in their education. We would also like to let go of the ‘one size fits all’ notion of learning and use the available environment and resources to cater to different learning styles. The pandemic has highlighted the value of community. Humans are social beings, our survival relies on cooperation. In these tough times we are aided by essential workers who toil everyday to ensure some order in our lives, and we also have helped out however we can. We believe this kind of active participation can be made a part of a child’s education even after these times, leaving behind the blissful ignorance we had before.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

Although not school students, we are in our last year of college so we are familiar with the effects of the pandemic on the education system. We have always been interested in the education sector and pushing the idea that education in schools should not be limited to academics but foster an environment that is conducive to holistic development. As citizens of a developing country who have had the privilege of a integrated education we strongly believe that this opportunity should be made available to everyone which is why we have attempted to imagine a holistic education system that can be accessed even with basic resources.

What region are you located in?

  • Southern Asia

Where are you located?

Bangalore
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Attachments (2)

Process_Education_Challenge_SrilakshmiMahesh_JayantiDave.pdf

This is a compilation of our design process to get to the idea

4 comments

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Spam
Photo of Sarah Nethan
Team

Hi Srilakshmi Mahesh 
Thank you for signing up and contributing to this challenge!

The education system, primarily in India, indeed needs to be re-imagined into a holistic one, and your idea does exactly that. I'm particularly intrigued by the levels of development you've proposed - the student and the self (physical, mind and spiritual), and the student and the world ( environment, community and giving back). I can see a lot of thought has gone into this idea, with multi-layered solutions/suggestions...given the present nationwide lockdown, if you were to focus on any 1-2 key aspects of your macro systemic solution, what would it be?

As you answer my questions here in the comments, I would love for you to also update your post with your thoughts before the challenge ends on May 26th. This is to ensure that your idea shines when the evaluators review all ideas post-deadline. You can edit your post by hitting the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post.

Good luck!

Spam
Photo of Srilakshmi Mahesh
Team

Dear Sarah Nethan,

Thank you for taking the time out to give us your feedback! It triggered a great deal of thought and some interesting brainstorming sessions.

We went back to our system and looked at the potential limitations that it would face given the nationwide lockdown. We think aspects of such a system must be prioritized to adapt to new challenges. These times demand for us to be useful within society, and school students are not exempt from this expectation. Therefore, it would be beneficial for the education system to look beyond academics, and use this time to develop life skills, foster community, and ensure that our mental wellness is taken care of.

Sticking to our proposed model of viewing the student through the framework of ‘student and self’ and ‘student and the world’ and taking into account the limitations of our current situation, we chose to focus on four aspects of the overall system:

Student and Self
1. Physical Wellbeing
2. Spirituality

Student and World
3. Environment
4. Community

We have picked these four aspects as we think that they are the most relevant to this time and we have developed them to compliment each other. Furthemore, we have elaborated the limitations and possibilities of each of these focus points in the submission above.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the updated version.

Thank you for your time and your insights!
We really appreciate it!

Spam
Photo of Sarah Nethan
Team

Thank you for sharing Srilakshmi Mahesh . I can see you've also updated your submission. It clearly lists down your focus area!!

Good luck!

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