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.
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.
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.
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.
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.