INDIA: In an interview with Transcontinental Times, Dr Shauli Mukherjee – Director, School of Education, Adamas University talks about how education is the need of the hour to tackle global issues and how education is about teaching ‘humans’, thus doing away with the idea of teaching as a mechanical job.
Key focus areas for the Indian education system
Being a global educator Shauli Mukherjee said that there is an urgent and pressing need to re-imagine and redefine education to suit the needs and demands of a dynamic, constantly unfolding, volatile and ambiguous world. A complete mindset shift is required to re-imagine education that will essentially suit the learning needs and demands of our present generation of youth. Our current education system still continues to promote a one-size-fits-all educational structure that needs a complete transformation.
Challenges on the journey
Mukherjee thrives on intrinsic motivation to touch, impact, inspire and create a positive difference in people’s lives through the transformative and life-changing power of education.
“There have been numerous challenges in my professional journey, obviously including a lot of criticisms, particularly because I was committed to bringing about a visible and tangible difference in people’s mindset concerning the real essence of education,” Mukherjee said.
She, however, never viewed those circumstances as stumbling blocks of her life, rather she considered them as essential stepping stones which helped enable her to evolve into a better, stronger and more confident version of herself.
Global issues and education
Mukherjee said that almost all the global and contemporary burning issues like overpopulation, mass poverty, unemployment, alarmingly increasing rates of suicides, depression, mental illness as well as dropouts especially among the young generation can be traced back to poor and improper education.
This is not to suggest that education is the root cause of all these issues, but real education can definitely be the solution to all these global issues. Also, more alarming is the fact that poor quality education is in fact, aggravating and worsening these issues at an exponential rate, Mukherjee told Transcontinental Times.
A word for the aspiring educators
Mukherjee talks about two vital factors for 21st-century educators to create a profound impact, regionally or globally.
They must have a beginner’s mindset through which they can be completely adaptable, flexible and responsive to all the new kinds of learnings emerging around them on a continuous basis. At the same time, they also must possess a challenging spirit to question and challenge almost anything and everything around them which have become obsolete and redundant.
“We often make the mistake of thinking that once we are somewhat knowledgeable about a specific subject domain, we are fit enough to be considered as teachers. Rather, it is important to understand and appreciate the fact that as progressive and empowered educators, our mission is not to teach the subjects in which perhaps we have attained sufficient mastery, rather our mission is to teach the learners who are essentially human beings. Hence, the human element in education must be prioritized and highlighted,” the global educator said.
Human resources (in this context, the learners and the children) are very much like the natural resources which often lies buried underneath and do not show up unless there’s a conscious effort on the part of the educators to create a conducive environment where the learners can safely show up as well as thrive.
“Educators must themselves be self-motivated and life-long learners committed to learning, unlearning and relearning at all phases of their lives.”