The present government wants to bring some big changes in the education system to make the country's education joyful. Recently, the Education minister expressed that our education system is very much exam and certificate oriented, and the education from pre-primary to university levels is not enjoyable. So, they want to bring changes in education so that it can make students curious to know and learn. It is learnt from newspaper reports that the government has been planning to step over the present education system to make it more enjoyable and time-befitting to enable students to acquire knowledge through joy.
Joyful education means engaging, empowering, and playful learning of meaningful content in a loving and supportive community. Through the joyful learning process, a student always improves knowledge of self and the things in the world. There are questions - how to make joyful learning? Who are the biggest agents to make lessons joyful? What are the main barriers to making the lessons joyful? How to ensure joyful learning? All are easy questions; but, the answers are not simple.Joyful education hugely depends on the teachers’ approach. Teaching is not merely a profession; it is a noble service to the nation. Although some teachers consider teaching only a job like all other professions which pay salary every month; some think it is a way of earning huge money through private coaching and tuition, etc.; however these views are unfortunate regarding teachers.
We have been campaigning and advocating for quality education for a long time. Now, the government has realised the truth and taking proactive steps. Education Minister said our textbooks have no connection with reality. So, the government is bringing major changes to textbooks in a shift of focus towards quality education. From the minister’s speech, we know that changes are coming in different branches of science and our knowledge constantly.
We always aspire to have a quality joyful education; this is why the government formulated the Education Policy-2010 which was enormously fantastic and globally very admiring. But, the Education policy 2010 could not be fully implemented for a number of practical reasons. Based on the Education Policy, new textbooks were written with authentic materials and contents. The government brought changes in syllabus and curriculum, evaluation process, introducing of new subjects, etc but, we could not achieve the target expressed in the Education Policy as education could be made neither joyful nor standard during the last 10 years.
Currently, the government has taken new initiatives to further revise the education policy that was formulated in 2010. They are bringing major changes to the textbooks. It appears that they would leave no stone unturned to achieve quality education. A technological revolution occurred during the last 12 years. Technology and technological equipment are made available to almost all teachers and schools or colleges, and sufficient training is provided to the teachers and academic administrators on how to best use technology for the cause of effective teaching and joyful learning.
All things that the government is planning and implementing are to ensure quality education through joyful teaching and learning. The government has succeeded in decreasing illiteracy and dropout rates. Now, the government puts attention to quality education for every level of education: primary, secondary, and tertiary. If we aspire to ensure joyful learning for the students at all stages especially primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels, we must concentrate on a number of major issues.
Firstly, the formulation of textbooks based on reality and current needs is essential. The textbooks which are written after 2012, based on the education policy 2010, are still good. New thoughts and ideas, issues, and contents are incorporated in books. The textbook lessons are also comprehensible and interesting, but, we could not raise sufficient appeal in the students’ minds. However, if the textbooks are further modified based on students' needs it will be most welcome for the cause of joyful education.Secondly, teachers’ role is very fundamental in all respects to ensure joyful learning. All steps and efforts of the government will utterly fail if teachers do not perform their duties as per the guidelines set in the curriculum. Classes must be participatory; learners must not be kept as passive listeners; teachers must not appear as threats to their learners. They must study new things to acquire new knowledge, and should be aware of what is happening in the current world.
Teachers must learn new techniques to apply. Joyful learning is possible if teachers believe it possible and perform accordingly. We must remember teaching is all about inspiring and motivating students to realise and exceed their potentials. The greatest teachers of all the time devoted their life to inspiring and empowering their students to achieve great things and be a good human being.
Thirdly, monitoring of teaching should be a must action. Teachers’ activities irrespective of government and non-government institutes should be brought under supervision. Teachers must follow the instruction set by the government; they cannot perform based on their whims and whatever they like to perform.
Fourthly, in line with the Education policy, the teacher-student ratio at both primary and secondary levels was determined as 1:30. But, currently, the teacher-student ratio is 1:37 at the primary level and 1:45 at the secondary level which is quite large. Joyful learning is hardly possible in large size classrooms. So, ideal classroom size is essential.
Finally, internal formal tests must be reduced because it creates stress and anxiety. A test or exam can be a stressful time for any student. Students experience huge stress and anxiety before and during exams that can actually impair learning and hurt students’ performance. Terminal and mid-term tests should be omitted from the calendar, and classroom-based alternative progress tests may be introduced in that place.
A classroom is not a place where a teacher is a speaker and the students are the listeners. Joyful learning can flourish in school if we give joy a chance. Teaching is hard. We should give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking. Thus learning will be a natural result. Joyful environments are safe places to learning joyfully. It is hoped that after the Covid-19 pandemic ends, the government is likely to put a huge emphasis on joyful and quality education.
The writer is educational researcher and teacher educator. Email: