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Current Affairs Education General

The Reservation System: A Disgrace or A Necessity?

Photo by Alfred Quartey on Unsplash

Reservation systems occur in various countries like Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. It is available in slightly modified forms in MANY other countries—the policy of affirmative action in the USA, Brazil’s vestibular policy, quotas for Swedish speakers in Finland, and so on. The idea behind all these initiatives is pretty much the same. They aim to give racially discriminated groups additional numbers in order to ensure equal representation. 

What is the reservation system?

Reservation is a system meant to provide historically disadvantaged groups representation in education, employment, and politics. It involves a process of reserving a certain percentage of seats for certain groups perceived as availing lesser opportunities than those more privileged. It aims to empower them and ensure their participation in the decision-making of various important sectors. 

Putting the reservation system into perspective 

Let’s say you want to read more about the implications of the reservation system. Or about the green star. What would you do? Maybe run a quick search on any search engine, read TutorHere blogs, or the likes.

What if your internet is down? Maybe a quick run to the nearest café. And if you live in an area not very technologically advanced, maybe a pit stop at the library to read up on it. Either way, you use to access resources more easily available to you. 

Growing up, not all learners have access to the same amount of resources. Some have access to resources that have very little (or even no) value, as such. Some individuals from these disadvantaged communities come from homes that aren’t used to dreaming or having goals. Homes were becoming a doctor or an engineer seems like a dream just too good to be true. Or they just struggle due to a general bias against them in a specific society. 

Enter the reservation system. 

The reservation system sets aside a specific quota for these groups. Or takes these disadvantages into account so as to give them more opportunities. However, the big debate revolving around this is if it takes away the merit from ‘merit’. 

Researvation: A discredit to merit? 

The criticism against the reservation system has a few points of argument. To quickly break this down and give you an overview, the reasons include: 

  • Reservations generally benefit just a small fraction of the groups intended to benefit from it 
  • They tend to make these groups feel inferior, less motivated to work hard to achieve their goals, and create animosity between the groups that don’t have a reserved quota 
  • It perpetuates division and further makes the demarcation against these groups clearer 

Summing up, the argument against reservation focuses on the fact that trying to provide opportunities to support certain groups is in turn, fueling this division that disadvantaged them in the first place. It also gives room for politics to come into play and create animosity from those who have a higher merit score but can not get a seat. 

Reservation: An opportunity to dream? 

There are also quite a few points speaking for the reservation. And a brief look at these include: 

  • The reservation system quotas aren’t filled with those meant to benefit from it. Thus, this could be a sign that we need to work on the system
  • This protects the supported groups from privatisation of educational institutions and contractualisation of employment 
  • Reservation systems helps the social and psychological integration of these various groups 
  • Reservation is merely an entry criterion and does not compromise on performance of the individual 

Overall, it’s an argument that privilege stops us from really understanding what the reservation system is aiming for. Studies also show that “gains in learning are higher in elite institutions compared to non-elite institutions.” So while the reservation system may not be the solution to discrimination, it could be a temporary makeshift until we can improve our systems of education to ensure everyone has access to equal resources. 

reservation as an opportunity
Photo by Alexis Brownon Unsplash 

Conclusion 

Many countries still continue to debate the implications of the reservation system. While some struggle to keep it in place, others think it to be a disgrace to economic progress. However, the question is, if the economic progress is substantially benefitting all (Read more on the importance of education for all, here).

As usual, the takeaways from this article are entirely yours. What’s the verdict? The reservation system – A disgrace to modern society or a necessary plow to even the playing field? 

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Develpoment Education Humanities

The social context of education: Are we doing enough?

Photo by Tim Marshallon Unsplash

There’s a marshmallow in front of you. 

No, this isn’t a promotion, and you aren’t getting samples (sorry!), but imagine I keep a marshmallow in front of you. Of course, I will give you the classic catch. If you wait till I come back, without eating the marshmallow, you get TWO of them. The choice seems obvious, right? Wait and get two marshmallows. Or maybe you’d rather carpe diem with that one marshmallow. Either way, what does it have to do with education?

Am I merely grabbing your attention by mentioning a fluffy, sugary treat? Maybe. BUT, did you know that the decision you would make in this actual marshmallow situation could tell quite a bit about your personality? Skeptical? Good. Allow me to elaborate. 

The Marshmallow Test and Education

‘The Marshmallow Test’ written by Walter Mischel elaborates on his famous experiment with marshmallows. Not to get into too much detail, but the author discusses how those who chose to wait for the second marshmallow had higher SAT scores and better social as well as cognitive functioning. They are then seen to have a better sense of self-worth. The comparison between those who could wait, and those who couldn’t, were characterized by different brain scans in areas relating to addictions and obesity. 

So a “no” to eating the marshmallow? Nope. That’s a personal choice. But notice how behavioral patterns in children sort of projects themselves onto adolescence and above? That’s what we’re focusing on in today’s blog. 

Social context of education 

The social context of education refers to external factors that affect a child’s educational opportunities. These factors include social background, family structure, socio-economic status, the learning environment, differences and diversity in school, resource equity, and so on.

For instance, parents’ education is seen to be associated with student achievement. Likewise, the poverty levels of the school also decide the quality of education. Public school teachers in high-poverty schools are also more likely to report student misbehavior as interfering with their teaching than teachers in low-poverty schools. Students in mathematics classes in low-poverty public secondary schools are more likely to be taught by teachers who majored or minored in mathematics than were students in high-poverty public secondary schools.  

As discussed, many factors can affect the learning process. The social context in which schools operate can influence their effectiveness. Changes in social context present challenges that schools must address to enhance their effectiveness and ensure that educational progress can occur. 

The impact of social context on education

The point to focus on is that the social environment that the child is subject to in education has a holding on their personality development. This social environment can consist of various levels such as family, institutional, community, and society. An environment in which children don’t feel safe or are victims to be bullying will have an impact that carries on into adulthood.

The mental health of the learners and their ability to deal with emotions does make a connection to this. A survey shows that 13% of students in America are stressed, 22% suffer anxiety, 20% have sleep difficulties, and 14% have depression. All of this has a direct influence on the performance of a learner. (Read more about the link between mental health and students here

Is this the social context we want in our education systems? What are we subjecting our children to?

Imagine 12-year-olds consuming content on social media where they think beauty filters are the new norm. Or teens on apps that scam them of money. Even the shady man trying to befriend an unknowing adolescent by “sliding into the DMs.” Families making learners believe that their value solely depends on education, or vice versa—that education has no value. All of this comes under the umbrella of social context. And if it is not safe, we are directly subjecting learners to the negative impact that it can have. 

Are we really okay with learning in this environment? 

social context of education
Photo by LUM3Non Unsplash

Conclusion 

While we can’t micromanage the system, we can influence it. Promoting a healthier social context in education, general check-ins, being empathetic of the learner, and not putting them in a tight box roped with expectations are some ways to give them room to grow. This environment is shaping them in numerous ways—how they interact with other elements of the community, survival systems, ideologies, and so on and so on. 

Should something so impactful get so little attention? Are we doing enough? 

Categories
Business Education

Economics of Education: Is Education a Resource?

Photo by Kelly Sikkemaon Unsplash 

The 4 M’s are pretty common in various economic platforms – man, material, machinery, and money. This speaks about various resources. Education, too, is one such resource. Let’s see how

Fundamentals of Economics 

Economics is a term that most of us are already familiar with. It is the study concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economics studies these aspects at an individual level and beyond, including businesses, governments, and nations, as well. It helps understand the efficiency in production as well as exchange. It also uses various models and assumptions to understand how to create incentives and policies to maximise efficiency. This helps in understanding ways to increase productivity, efficiently use resources, and improve standards of living. 

Economics helps us make informed decisions, understand various industries, connect systems from an international perspective, and in general, aims to promote growth. Since it is a study of resources and services, it has a connection to education as well. No, not the study of economics but rather, the economics of education. Tricky? Stay with me; let me explain 

Economics of Education 

Economics of education, also known as education economics, studies economic issues relating to education. The demand for it, financing, supply, efficiency of various systems, and so on. While not a broadly known subject area, this concept applies economic theories to education as a service. 

Economics of education

Source: Click here 

For example, let’s look at the picture above. It analyses the resources allotted to the top and bottom 10% financially segregated population. The blue graph (towards the left) shows the bottom 10% and the orange graph (towards the right) shows the top 10%. Although not a recent graph, it gives an idea of how education as a resource is distributed. Particularly, how the distribution seems quite lopsided.

Educational development has seen a lot of changing patterns over time (Read more on the importance of education here). A few studies show that when there is economic development there usually is growth for educational development. Educational development is a powerful tool for growth if used correctly. A well-educated community indicates a community inclined towards employment and sustainable growth. A motive, so to speak, towards accomplishment and figuring out their interests 

Does it matter, though? Are there benefits from allocating these resources? Do they have any impact on the bigger picture? Yes, to all of that. 

Economics of education

Source: Click here 

Implications 

Education is slowly being recognised as a basic right in various countries. As such, it definitely should be something that strives towards equitable distribution of resources. Various countries have started to see the importance of educational development. As such, educational spending is also increasing.

Economic development looks at basic needs being met. Hence, the focus on education and other such secondary spending is increasing. Moreover, education is also seen as a means to fulfill these basic needs. 

Globalization and technological progress has also called for more in-depth studying. This also sees a higher demand for intellectual resources. Usually, the opportunity cost of education is misgauged. A common misconception is that education, when seen as an investment, takes too much time for any real returns. However, education helps an individual to not only keep track of various markets but also identify gaps that they can occupy. 

Conclusion 

Education plays an important role in development. This is pretty much established. Economics helps us understand markets better and hence, optimise resource utilisation. Applying these concepts of economics to education could mean better opportunities and providing more accessible forms of learning. This also means identifying and accommodating the learning needs of such a diverse audience 

Categories
Business Education Learning

Marketing Education and Course Designers: How can Education Benefit From Marketing

Photo by Campaign Creatorson Unsplash 

The World Record…. Egg 

No, that’s not a typo. Yes, you read it right. Egg 

If you aren’t familiar with it yet, a picture of an egg posted on Instagram got over 55.3 million likes. This account now has more than 5 million followers. 

Getting to the point, while posting a picture of an egg on Instagram may not necessarily be a marketing strategy that is widely adopted, it did work, right? The post now has more likes than the average selfie and the account has quite a wide reach. The account now posts other relatable memes that seem to be quite popular.

What did they do right? Not entirely sure either, but it seems like somehow people’s attention has been captured. And that curiosity with the first post made them want to stick around to see more. 

And that is something that marketing works towards as well. 

What is marketing education? 

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. In other words, it is essentially understanding the gap in market and consumer preferences to ensure that the right product reaches those that have the most utility on it.

Marketing is actually not as easy as it may seem at first glance. A lot of marketing education initiatives try to do their best in ensuring learners understand the core concepts of how the market works and so on. However, like most other courses of education, it is more productive to actually put into practice. 

Can course designers learn from marketing? 

Yes, this is actually possible. Marketing is pretty widespread in our current economic scenario. I know, I’m starting to sound like a marketing connoisseur. But hear me out. The biggest celebrities you can think of, the biggest companies, the biggest names in the market – what do they all have in common? A good marketing strategy.

Why is your favorite brand your favorite? Maybe because you find them relatable, or they have exactly what your preferences or they just somehow appeal to you. Either way, they’re doing something right – winning you over. 

And if you think about it, course designers can also benefit by implementing marketing into their course structure. Here are a few examples: 

  • What exactly are learners looking for? 
  • What type of a structure could benefit the learner the most? (Read more here
  • How can the course designer come up with engaging content that makes the learner voluntarily pay attention? 

These are actually some ways in which course designers can use marketing to ensure they have an efficient layout for their course. 

Branding in course designing 

Branding in this case is essentially giving the course a distinctive identity. What would make learners pick this particular course from the many, many courses already available online? That’s something that the course designer will understand better after they understand their audience, the learners, better. 

This helps the course designer to effectively market their course by giving the learners what they’re looking for. 

Conclusion

There’s much that course designers can learn from marketing and use to structure their courses. From understanding what learners require to structuring it in a way that works efficiently for them, marketing education does play a role in creating a course that students like.

Categories
Current Affairs Education Government

Critical Race Theory in education: A deal-breaker or not?

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The NYPD officers approached a man on suspicion of selling cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. The man tells the police that he is tired of being harassed and that he didn’t have anything to do with cigarette sales. The officers attempt to arrest the man with one of them, Pantaleo, placing his arm around the man’s neck and wrestling him to the ground. With multiple officers pinning him down, the man repeats the words “I can’t breathe.” 

Now, this may be a phrase that we have become familiar with. However, for those not entirely sure of this particular incident, this victim’s name is Eric Garner. Soon after this, Garner lost consciousness and was declared dead about an hour later 

If I ask you what you would assume Garner’s ethnicity to be, what would be your first guess? 

Because if “African-American” comes to your mind, you already know where this blog is heading. 

Racism isn’t a new concept—it is the bias against a specific racial or ethnic group. It also includes the distinction between various groups so as to identify them as inferior or superior. Now, the Biden administration in the US is attempting to spread awareness about the same in high schools through a widely-debated subject: Critical Race Theory (CRT). 
In this blog, we will look at the inclusion of racism studies in education and the debate that surrounds it.

Critical race theory
Photo by Clay Bankson Unsplash 

Critical Race Theory – An Introduction 

The Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been making an appearance in media and debates quite often, recently. So, what exactly is it? 

The theory says that race is a social construct rather than a product of individual bias or prejudice, and yet is something embedded in legal systems and policies. An example of instances that led to the framework or CRT is how in the 1930s government officials drew lines around areas and deemed them as poor financial risks. The main reasoning behind this being the racial composition of inhabitants, which meant that banks refused mortgages to these residents. 

 A related concept is a casual racism. The ‘Challenging Racism Project’ has documented Australians’ experiences of racism since 2001. The most common experiences of racism reported are interpersonal interactions.

Name-calling and other racist insults are also common. These racist events make people feel like they don’t belong to Australia. And this includes people born in Australia or whose ancestors have lived in Australia for millennia.

The USA shows 57.6% of all hate crimes with motivation being race, ethnicity, or ancestry bias. Thus, CRT is just an attempt to put things into perspective, since hate crimes and casual racism are prevalent in most countries.

Additional Resources on Critical Race Theory

The Big Debate 

Let us now look at the arguments presented for and against CRT being a part of the school curriculum. The ones who support this say that the theory asserts that racism is a part of everyday life. They assert that even people who don’t intend to be racist could make choices that fuel racism. Thus, students, the future decision-makers must have a deep understanding of the unseen form of racism to avoid such conduct. 

However, the critics argue that this discriminates against white people by labeling them as racist. They also say that it could lead to students having a self-demoralizing notion. A common argument among such critics is that teaching Critical Race Theory in schools incites anti-national thinking and behavior. Meaning, they will grow to hate their country and its policies and have a negative impression of the same. 

Now, while some states in the USA have initiated outlaw CRT in schools, the bills give room for a lot of grey areas. Some of the schools are now unsure of what constitutes as accepted syllabi and what doesn’t.

Critical race theory
Photo by James Eadeson Unsplash 

Our Take on Critical Race Theory in Schools

In short, they were arguing that CRT—with its insistence on exploring both the ideological and material manifestations of racism—could explain the important connections between race and class in American schooling.

Unlike previous studies of race and education that were merely descriptive of racist acts, policies, curriculum or teachers and administrators, Critical Race Theory attempts to explain how critical analysis of racism in education could lead to the development of new ways to think about the failure of schools to properly educate minority populations.

CRT and its inclusion in the curriculum can significantly enlarge current debates over the continuing significance of racism in education and in society as a whole. The truth is that disparity and discrimination will continue in different forms until we are willing to look beyond our decisions and not only use research to examine the effects of those decisions but assume the responsibility to enact corrections as well.

Conclusion 

We’ll let you form your opinion on this topic. However, keeping in mind educational freedom, it could be a plausible solution to present the theory to students and have them form their own opinion on it. Let students decide if they want to learn this or not. Isn’t that how we can empower our future generation? 

Categories
Education Learning

Relay Learning – The Future of Learning

Photo by Lagos Techie on Unsplash

Relay learning is a concept that is similar to the activity, relay, itself. Confused?

Okay, first. How does a relay race work?

We have a bunch of participants who run to pass the baton to the next player on their team. This process also repeats with all the players on the team. It is essentially like a task broken down into smaller tasks to efficiently get a team to complete said task.

Now, imagine trying to implement this method with learning. Say, there are 10 people in a study group, each individual would teach someone something that they know best. A chain of lessons, of sorts. And that is what the concept of relay learning entails 

Current problems faced in learning outcomes

Do you ever wonder if our current methods of learning are maybe getting a little redundant? Classroom learning can be efficient to a certain point. However, in due course, the personalization needed to benefit these different learning capacities gets misplaced. Do you get the gist?

There’s only so much that a teacher can get a crowded classroom to learn, regardless of their educational skills. Even if we take the average of benefits received by the classroom, which indicates the mid-range, the outcomes remain unchanged. What about the extremes of this spectrum? Are they still getting the most they can out of the course? 

Yet another problem faced in traditional learning styles is the costs involved and subsequent lack of accessibility. Educational costs have gone up in recent years, making education inaccessible to underprivileged strata of society. While several scholarships and grants aim to bridge this widening economic gap in education, learning is still a privilege for many.

The final nail to the traditional learning system is the quality and quantity of teachers. Teachers are underpaid in the world, regardless of the country. As such, very few educated individuals have the motivation to become teachers. And those who take up this profession or related roles are either stuck in the box of age-old practices or underqualified. Yet another challenge is the required qualifications and experience to become a teacher. But should teaching be so complicated?

In comes Relay Learning.

Benefits of relay learning

Benefits of this style of learning include a more individually designed learner-teacher understanding. Considering that the learning takes place in a social setting, it could help with learning the concepts better.

While improving communication skills and interpersonal relationships, it could also boost the confidence and self-esteem of individuals involved.

However, the signature benefit could be that it enables learning without paying an exorbitant amount. This means treating education as a service, rather than as a commodity. It also means that the teacher can adapt to the learner’s capacity.

Furthermore, restraints on teaching professions are no longer applicable. With relay learning, anyone willing to spread knowledge can teach someone something without needing a specific degree.

Finally, relay learning makes education a communal and social activity as opposed to the isolated and independent construct we follow. Moreover, education becomes free with this learning style and no longer follows an authoritarian approach prevalent now. Meaning, you can learn and teach any subject of your choosing, as long as you have the right level of knowledge and a passion to teach and learn.

Conclusion

Relay learning focuses on a more community style of learning with the teachers and learners being interdependent. This ideology of learning helps since the approach targets and is an effective way to achieve impact at scale. There are many learning styles that are diverse and that’s important since learners are also pretty diverse. It is important to ensure that we approach learning with more personalization. This means that more learners can truly benefit from education, rather than just a few.

Categories
Education General Learning

Is Our Education System Molding Us For Failure?

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The concept of an education system is more of a subjective one if you think about it. Yes, it involves systematic methods of giving and receiving information. However, it also has way more to it like the learner’s inclinations, the teacher’s methods, the learning environment, and so on.

Education aims to prepare individuals to become a part of the economy and society. It also helps them develop a value system, practice critical thinking, and of course, inculcate problem-solving skills. It’s something that evokes mixed feelings, though. Some love it, some detest it and some are doing all they can to get access to it.

However, it’s pretty clear that our education systems have a foundation accumulated over the years. The question is: does it encourage following hierarchy and obedience rather than critical thinking and formulation of individual perspective? 

The “ideal” education system 

Let’s take a look at what an ideal education should look like.

  • A course that allows students to explore various fields to understand their interests better
  • A system that encourages them to follow these interests, rather than having multiple courses imposed on them
  • A more personalized learning because every learner’s needs are different 
  • An educational journey that challenges the learner to bring out the best in them, rather than shut down their learning

Education should be a catalyst in a learner’s discovery process, rather than an active element.

Our current education systems, while slowly adapting to these different learning needs, still have room for growth. At present, it builds on systems that make the learner seem more employable. This means focusing on book knowledge that is coerced into the learner.

However, rather than treating education as a commodity, it would do better to see it as an essential service. Instead of enclosing learners in a box, encouraging them to explore out of it could make the learning process more efficient

The issue with this system is that it stimulates compliance and disappoints questioning of the system. This eventually just grooms citizens who want to encourage the current system and accept all information displayed to them, rather than exploring topics and having their own say in it. The latter would also act as a change enabler.

The bright side of it, however, is that we do have an elaborate education system in place that is constantly reviewing itself for betterment. The question is, is that enough? 

The takeaway 

Education is a sector that is essentially intertwined with various aspects of a functioning society. This means that any real change will trigger subsequent changes in these auxiliary sectors. Such an elaborate system means that a drastic overnight change may not be practical. It seems reasonable that the system can eventually adapt itself to the needs of these diverse learners. So is our education system is molding us for failure? The verdict is that it’s more a case of “if the shoe fits”. While it may work for some, it may not be the best approach for all 

Categories
Education General Learning

Educational Freedom – Myth or Reality?

Photo by Kristina V on Unsplash

Say, you want to be a musician. Would you rather spend your time learning calculus or mastering your instrument? Learners often don’t have an option between the two and have to balance between the two. Educational freedom changes the ball game by giving you options.

Understanding Educational Freedom

Educational freedom is the right to make educational choices without the State’s interference. It involves parents and children being able to choose their education based on their views as well as perceptions. With 155 of 195 countries recognizing the right to basic education legally, it is becoming something of a globally accepted concept.

However, educational freedom involves a little more than just access to education. Educational freedom means that faculty have more accountability, and students get to explore their views without being influenced by the perspective of the faculty or institution. It also means that there isn’t much direct interference from the government or any other external facilities.

Educational Freedom vs Right to Education

Although easy to confuse, there is quite a difference between ‘Right to Education’ and ‘Educational Freedom’. While the former is more of recognizing education as a necessary service, the latter focuses more on what the term education constitutes.

Most education systems take on a one-size-fits-all approach. The issue with this is there are different types of learners and learning styles. Having a standardized approach, therefore, can be a hassle than it is useful. These systems don’t necessarily encourage questioning in classrooms. Instead, they try to motivate students towards increasing academic scores.

The assumption that all children must be interested to learn all courses offered is another issue with mandatory imposition of specific syllabi. It is important for younger minds to be exposed to wider subjects to explore their interests. Moreover, this approach may not be productive for slightly older learners. Imposing subjects that learners are not keen towards could potentially undermine their actual interests and bore them.

Therefore, it is safe to say that education is in dire need of liberation.

Benefits and Components

Freedom of education involves classes that aren’t mandatory. There are no compulsions on mandatory subjects or levels of attendance. Instead, parents understand their natural inclination and support them. Education has more impact when children aren’t learning something specific out of parental pressure.

The benefits of academic freedom extend beyond just for the professors, students, and institutions. The society also benefits from broader perspectives and improved innovations. It cultivates creative thinking and helps students to express views that they may disagree with. Faculty get to pick which teaching methods they find most effective. In turn, students are able to understand in order to draw their own conclusions 

Current Scenario of Educational Freedom

Global Public Policy Institute index on educational freedom
Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi)

This Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) index shows countries in North America, Armenia, and so on, seeing a higher educational freedom index. On the other hand, China and the UAE rank lower in the educational freedom index. The index clearly shows the need for more freedom in education across the world.

Conclusion

Human beings are quite similar anatomically. However, when it comes to learning capabilities, the differences are apparent. As such, we need an education system that can cater to different learners and learning styles. Educational freedom plays an important role here. The more freedom of choice learners have, the better they can design their future. So, a musician need not learn string theory and can focus on music theory.

Additional resources: 

https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/12/21/defining-academic-freedom

https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/Educational_Freedom_in_Eastern_Europe/hj2SNOyH9QIC?hl=en&gbpv=0