Schools in Changing Times: A Framework for Innovation in School, beyond Studies
In a country like India, changes in the society are taking place at a very fast pace. Some of these changes include disintegration of joint family system due to rapid industrialization and urbanization, extreme competitiveness due to globalization, and increasing influence of media and information technology. These fast and pervasive changes are putting immense pressure on schools, children and their families. As a result, incidence of several negative behaviour among children like, attempted suicide, aggression and violence , extreme apathy and incidence of psychosomatic illness have increased. Children graduate from school, often with high grades, without having a healthy sense of self or being connected with the community. Present study describes initiatives of selected schools across the country, which have endeavored to overcome this by providing an opportunity to children for engaging in activities relating to self-development, cooperation instead of competition, concern for environment and community engagement resulting in a positive outlook towards life. These innovative activities are conducted in respective schools either at ‘individual teacher or class level’, or ‘at the school level’. This has been accomplished without reducing the extent of classroom learning by reorganizing the school structure and processes, reorienting the priorities regarding timing for study and co-curricular activities thereby expanding the range of children’s experience in school in a constructive manner. Based on these findings a framework for innovation is proposed which is not just about ‘classroom learning’ but focuses on the holistic development and promotes learning for life. It also underscores the need for looking at innovations in schools beyond academics which can either be implemented in an ‘incremental’ or in a ‘discontinuous’ manner, encompassing the whole institution or a part of it. Implications of this framework for school leaders, practitioners and policy makers are discussed.
Keywords: Innovations in School, Responding to Change in Society, Holistic Development
Dr. Rajeev Sharma
Associate Professor, Ravi J.Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation, Indian Institute of Management