Bengaluru: An eminent scientist on Sunday, June 7 suggested a shift system in schools to prevent spread of the coronavirus and continuing with online classes with focus on project-based learning in a big way to promote creativity. Former Director General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) V K Saraswat supported the idea of online teaching in the absence of regular classes in view of closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, he said it should be organised in far better and more interactive ways so that delivery of knowledge can be better. The NITI Aayog member stressed the need for schools to have a strategy when they reopen keeping in mind the safety of students. May be they will have to organise shifts so that within the same space they can handle the students; May be they will have to employ more teachers, and they can run two shifts. "May be half the strength in a class can come in the morning and others in the afternoon. Or students of first to sixth standard can come in the morning and seventh to tenth can come in the afternoon, Saraswat told PTI. Reopening strategy will have to be worked out by the education department, added the former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister. Along with normal classes, online education should be continued as a regular system in future, and promoted in a big way because that is the way technology is going to help delivery of knowledge, he added. Saraswat also raised the pitch for reforms in the education sector, saying India is facing the problem of rote learning. Rote learning has to give way for more project-based teaching, he underlined. Children should be made to work on projects at home and that can be done online. That will also support the changeover from rote learning to creative learning. I personally believe the education delivery system -- primary, secondary and college levels -- has to be completely changed because creativity in India is less and creativity would come only if we replace rote learning with project-based learning, Saraswat said. On some academics holding the view that the marks-based model is killing the education system in India as it does not promote creativity, he said evaluation of any outcome is important. Even when we perform in our normal way, evaluation cannot be replaced. Otherwise, you cant find out how much you have succeeded in delivery. Certainly evaluation cannot be dispensed with. He did not agree with some experts, who favoured a single, uniform system for school education in India by dispensing with CBSE, ICSE and state boards. I am not for normalising everything in life. I personally believe variety should be there. This concept of one kind of a system is okay for a Communist society, society which was trying to drive everybody like a herd, he said. Creativity comes with variety, and there is nothing wrong in having different kinds of education system, but one thing which is important is we have to integrate vocational training as part of the education curriculum," Saraswat said. Vocational part cannot be kept away from the education system, he added.
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