Elementary education : As an agent of change

Mukhtar Ahmad Farooqi
Education has been the emblem of contemporary cultural and social conditions of all times. Human civilization is subject to rapid changes. Whenever thesechanges take place, elementary education (schools) play an important role to make these changes stable and acceptable to the society through education. According to the extensive changes in the society, schools also dress up anew, and play a significant role asagents of change. The role of the schools as thechange agent, particularly of a country like India whichis culturally diverse and its intricate social fabric, bound together by the common bond of the democratic ideal is unique and exemplary. Thus, for the school to promote change, it is essential, first and foremost, that the school strengthens the democratic trend of thought in its real essence. Progress and advancement through democracy cannot be achieved if individuals are inflexible and resistant to change, with fixed mind-sets and attitudes. This is where the role of the education becomes paramount. The school has to focus its efforts on the creation of well-integrated harmonious personalities to take over as the citizens of tomorrow. Through its students, the school should be able to create a mental readiness in society for a rational, scientific outlook, which is able to blend tradition and modernity for the all-round progress of the nation. The school has to gear up for the task of creating a community that accepts and adopts positive social changes in a humanistic value base which has become a challenging task in current situation that I have coined as “Techno-Moral Degradation” due to some social media apps and online games.
The school as an educational institution, should reflect the ideal picture of a society that is able to distinguish between true cultural heritage and mindless rituals, between constructive social change and destructive forces tending to kill the basic ideology and issues of human existence. When this distinctive capacity is developed in society through education, progress and advancement of civilizations become possible and feasible.
The school has been assigned the function of imparting information regarding the various disciplines related to cognitive and non-cognitive domains of learning. These domains incorporate the areas related to the learning of certain subjects for the attainment of knowledge and understanding. They also focus on the application of the acquired knowledge in real-life situation which has been the prime focus of NCF (National Curriculum Framework) 2005.
The non-cognitive areas of learning sensitise the child to various other aspects such as appreciation of art, creative aspects of one’s personality etc. The school has been stamped as a temple of learning or a centre to seek knowledge and information. Today the educationists view the school as a miniature society. According to the Secondary Education Commission, “The school no doubt, is a miniature society within the society ‘lose success, achievement and existence will depend upon the continuous and healthy interactions of the society. Therefore, education should be based on the experiences related to the problems of society and should have a close contact with the real practical problems confronting the societies and should impart such type of knowledge and provide expertise in skills and attitude-building which should develop high values in children.”
Children should be acquainted with the socio-economic set up of the society. School should have a Cooperative fellow feeling amongst its members. It should reflect the principles of a cooperative set-up of society. School should organise youth parliament so as to give an idea of political set-up of society. Though it is right to call school a miniature society, still an effort should be made to keep this miniature society away from the social evils and corruption.
Apart from the above society expects the school to perform certain functions such as: educate children according to the needs and aspirations of society , discharge its responsibility towards the education of a child, be sensitive to know the local needs of the community and their fulfilment,create an atmosphere so as to make the future members of society morally strong and better citizens, help children in adopting the cultural traditions of the society, help children develop self-confidence and self-reliance, assume leadership in eradicating social evil and act as a centre of social life.
Duties of Society towards Education
No doubt a teacher is the pivot in whole scheme of things but there are certain duties of society towards making education as a change age which does not conclude just by opening a school. The society is responsible for the all-round development of its individuals. Hence, there are certain functions for which the society should take the responsibility, such as:-provide suggestions for timely and needful change in school curriculum as per the changes in social trends, make the school aware of the needs of society, monitor the efficiency of the school functioning system for better output, direct attention towards moral education, encourage development of values like spirit of humanity, cooperation, politeness, patience,liberalism and tolerance, make a school aware of the social evils which may help to eradicate evils like blackmarketing, dishonesty, etc., to help a school in developing aesthetic sense in children by keeping good hygienic conditions in the surrounding, areas.
No society can progress without good schools and so schools are to be established, properly nurtured and taken care of by the society.At the same time schools have to take up the lead to bring remarkable changes in the society through proper education of children (in some cases they may be first generation learners) which may lead to the progress and welfare of the society.
The above illustration supports the fact that child is and should be the main focus of attention for school and society. The school has to encourage educational endeavours for all round development of the child and to bring out the innate potentialities of the child. At the same time the responsibility of society is to contribute to safeguarding and inculcation of good democratic values of life in children thereby upholding its objective of being an agent of change.