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Nehru Joshi: Learning extends far beyond textbooks and classrooms

Nehru Joshi: Learning extends far beyond textbooks and classrooms

Nehru Joshi is the program coordinator at Genius IB World School. ApEx talked to her about Nepal’s education system, students and teaching-learning process and more. 

How can we create a more children-friendly learning environment in schools? 

The notion of education has significantly evolved beyond the traditional confines of textbook-centric learning. We're currently witnessing an exhilarating transformation phase within our education system, where learning extends far beyond the pages of textbooks and four walls of a classroom. Today’s education models are child-friendly and immersive, focusing on holistic development, hands-on experiences, and real-world application. We’re integrating technology into our classrooms, not just for the sake of using gadgets, but to make learning interactive, engaging, and relevant. We focus increasingly on experiential learning—taking learners outside the traditional settings to learn through experience.This approach encourages creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, ensuring learners are not merely carrying book bags, but are actively engaging with the knowledge and skills necessary for the 21st century. It’s an exciting time for education, as we ensure that every child feels supported, challenged, and inspired in our education system, not just academically but in all facets of their development.

What are the ways to make our education more practical oriented? 

Integrating hands-on learning experiences, applying real-world contexts, and fostering interdisciplinary learning within educational curriculums are crucial steps toward making education more applicable and engaging for learners. Such an approach not only cultivates critical thinking and problem-solving skills but also encourages learners to analyze and understand concepts deeply. By adopting inquiry-based learning, we can encourage learners to examine context from both local and global perspectives. This engagement helps become a lifelong learner and fosters an international-mindedness. This educational method facilitates engagement with complex issues beyond traditional subject boundaries, potentially improving academic outcomes.

 There are views that private sector education is too expensive and so they should be converted into public schools. What are your views on it? 

Private-sector education, while often associated with higher costs, plays a crucial role in the broader educational ecosystem. One of the core strengths of private schools is their ability to provide highly personalized education. This is due in part to smaller class sizes, which enable teachers to engage more deeply with each student, understanding their unique learning styles, challenges, and strengths. Moreover, private schools often have the flexibility to adopt innovative teaching methods and pedagogies. This agility allows them to adapt to the latest educational research and technological advancements, offering students a relevant and forward-thinking education that prepares them for the complexities of the modern world. In addition, the diverse extracurricular programs contribute to the holistic development of students. These programs, ranging from performing arts, mental and emotional wellness, visual arts, design and technology to sports and beyond, are essential for nurturing well-rounded individuals who excel not only in their academic pursuits but also in their personal growth.

In Nepal, where education is a pivotal element for development, the partnership between private and public schools can be particularly impactful. Private institutions can bring in their expertise in curriculum development, teacher training, and the integration of technology in education. This synergy can help uplift the overall quality of education, making it more accessible and inclusive. Such partnerships can serve as a bridge, ensuring that the advantages of private education are not confined to those who can afford it but are extended to a wider population, ultimately strengthening Nepal’s education system.

Do you agree that SEE should be canceled? 

My perspective is that while standardized assessments have their place in evaluating certain academic achievements, they shouldn’t be the sole measure of a child’s progress or potential. The real essence of education extends far beyond what can be captured in a standardized test. We’re preparing students not just academically but for life, which involves a myriad of skills and attributes that standardized tests simply cannot assess. Instead, we should prioritize ongoing assessment strategies that monitor a child’s holistic development, including language proficiency, interpersonal skills, creative thinking, critical thinking, emotional skills, and problem-solving abilities. This approach recognizes and nurtures the diverse strengths and challenges of each child, offering continuous feedback for timely support. It respects the fact that learning is a process, not a destination, and that each child progresses through this process at their own pace and in their own way. Unlike standardized tests that capture a mere snapshot, ongoing assessments provide a comprehensive view of a child’s capabilities, fostering well-rounded individuals ready to face complexities with confidence.

There are preparations to keep school education under the local government, is it justifiable?

In my opinion, decentralizing education to keep it under local government control can significantly contribute to country development and economic growth by tailoring education to local needs, cultures, and economic conditions. This approach allows for more agile implementation of educational programs, closer quality assurance, and more effective monitoring of outcomes. By involving local communities in decision-making, it not only enhances democracy in education but also ensures that educational strategies are more aligned with local priorities, which can lead to increased relevance and effectiveness of education. This relevance can drive better educational outcomes, leading to the local economic context, thereby stimulating economic growth. Moreover, local control can foster innovation in teaching methods and curriculum design, as local authorities can more easily experiment and innovate based on immediate feedback and results, contributing further to the overall development of the country’s education system.