Ancient Indian Education, in many ways, seems to have anticipated the modern-day instruction idiom. Some of their ideas, which have stood the test of time, are worth adopting, with adaptations, when formulating India’s #NewEducationPolicy. Today I would like to discuss the concept of Sravana-Manana-Nididhyasana.
Listening to what is taught (sravana), reflecting on the meaning of what one has imbibed so as to acquire an intelligent understanding of what one has heard, read and discussed (manana), and contemplating on what one has learnt, to apply the learning or make connections with experience (nididhyasana) are compulsory steps to make a student’s learning complete. Present-day schooling, with its crowded syllabus that demands a choc-a-bloc academic calendar allows little room for manana and nididhyasana. Consequently, learning is facile and fleeting, far from the holistic and meaningful experience that education is meant to be.
One way to rectify this situation is by adopting a new curricular approach that is choice-based and credit-based, and also freeing evaluation from the constrict of testing for scholarship only through a written exam in academic or bookish knowledge. There should be room, instead, for a student to be tested for skills of multiple kinds: oral, written, presentation, acting, debating, in-class participation, raising questions, etc. A re-think on the tyranny of grades and marks and substituting it with a credit-based system, akin to that adopted in many institutes of advanced learning could be an option. This would automatically translate into cogitation and absorption of learning, and make institutionalised learning less mind-numbing and more meaningful.