Education has completely flipped in the past decades ever since it has been identified as the creator of the knowledge economy and not just as a job provider. Schools may no longer be, as some of us remember from our childhood, like a 7am to 3pm structured on-campus learning. In fact, each day in my education journey throws a new realization at my face of how the teaching-learning experience is transforming with time. Last two decades the world has seen revolutionary changes with newer demands that have led to a paradigm shift in education too. The transition from education 1.0, which was solely based on rote learning, to the reproduction of education 4.0, focusing on empowerment and innovation can now be seen fulfilling the demands of the 21st century skill sets like – collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking.
Despite the cataclysmic repercussions of the pandemic, this global disaster has also provided an exceptional opportunity for learning. According to a survey conducted by Instituto Peninsula in Brazil, 83 percent of teachers do not believe themselves to be equipped to teach remotely, 67 per cent are concerned, 38 per cent are fatigued, and less than ten per cent are happy or satisfied. The pandemic has hence underlined the importance of adaptability.
The adaptability and resilience to the virtual world has established itself beyond doubt for the educational system including policymakers, instructors and students. With the integration of technology in every area, the education system of the twenty-first century has radically transformed. Because of the pandemic, two critical things have transformed. First, pedagogical changes have proven critical, as traditional in-person lecturing techniques do not translate to the new learning environment. Second, the pandemic has shifted how instructors disburse their time between teaching, interacting with students, and administrative chores. Teachers must recognize that today’s kids are members of Generation Z and Generation Alpha. These two generations have grown up with access to enormous amounts of technology.
And this is where a 21st-century teacher enters. The one who knows how to carve their path as an orchestrator of knowledge and wisdom and not just as a dispenser of information.
A recent survey analysis of the education sector reveals that there are approximately 85 million teachers worldwide: 9.4 million in pre-primary education, 30.3 million in primary education, 18.1 in lower secondary school, 14.0 in upper secondary education, and 12.5 in university education. These numbers should be enough to convince the authorities that they should be investing in the training of the torchbearers of society; the educators of the nation.
According to UDISE 2019-20, only one out of every four teachers in India have been trained to operate a computer for instructional purposes. In government schools, the proportion of such teachers was significantly lower. In India, just 15% of government school instructors were educated to use and teach with a computer, compared to 30% and 31% of teachers in government-aided and private schools, respectively. These eye-opening figures should be enough to help us realize the grave need of integrating technology in our teaching methodologies and classrooms.
I have always resonated with George Curos’ philosophy that ‘Technology will not replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers can be transformational’ Teachers are innately inclined to pour into the souls of students and help them become the best version of themselves. As today’s generation is well-versed with technological developments, it becomes all the more necessary for teachers to upskill themselves and reform their teaching methodologies with the latest computational tools.
Hence, in conclusion, today’s educators must be inquiring, adaptable, and forward-thinking in order to provide students with the skills they will require in fifty years. It is pivotal that authorities understand the value of well-structured teacher training programs that are in sync with global teaching and learning standards. Teacher development programs should be highlighted in the curriculum because they have a significant impact on student’s performance and growth.
We owe it to our teachers, students, and country to guarantee that our teachers have the necessary training and ongoing support to educate pupils for the twenty-first century.