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Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam View on Creative Education


It is more about motivation, than money. Its not only about 100% education,it is about the right kind of education. If we release the locked potential in every child, there is nothing that India cannot achieve. BY A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM

"Creativity leads to thinking, Thinking provides knowledge knowledge makes you great"

INDIA is heralded as the land of opportunity and considered among the emergent economies of the 21st century. The greatest strength of the nation is its youth force of 600 million. If they were to stand alone, they would form the 3rd largest nation in the world. How they are shaped by education will determine the next chapter of the India story.

Of this huge youth army, I have met as many as 13 million youth in a decade's time. I have learnt, "Every young person wants to be unique. But the world all around is doing its best, day and night, to make each of them just like everybody else". At home, they are asked by their parents to be like the neighbours' children in scoring good marks. When they go to school, the teacher says "Why don't you become like the first five rankers in the cass?" Wherever they go, the refrain is the same. "You have to be somebody else or like everybody else."

This is because education per se is not enough. If we aim at 100% Shiksha, it has to be the right kind of shiksha, good schools that nurture a child's uniqueness. Only then can each child realize its own potential.

These are high ideals, but they are not beyond our grasp. The key, as we keep repeating, is 100% shikha will be just an empty numbers game.

What would the right schooling enable? In creating individuals capable of rising to their full potential, it is important for the education system, both in school and at home, to grar itself towards nutuning creativity and confidence in youth. The confidence that "I Can do it".

Let me now discuse the composition of the creative cassroom which is the foundation for evolving great learning.

I have always liked to sit in a class. Always when I visit schools and colleges in India and abroad, I like to see, how the teacher teachers and how students interact. Recently, I was in Andhra Pradesh, in a one-teacher school which went only up to Class V. I was with the students in the evening at 7 pm in an outdoor class with the full moon shining above them. Later I realized that the outdoor call had a purpose as visualized by the teacher. The teacher was teaching how children can be always happy? He asked, "Dear children do you see the full moon, the beautiful scene in the sky which brings smiles and cheers all round? Remember, When you smile the whole family also smiles. How many of you will want to keep your parents happy?" The whole class lifted their hands; they said they would do it. I also raised my hand along wwith the Class V students. Then the surprise came. The teacher said, "The moon is the natural satellite of planet earth,"

She continued, "Dear childere, can anyone of you tell me what is the name of the artificial satellite which our ISRO has launched around the earth?" Only one boy responded that ISRO had launched the Rohini satellite. Then the teacher converted the class into a moon laboratory. She drew the first day of the moon. Then the second day, third day etc. She said, "Today is the 15th day, which is why you are seeing the full moon radiating beautiful light."

When she asked the next question; "From where does the moon get its light?" there was no reply at all. the teacher herself answered that the moon gets the light from the sun.

It was a noe-teacher class, but i enjoyed it immensely. I was particularty astonished by the foresight of the teacher in organizing the class on full moon day and then converting the moon into a practical teaching tool. This is the right kind of shiksha that we talk about.

Here's another experience. During my visit to UAE, I inaugurated an Indian school named JSS International School, Dubai. When the preparation was going on for ther naugural function, I was moving from place to place in the school, particularly visiting class rooms where a large number of students from class V and Class VI where being taught by a teacher. As soon as the teacher saw me, she asked me to take the class.

I went to the black board and started interacting with the students instead of loading them with lessons. I asked the children, how many planets does our sun (star) have? Many hands went up. One girl said, there are nine planets and some students said, there are eight planets. I said the right answer is eight planets, since the ninth planet Pluto has been removed from the list of planets because it does not meet the criteria of a planet, in size weight and orbital motion.

I asked one student, "Tell me which is our planet?" There was a chorus of answers, "Earth". I then called for a volunteer to talk about the earth. One Class VI student got up and said, "Our earth rotates on its own axis." Others added that it takes 24 hours for one orbit and that's how we get day and night. I was very plessed with the knowledge of the young on the solar system.

Then I asked the class, "What does the earth do?" There was pin drop silence. Again a Class V student said, "The earth orbits around the sun." My next question was, "How much time does it take to complete one orbit?" Many hands went up. But when I asked to which galaxy the sun belonged; Only one boy responded, "Milky Way". How much time does our sun take for one orbit of our Galaxy?" No response of course, it is difficult. I gave the answer "200 million years" The children gasped in surprise.

I went on to explain the unique features of our galaxy. And then I greeted them and left. I am giving you these examples to illustrate how students can be encouraged to be creative. It doesn't take a fancy school; it takes an innovative and motivated teacher. Worthy efforts at creating the right scholastic atmosphere will find and adopt several methods to make the class dynamic and creative.

In conclusion I would like to emphasize. Nuture Imagination and Creativity What is the unique nature of the minds of discoverers and inventors? Their contributions have emanated from creative minds that have been constantly effort, all the forcess of the universe work for that inspired mind, thereby leading to inventions or discoveries. Teachers have to love teaching and have the capacity to nurture creative minds and imagining minds. Similarly, parents need to think of a child's capability to be reflected beyond just marks and objectively defined criteria. These are the kind of creative schools that all our efforts towards achieving universal education must aim at 100% shiksha must also be the right kind of shiksha. And that's no rocket Science.

"Every young person wants to be unique. But the world all around is doing its best, day and night, to make each of them just like everybody else."