India is a vast country, the second largest land of population explosion, suffering from a dreadful disease of indigence and poverty.
India is an agricultural country with rural base, inhabited mostly by land-based villagers and other small scale workers.
Barring certain groups of rich agriculturistsâ€”who have flourished through cooperative farmingâ€” people are generally poor and moderately fed.
The section of people living below the poverty line are manual labourers, daily wage earners and others who live mostly in more or less starved condition. To go in search of food is their day’s work. They survive in terms of no-work-no- food basis.
Their life is characterised by hunger, poverty, lack of shelter, dearth of minimum clothing to protect the body from varying weathers, absence of any medical help, absence of the basic necessities of life and living.
Even their survival is a big question mark. They face frequent child death, incurable diseases and adopt various sorts of malpractices just to survive. Therefore, education is a misnomer for them and for their children. For a hungry man food and not education is a must.
The people of this country have been socio-economically divided into three major social classesâ€”the poor, the middle class and the rich. The poor class live through manual labour or through the development of one skill which is handed over from generation to generation. Therefore, education for them is mostly informal, imitative and hereditarily acquired.
They need no special training as the same method has been repeated day by day. Sometimes they use sophisticated tools, if necessary and found useful. However, they are also conscious about the new machines which are helpful and are self- educated through mass communication programmes of television and other media.
This is how now they are familiar with the mechanization process, with the corresponding advancement of global technology. So a kind of indirect education has gradually crept in at the rural level.
The rich and middle class people are mainly service- oriented and industry dependent for earning their livelihood. It is these two social classes who enjoy the benefits of formal education. But the overall picture of the social class structure of India reflects that Indian population in majority are land cultivators, because India is primarily an agricultural country and even many of the industries in India are agro-based.
A major portion of Indian population is rural; they live in villages, mostly in mud houses or some in pucca buildings (those who are comparatively wealthier) and are provided by agricultural crops.
As agriculture is weather-bound many people who thrive on it stay without any earning when the crop season is over. They need other jobs during the interim gap periods and in the resultant lean months they work mainly as manual labourers.
Some of them who have some extra savings try to run rural shops to provide them. It is this class who send their children to school to get at least some sort of formal education which would help their business and trade. All of them have their roots in villages and visit urban areas only when necessaryâ€”either for some temporary work or for some small projects, just as a stop-gap measure.
The urban life and culture is totally different. A large portion of upper and middle class people are engulfed by the urbanized culture. They receive school and higher education and run mainly after salaried jobs in offices and industries. These jobs are work-oriented and demand general education of a moderate standard.
They live in the cities, and small towns and moderately big townships, receive school education compulsorily. They constitute the middle-class group as a whole. The aim of their learning is to equip themselves to get a handsome salaried job in order to provide themselves and their families.
This urban section of middle-class youth comprise the population who attend formal education centers and training institutions, with the sole ambition of getting a secure job.
As the social opportunities vary, the institutionalized training continually undergo changes as regards their aims and objectives, organization and management methods and procedures, evaluation and application of the products they produce. They also vary as time and, technology change, as new research results are handed over and come into operation and as scientific investigations advance.
Gradually from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century, educational system witnessed the ushering in of the factory idea in schools and equated schooling with industrial and commercial work culture.
The students coming out of their schools are like factory products. All educated youths who somehow climb over the high steps of the institutionalized ladder and acquire the general degreeâ€”a passport to enter serviceâ€”are considered competent to fit in the offices and factories, industrial enterprises and educational institutions and can avail of the salaried jobs plus security.
But the problem remains, since the jobs available are far shorter than the number of people considered fit for them. The inevitable consequence is unemployment and its disastrous appearance. Moreover, at present the rural youths have also started qualifying themselves to be included to swim in the same stream, making the problem more acute.
This has become the frightening picture of unemployed, frustrated youths of industrial society which has taken the place of agricultural life style in India.
Employment for all is the cry of the day in our country. Employment for every youth is a democratic right too. Nevertheless, increasing unemployment has become a major problem all over the world, but not as acute as in the developing countries.
Our education system has also been framed in such way that it feeds the need. The ultimate aim of our young people today is to find out a salaried job and remain satisfied with it. There ends all education. Youths today are least bothered about the broad-based aims of education of making a complete man or building a wholesome personality.
With the advancement of technology of twentieth century, more and more industries were being set up changing the status of the socio-economy of the country as well as the educational systems. A strong bond has been established between commercial work and education.
Hence education has become all the more service-oriented and not total. Young generation of the twenty-first century will face more of unemployment with increasing population and less job opportunities due to more sophisticated mechanization.
In order to tackle this problem, a change in attitude in planning educational system will be necessary. The aims of education in this context cannot remain restricted to the attainment of a specific qualification fit to be utilized in industries or commercial office establishments, i.e. attaining a specific standard. It should take the role of a guide and cannot be utilized only as a means of livelihood.
Education is modification of behaviour of man. It is a way of life and living. Therefore, it cannot have a short term aim only. Education is a life-long process, a continuous affair. It shapes a man and the scientific treatment of education helps in the vital process of man-making. Scientific attitude, scientific research and their successful application in educational procedures have earned attention of the educational scientists.
As a result, classrooms came to be treated as scientific laboratories, where plans, methods and curriculum have been experimented upon. Their endeavour produced specialised and skilled work force necessary for the new era of industrialization.
The work-force of a country who push the country forward towards advancement is the product of the country’s educational system. Therefore, the necessity arises to reconsider the philosophy and psychology of education; to throw new light into its present state and to its future purposes, tasks, liabilities, responsibilities and ability.
Now that the country is entering into a new century presently, and a worldwide change is in the offingâ€”as evident from the sudden jump from democracy to technocracyâ€”the think tanks of educational system are somewhat confused as to setting new aims of education.
They again are looking back to the democratic values and emphatically announce that the general purpose of education is to reshape the ‘behaviour’ of the young generation of the twenty-first century in such manner that they fit into today’s advanced technological societyâ€”a post-industrial world societyâ€”but, at the same time, do not lose their democratic and national characteristics and values.
Modern education system has not reacted only at the national level but has extended to the international spheres. The world has come in a closer circuit and the young generation is eager for advancement, are ambitious and aspire for self-development, along with the country’s socio-economic progress.
They are self-actualized persons trying to put effort for technological advance, face global competition, emphasizing efficiency in work.
They need planned, education providing opportunities to be able to fight against all the odds of the competitive world. The parents today want their children to be achievement-motivated, to have hope of success and fear of failure.
This is the group who are concerned with the students’ test score and academic brilliance. But, in spite of these motivations the work-culture in our country is showing a downward curve. People are aspirant, but lazy to put active effort and lack competitive zeal.
Some think that this is the consequence of our industrialization, where active participation is not essential and passive mechanization leads to withdrawal of effort from the person concerned, thereby staking decisionâ€”making and problemâ€”solving which are essential for participating actively in the technological society of modern time. This is the beginning of the post-industrial era, a transition in the history of civilization and culture.
This period finger points towards a new turn, a new look into the existing cultural ethos, revival of democratic values with modifications in a very sophisticated mechanical age. So the entire educational system needs to be reshuffled, needs setting new aims, objectives, new planning, considerable thinking and new management.
Education now onward will not only be imparted with remote control device but will be an involvement of the participants in planning, programming and executing.
This is a cultural-cum-educational revolution, not only at the national level but world over. A change in the outlook has already appeared in the horizon a management stance, a professionalism to be practised in the field of education. It is essential not only in work places but also in educational institutions.
Every country, in the present state of affairs needs a better educated flexible work force capable of continual learning. Equally important is that the country needs work places that value those traits and put them to use. Complex changes are going on in our work and schooling. Therefore, organizational innovations are necessary if both the institutions are to regain their competitive edge.
The advent of modern sophisticated technology has placed us at a critical juncture where it is no longer enough to teach students and train workers to perform well on standardized tests and tasks or set examinations. What is needed in both the office and in the classroom is a new system of management and learning, a pragmatic outlook, changed attitude and a new interest and motivation.
Now is the time that instead of being passively dependent on machine, which we have to, a system has to be introduced which draws upon and teaches skills in abstract thinking, experimental inquiry and collaborative problem solving.
By replacing top-down bureaucratic prescription with a participative interactive approach that has its roots in our democratic tradition and values we have to re-plan the education system for the coming days so that the system can create a highly skilled work force of decision makers and problem solvers, able to think abstractly but positively and adapt to change.
At this juncture, we cannot afford to stick to the earlier policy of appropriating others’ prescribed principlesâ€”without testing their utilityâ€”in our educational endeavour. Today we have to search the policies which would help us to create productive work force that will enable our country to compete with Western as well as Eastern developed countries and other developing Asian nations.
Conventional wisdom suggests that we need to raise student test scores at least to a level on par with those of the students from the countries that are our competitors.
This simple solution has become dogma embodied in a wide range of the commissions and reports available from different governmental meets, from time to time. The decisions at the educational level has been taken with an eye to the economic policy actions adopted. That has again established a strong relationship between the pupils and work force so that they meet the national demand.
A few years later the topic and the proposed solutions become rather stale and uninspiringâ€”especially when the world order is changing so fast. The world is geared up for the 21st century. It is clear now that we are well into a new post- industrial era marked by the computer communication revolution, a competitive world market and specters of severe ecological damage.
The centralized control system of scientific management, that once dominated the industrial era work, and have spilled over to influence schools, was becoming dysfunctional for meeting turbulent change of the computer/ electronic era. Some leaders in the industry and education were beginning to recognize that we need alternatives to beurocratic centralism in order to be more creative in dealing with rapid change.
Hence is the cry for privatization, liberalization, entrepreneurship type of management, to enable individuals to exhibit their creativity, ability for decision-making and precision and proficiency in problem-solving. This fact is also evident when we compare the government managed schools with those privately managedâ€”the qualitative difference cannot be overlooked.
Therefore, the alternative is liberalization or autonomy within limitation in imparting education.
The aim of education is to promote positive motivation, to give a psychological boost to constructive thinking, to combine certain values from our historical and democratic tradition with the power of electronic technology.
The age, which our children are passing through, is a confusion for their parents though they know fully well that the ‘old order changed, yielding place to new’. But a high jump from democracy to technocracy is for them a ‘crisis for human spirit’â€”a shift from brain process to computer process.
But all educationists know that as a dynamic process, education keeps pace with life, growth and development of the community and is altered both by changes imposed on it from without and by transformation in its internal structure and intellectual development.
However, in spite of the transformation, the basis of education is a general consciousness of the values which govern human life, its historyâ€”the change of value system affects the current values within the community.
Values can mean both “end-state values”, as well as “values- as-means” and when applied in education the first one highlights aim and the second method. As education is inclusive of training and development and improvement of skill the aim signifies the essence and the method signifies the practice to attain Education helps a man not only to ‘be’ but to ‘become’ through value orientation which is culture-specific. But culture-specific values are not unrelated with universal values.
The universal values, infiltrate into different cultures but retain the same unitary character of the transcultural level which gives a parity between different cultural values. So it is the value-as-means which is important in education as it is the applied form of education which goes by the name training.
It is through training that the innate behaviour of man is being modified to fit into a given culture, its work situations and in the formation of the ethos of that cultureâ€”both subjectively and objectively.
As education of the coming century emphasizes the increased productivity both qualitatively and quantitatively, work and education internationally now conform the challenge of a series of inter-connected global changes.
A few of the evidences are:
(1) The computer/electronic revolution that is pushing us into a post-industrial society
(2) The emergence of a competitive global market and fields of work
(3) An ecological crisis resulting from our careless treatment of the natural and human environments
(4) Change of attitude in family relationships and child rearing e.g. (a) home vs creche, (b) family vs nursery, (c) active vs passive attention towards children, (d) disciplined vs free social sanction
(5) Communication revolution
(6) The emerging centralized office vs office-cum-residence concept etc.
The kind of responses need to be made will be determined by the educationally oriented policy that should be taken to cope with the turbulent change of electronic era. It means making a second major cultural change within the hundred year period just ending.
In 1900 we were moving rapidly from a rural agricultural India to an urban, corporate industrial society till the middle of this century. In 2000 we are moving swiftly from factory industrialism to computer driven post- industrialism and high-tech society.
Therefore, education has now to be changed from its hierarchical, bureaucratic control system, where “thinking and authority were reserved for technical/administrative cum managerial experts who broke instruction and production into minute prescribed tasks, while people at work were reduced to programmed performances under supervision.
Eventually the hierchical style conflicted with such values as equal worth and dignity of persons, the chance to participate as an active subject rather than a mere object, the chance to use one’s distinctive capacities to learn, think and grow”.
The central feature of this corporate industrialism known as Taylorism a method in the history of management was the system of technocratic control over the less educated workers whose energies were to be welded to the relentless rhythms of ‘assembly-line production’â€”another model borrowed from industry. But as the time changes Taylorist efficiency is becoming dysfunctional for meeting challenges of the new era.
Therefore, a new leadership involving a combination of participative values with computer technology is needed to make our education more competitive by releasing creativity and competent decision-making ability and, thereby, improving the quality of life in work and schools. But it also involves a change in the nature and locus of power.
As against the changing world order, the economic growth and social change in India (to cope with the changed order) when economic productivity and the quality of education cannot be separated, we, at the same time, must recognize that human resources are more important than the physical ones.
That a work force educated simply on “old school basis” will not be equipped for meeting the challenges of a turbulent change-a change of attitudes would be a crucial factor.
The strong trend now is towards participative work systemâ€”an ‘informative type’â€”as the term used in industry management. The informating strategy helps tapping higher human capacities for communicating/collaborating, creating novel situations and “making value judgements as well as giving people in the work place access to relevant information so that they can become active agents in trouble shooting, suggesting innovations and making decisions and consequent functional efficiency.”
If we follow this strategy in the functioning of educational psychology, it will yield desirable result as it provides a framework of learning where people can experience participatory and creative ability to come into operation.
In the informative type system, the learners in the schoolâ€”like employees in the production category â€”will be able to perform “a broad range of tasks, maintaining their own quality control and other participatory activities like goal setting, budgeting, problem solving and decision making so that work is performed by self-directed teams leading towards sophistication and sharpening of skills”.
Twenty-first century educational strategies will be “nothing less than revolution in the role of the teacher and the management of schools” as reported by CED (Committee for the Economic Development, 1985) of U.S.A.
The new educational policy of the coming years of technological sophistication is bound to focus on individualization of all the agencies-individual school, individual teacher and individual learner to make room for meaningful improvement in quality and productivity. The ‘informate’, rather than ‘automate’ model would be more workable to open up decentralized system leading to liberalized education for all.
Education should cater to the needs of higher order learning to think critically, analytically, to cooperate and communicate as well as to complete and to solve problems, to assume responsibilities and ‘to learn to learn’.
The output measures are to be conducted, teacher effectiveness in the autonomy to be provided, and creativity assessed. For students, collaborative learning, divergent thinking and acquisition of higher order conceptual skills using symbolic analysis, the ability to handle complexity with constructive abstract analysis and, above all, the ability to communicate and collaborate by means of new technology and dialogue is the need of the post-industrial society of the coming century.
Here comes the role of psychology in controlling educational issues. Psychology provides the insight about the individual learner. As the issues, goals, methods, aids, curricula and the students bodies in the society change, innovations in psychology offer a boost to welcome the transition and trim the blue-print prescribed.
Modern educational psychology contains the changed mood of the individual student and his environment and is concerned about issues like coding, creativity, mechanically devised educational aids, about effects of reinforcement and feed-back, instructional innovations, open classroom and open universities, bilingual teaching (English and regional language), computers and so on which are making learning activities far more diversified, offering teachers far more options.
Considering all the issues, one unified principle underlies all learning activities’ where psychology comes to help immensely even in the restructurized organization of school system. While offering new stances in the organization of education for the forthcoming change these basic traditional principles have to be considered in learning situations:
Behaviour is Purposive:
In each act, one sees a sequence of interpretation, provisional trial and response to consequences. Whenever the person actively engages himself in a problematic situation, learning occurs.
Development is Cumulative:
Social demands set developmental tasks for the person at each age. These generate needs that provide the core of motivation to learn.
Mental Ability is Achieved:
“Intelligence” is simply behaviour in which concepts, techniques and attitudes, working together, enable the person to cope with what is unfamiliar. Transfer value is the chief criterion for judging instruction.
These three principles constitute the basic structure of educational psychology of the future. Therefore, the essential step in the struggle to restructure education involves a convergence of new attitude towards time and with new attitudes towards action.
In spite of the fact that our traditional culture has been subjected to intense and prolonged bombardment of technological, social and psychological changes and that the change is accelerating, we witness everywhere in the hi-tech society evidence that the old industrial era structure can no longer cope with futurism of tomorrow, yet the basic human structure remains the same.
Even in the super-industrial civilization, child development follows the same pattern only in a changed social order. In this situation the teacher is to select what kind of human abilities, skills and growth patterns need to be encouraged in students to enable him to be a creative problem-solver and decision-maker in the restructured organization.
Psychology has great deal to offer in the study and teaching of the future. As time advances, mode of living advances, international relations deepens, change occurs in human life. Therefore, time and change are inextricably linked and affects human minds.
Thus even in many of the core concerns of psychology, such as child development, including personality development, growth and maturation, motivation and learning, abilities and skillâ€”all dealing with processual thinking, a time perspective that includes past, present and future, the change of attitude is enormous.
There remain a need to shift time perspective more towards future with an anchor in the past and present; to develop an epistemology to take account of the openness, uncertainty and problematic of the future, and to broaden the psychological concern with the meaning of human life.
The dominant style of behaviouristic psychology of 1950s may turn out to be “a narrow, artificial and relatively sterile approach to the understanding of men. Human Sapien is not simply another animal. Nor are we machines, nor are we static”.
A major task of psychology is to help humans learn how to learn and how to discover, and perhaps to help expand, the human potentials dynamically. Modern life-oriented education starts in an individual’s life right from the school age.
Therefore, school is the starting point in continuing the journey of education. There the teachers play the pivotal role in developing student’s knowledge of the world, of the life and their ways of understanding and adjusting with it.
By doing so the teachers develop their own “personal educational psychology” consisting of reality-based understanding of the how and why of human behaviour, which, in turn, facilitates intellectual and social growth, development of ego- strength and all-round developed personality of the students.
The personal psychology will also help developing and understanding of the psychological realities of teaching and learning.
This book, therefore, is more than a text book of educational psychology. It lays emphasis on progressive, pragmatic and futuristic education through better understanding of psychological foundations of education.
It is hoped that the teachers, parents and others who are interested in building the children of the twenty-first century in a changed life style, may receive some knowledge about a sound understanding of the psychology of growth and development, the ways in which learning take place, what the basic aptitudes, abilities and skills are and the effects of the personal and social environment for learning, personality development and teaching the new generation.