The Importance of Holistic Education in a Dynamic World
By - Dr Amrita Vohra, Principal of GIIS Chinchwad
It would be foolish to believe that the creative and academic capacity of a child can be confined to the four walls of a classroom. Rather than incentivising free thought and creativity, this old model of education has instead created a space of rote learning, or ‘mugging up’ as it is called, where the love for learning and practical applications of knowledge are pushed aside. Perhaps even more alarmingly, traditional education systems have consistently failed to keep up with the rapid advancement of technology, and as a result, many Indian students simply do not have the skills required for the jobs of tomorrow. In India today, 60% of all engineering graduates are unemployable, despite an economic boom, and the country being in the midst of a massive skill gap, that business leaders across the board admit is only getting worse. So where did it all go wrong?
Holistic education, a philosophy which emphasises the importance of experiential learning, is the answer to the imminent crisis facing the Indian education system and economy. It has several key advantages of traditional education, especially in a world as dynamic as the one we are living in today. Here are a few aspects all parents should strongly consider enrolling their children in schools that follow the holistic education model as opposed to more traditional academic systems:
Holistic education fosters an atmosphere of creativity and a culture of thinking outside the box, from a very young age. Once the habit of being a lateral thinker is properly inculcated into the mind of a child, there is little that can hold them back. With AI and machine learning algorithms making traditional, repetitive white collar jobs obsolete, the only careers which are safe (for now) are those which involve creativity rather than analytical thinking.
The main reason why traditional education has failed students is because it fails to give them the intellectual tools required to translate their bookish knowledge into real-world results. For example, a student may know that Speed = distance/ time, but unless he’s able to use that knowledge to figure out how to create a train schedule or chart the course of an airplane, it is worthless. Holistic education focuses strongly on ensuring that students actually get to experience the theories they are learning in the form of experiments, exercises, and demonstrations, thereby eliminating this crucial disconnect.
Under the system of Holistic education, scholastic and co-scholastic activities are justly blended to contribute to students’ wholesome development. It helps develop their cognitive processes and traits to facilitate learning by increasing their attention and retention ability. Furthermore, while traditional academic programmes are focused solely or in large part on book learning, holistic education focuses on a multitude of factors that make for a well-rounded individual. This includes soft skills, life skills, sports, exercise, public speaking, communication, and presentation. The ability to effectively communicate and present thoughts and ideas is arguably one of the most vital skills an individual requires to navigate not just the corporate world, but life in general. Traditional education in India has largely ignored the idea of teaching students how to effectively operate their ideas, and this puts them at a severe disadvantage in a competitive workspace, especially when compared to their peers abroad.
Holistic education emphasises on the importance of finding new ways to do things, unlike traditional systems that are more inclined to teach tried and tested methods. This contributes to a culture of problem-solving, where students are naturally empowered to find smarter, faster, or cheaper solutions to contemporary issues. If the last few years have shown us anything, it is that innovation is the key to success of any individual, company, or country. The tech revolution in India and the success of companies like Zomato, Flipkart, and Ola among others are a testament to how a single individual with an idea can transform a country’s habits. While traditional education breeds employees and professionals, holistic education breads innovators, entrepreneurs, and job creators.
Traditional education has been largely static over the last few decades, ignorant of the rapidly changing pace of technology. Holistic education on the other hand, focuses strongly on acclimatising students to the latest innovations, and several institutions now have programmes that familiarise students with contemporary technology like 3-D printing, block-chain, and virtual reality. It prepares students for the world of today, not the world of thirty years ago, thereby giving them a competitive advantage and helping the bridge the skill gap that exists in the job market.
Holistic education in India is on par with the methods of study and quality standards present in leading institutes at modern Western democracies like USA, Australia, Canada, and the UK. Curriculums are similar if not identical as is the international perspective of the course material. In several ways, holistic education is the ideal choice for a truly globalised world, where the barriers of nations, language, and race slowly are fading into irrelevance. Furthermore, Indian students looking to study abroad, who are familiar with the nature of this dynamic style of learning are therefore finding the transition far more seamless than those who have been educated in a more traditional setup.
Every good parent rightfully believes their child has unfathomable potential. Holistic education is designed in such a manner, so as to unleash not just their inner potential, but also take them on a journey of self-discovery, in a positive learning environment. The world is changing, and it is essential that every parent ensures their child gets an education that teaches them to adapt consistently and reinvent what they know, for a journey into a smarter future.