The ruthless approach of private institutes.

Right to education a right that is just on the paper. The pandemic situation makes access to education more challenging. The expensive fees of institutes, colleges, and tuition teachers along with the cost of digital gadgets. Make it a dream for the unprivileged child. Along with expensive gadgets, the additional cost of the internet is a matter of concern. This all thing make together cost of education very expensive. That is not affordable for all. The Pandemic hit makes our environment full of grief. Many lost their loved ones as well as earning hands. The question is in that situation how an innocent child pays for the education expenses. the answer is simple. The unprivileged child eventually drops out of school. People have to deal with financial pressure and subsequent anxiety. The pandemic has financially impacted the Indian middle and upper-middle class. Also many lost their jobs during the covid19 hit. The savings are diverted towards the needs. The reduction in earnings with the additional monthly cost of electricity, rent, and other bills make education cost impracticable.

Even during this time that certain private colleges are charging mercilessly an expensive amount of fees. This has put enormous pressure on families that sometimes have only one earning member per family. OR those who lost only earning members of the family. They have continued with their regular scheme of fees without issuing even the slightest bit of deduction. Even the government is not supporting the pitty family;
Even though government gives the judgment that Colleges should not charge more than the students’ tuition fees because they practically have online-only classes. Many students think it is not justified to charge students for the facilities they are no costs such as the library, sports grounds, canteen, etc. Some colleges have given ridiculous explanations about electricity bills, infrastructural cost and maintenance fees. But on the ground private institution didn’t care about this judgment and continue to charge whole fees from the students.
The colleges even ruthlessly pressuring the students and the parents to pay the semester fees on time, which would result in serious consequences if not paid. Private colleges are still looking at their profit margin even during a pandemic. The second wave hit more badly than the first wave. half of the population is covid positive. and admitted to the hospital looking for the medicine, oxygen cylinder, and ICU wards. The grief situation as well as the financial expense in the medical treatment. Given the scarcity of beds, private hospitals are charging a huge amount to the patients’ families. They have no option but to comply. The medical expenses are an additional burden that they have to bear. The bills keep adding and resulted in borrowing .and then never adding a circle of depth began. In such a sad situation how can a student pay his fees?

The students not only have to give compulsory examinations but they also have to pay with the financial expenses. Owing to this expense, students in the middle and lower strata of society are thinking to drop out the college. They are taking up whatever odd jobs they can get with little pay to support their family. Many of them had plans to pursue degrees post-graduation, but they have no option but to give up given the circumstances. In certain families with more than two children, it is becoming an increasing burden for the earning member to keep up with the rising expenses.

Lack of income source, lack of money, and diversion of savings towards basic needs as well as medical expenditures are some of the reasons stated by students facing such a crisis. Even authorities are not assisting the common people. Government is silent on this issue. That’s the reason many students give theatre life as being hopeless by committing suicide. Students want the college to either waive off the fees or provide them with some aid or assistance. The absolute lack of understanding for students has been reflected by these colleges. The mental fatigue and pain caused by this constant pressure are harmful to the well-being of students and parents as well.
It is unfair on the part of private colleges to seek their profits during the pandemic situation. Instead of charging such a high amount, they should either waive it off for students going through a financial crisis or charge them just the tuition fee. The students are already facing mental pressure and anxiety. There is a lack of accessibility to online education existing already. Some have had to purchase laptops, good mobile sets, and costly data packs to attend classes. To assume that everyone’s financial condition will remain unaffected because they belong to a privileged background is wrong and fallacious.
Some colleges are giving excuses that they have to pay to there teachers. Therefore they have to ask for money. But it is not convincing enough for the students who have time and again asked for a breakup of the fee structure. The students are helpless at this point. Even after approaching multiple authorities, they have not received a helpful solution. We can help these needy students through our small contribution. We common people should assist those who are in need.

Traditional education system how much effective?

Covid Pandemic left many Indians unemployed. While unemployment has always been a cause of attention for India. But mandatory experience and training made it more worse and challenging. the lack of practical skills holds us back. The recent unemployment numbers among educated youth show the drawback of India’s faulty education system and the lack of the right learning opportunities for young professionals.

 The government of India wanted to create a workforce of skilled professionals but the coronavirus pandemic made the situation drastic and critical. There was a time when a degree could help a person getting a desired job. But with more competition., a degree is not sufficient itself. The biggest issue is practical knowledge with theoretical knowledge. Classroom learning is more focused on theory. When students step into the professional world, they find themselves not capable enough to handle the work because of the drawbacks of our education system. Our country has educated unemployed people. Shows the inadequacies in our education system.

companies want educated fellows with practical skills. That our education system is unable to give. Because it is limited to academics. Youth lack new-age skills that companies need from their employees. With limited online and offline courses for industry-specific training such as engineering, IT, etc., Most young professionals lack confidence while dealing with problems at their workplace. Moreover, since schools, colleges and universities are following the traditional system of education. it acts as a hurdle when professionals come to face real-life circumstances.

Students need to develop new skills. So that student can learn something above education and makes students ready to be professionals. India has the potential to be a preferred destination for global sourcing. Skill development can bring this to reality by instilling more confidence in young professionals. As their skill increases their employability will increase, and ultimately lead to the nation’s financial growth.

The government needs to assist India’s workforce informally trained. With immediate competition, we need to adopt better strategies too. we need to improve standards of education and adopt newer methods. The higher the standards of training and skill development, the better our workforce can be. The country National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) can also contribute to solving the problem by creating more awareness and come up with suitable programs that can help professionals.

Transformation can only come with the government. The education system, industries, and students collectively understand and recognized the significance of skill improvement.

Civic Engagement for Young People During Social Distancing

Many of us feel a bit helpless to help others out during these coronavirus social distancing and isolation times. This also true for kids and young people. There are actions they can take as part of their home schooling. They can participate in civic engagement and activism activities.

Civic engagement is defined as “working to make a difference in the civic life of one’s community and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference (https://youth.gov/youth-topics/civic-engagement-and-volunteering).”

Quite frequently, not only do state standards permit teachers and schools to support student activism, but they encourage student activism as a means by which to develop civic understanding. Although standards vary from state to state, many of them are modeled on the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards (NCSS, 2013), which specifically endorses student activism:  “Civics is not limited to the study of politics and society; it also encompasses participation in classrooms and schools, neighborhoods, groups, and organizations . . . In civics, students learn to contribute appropriately to public processes and discussions of real issues. Their contributions to public discussions may take many forms, ranging from personal testimony to abstract arguments. They will also learn civic practices such as voting, volunteering, jury service, and joining with others to improve society. Civics enables students not only to study how others participate, but also to practice participating and taking informed action themselves” (https://kappanonline.org/student-activism-civics-school-response-singer/).

Civic engagement and activism in normal times has benefits, but in these times of coronavirus and social distancing-isolation, the benefits are amplified as such engagement can move young people from feelings of helplessness to feelings of empowerment.

Even in social isolation, there are actions young people and kids can do. The following activity guide can provide ideas and give some structure to civics activity engagement.

The following PDF has links with more information about how to do that challenge:

Sometimes Kids Just Need to Play During School

Teachers get so much pressure to meet standards and prepare students for state mandated tests, that I believe they forget their students are just kids. Because of this pressure, too many teacher education and professional development strategies stress the concept of time on task. For example, see Identifying (and Engaging Students in), Time-on-Task Activities, Increasing Time on Task, and Time on Task. This has some importance in teaching and learning but it shouldn’t always be the professed key to good instruction. This leaves little time for play. Play is important for students of all ages and grades.

This week I was reminded of the importance of playing and having fun; and that play and fun are determined by the kids, themselves. I planned a math lesson based on visual patterning, The concluding activity was for them to make a Fractal Tetrahedron, a marshmallow-toothpick tower. I had planned to have them work on it during a series of math classes, but they asked to stay through lunch and recess to work on it.

I started working with this group of gifted middle school students in January. I always have a goal of engaging learners as I believe it is the foundation of all good learning. I have had difficulty engaging them even with the use of Breakout EDU escape boxes, art activities, and games. Some engaged. Some did not. This marshmallow-toothpick activity brought a new energy into this group. All of them participated. They worked together. They laughed. They excitedly kept building and building. They added pieces to it that weren’t part of the plan. They played and had fun. A new group and classroom dynamic emerged which I believe was due with just letting them play with this project.

I discussed the beauty of spontaneous play (lots of play is spontaneous) in An Education Filled with Wonder:

One day I was substituting for a 2nd grade class.  It had begun to snow as we arrived to school that morning.  By mid-morning, a few inches covered the ground.  It was time for recess but, as expected, a voice came over the intercom to state that recess would be inside within each teacher’s classroom.  I heard the kids moan as they came to school dressed for snow with boots and winter jackets.  I threw caution into the wind.  I asked the kids to bundle up so we could go outside.  The kids became . . . well, kids.  They ran through the fresh snow in the huge back-of-the-school play area with no other students out there. They examined the footprints they created in the snow.  When one found something of interest, they called the others over to see.  They caught snow flakes with their tongues and made snow angles.  There were no conflicts nor arguing as was common to this group of kids.  They just ran, played, and laughed together as a unified group reminding me of a flock of geese.  I watched them with a tear in my eye, one that reflected the beauty I was witnessing. 

I wonder (even though I intuitively know the answer) whether learners in their adulthoods will better remember the types of activities I described above or their very structured time-on-task classroom activities.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education discussed the importance of play in Playing to Learn: How a pedagogy of play can enliven the classroom, for students of all ages:

Play and school can seem diametrically opposed. School is structured, often focused on order; play, by definition, is not.

But within this paradox of play and school, educators can find meaningful learning opportunities, advancing students’ academic skills as well as the social skills that will allow them to thrive in adulthood and enjoy their childhood now, according to researchers from Project Zero (PZ), a research center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“Play is a strategy for learning at any age,” says Project Zero’s researcher Mara Krechevsky. While older students and their teachers might have more curricular demands than younger students, playful learning still has an important role to play — it might just look different.

There is a universality to play: children are often more relaxed and engaged during play, and it’s enjoyable — all aspects that facilitate learning.

I think most educators innately know about the importance of play but according to many of them, they don’t have the time during the school day to permit kids to play outside of recess . . . but I ask, “What are the costs of not permitting them to play?”

Universal Skills for Learners: Increasing School Relevancy

Kids are learning – but for way too many it occurs outside of the school environment rather than during school. Given today’s technologies, it makes sense and is exciting that learning occurs after schools hours, but for exciting, engaging, and profound learning not to occur during school hours is, simply put, a travesty.

I contend that school, especially in the latter part of the 20th century, had a high degree of irrelevancy but in today’s highly connected world, it is absurd, verging, in my perspective, as unethical practices. We are asking today’s students to spend so much of their school lives doing tasks that are unconnected to the the skills that need now and in their future lives.

. . . and the kids agree as studies have indicated.

Gallup has conducted more than 5 million surveys with students in grades five through 12 over the past several years. These students have come from every state and from a range of rural, suburban and urban school settings. Almost half of students who responded to the survey are engaged with school (47%), with approximately one-fourth “not engaged” (29%) and the remainder “actively disengaged” (24%). A closer look at the data by grade level reveals a disturbing trend. Engagement is strong at the end of elementary school, with nearly three-quarters of fifth-graders (74%) reporting high levels of engagement. But similar surveys have shown a gradual and steady decline in engagement from fifth grade through about 10th grade, with approximately half of students in middle school reporting high levels of engagement and about one-third of high school students reporting the same (School Engagement Is More Than Just Talk).

Just 54 percent of middle schoolers and 46 percent of high schoolers think their studies are relevant, according to new data from the nonprofit YouthTruth. Relevance was rated lowest on the survey of various measures of student engagement: if students take pride in their work, if they enjoy going to school, if their schoolwork is relevant, if they try to do their best, and if their teachers’ expectations help them with that goal (Only Half of Students Think What They’re Learning in School Is Relevant to the Real World, Survey Says).

Over five years ago, I wrote a post entitled Universal Skills All Learners Should Know How to Do in order to discuss those skills I believe are important for learners during this era. For this post, I revisited it. I revised it to now include financial literacy and civics.

  • How to be a self-directed learner – finding and using resources (both face-to-face and online) to learn and improve personal interests
  • How to do effective online searches
  • How to develop one’s own Personal Learning Network (PLN)
  • How to post on social media while managing one’s digital footprint
  • How to evaluate websites and online tools for credibility
  • How to orally communicate with others both face-to-face and online (e.g., Facetime, Skype, Google Handouts)
  • How to write effectively
  • How to ask questions
  • How to effectively ask for what one wants or needs
  • How to set and achieve goals
  • How to work collaboratively with others
  • How to manage one’s own time
  • How to be healthy – physically and emotionally
  • How to care for others
  • How to Enjoy and Engage in the Arts
  • How to identify and solve problems
  • How to make sound financial decisions
  • How to understand and engage in civics
  • How to take professional looking photos; make professional looking videos
  • How to learn and use emerging technologies
  • How to make and invent stuff
  • How to code

I think most administrators and educators (and learners) would agree with the importance of most of the skills on this list to assist learners to be successful now and in their futures. Sadly, though, too few of these skills are directly and intentionally taught to learners: writing, speaking, and for more progressive schools, engaging in the arts and the computer science related skills. Is the current school system model really the best we can do?

Going On A STEM-Maker Journey WITH My Students

Last semester, I worked with a few high school students to create a project for the New Mexico Governor’s STEM Challenge. Being a learner-centric, process-oriented educator (hence, the name of my blog – User Generated Education), I embraced the following practices during this project.

  • Learners selected and developed their problem statement and guiding question.
  • Learners naturally tapped into one another’s strengths, managing their strengths without any intervention from me. Some were good at problem conception, others at envisioning solutions, others at research, and still others at creating the graphics.
  • My role was that of resource provider and feedback provider. I shared and explained the challenge requirements, reviewed the qualities of valid websites, gave feedback on their research and written work, and provided them with materials and tools such as Arduinos.
  • Community resources were used reinforcing that communities contain experts – that teachers don’t have to be experts at everything. We visited the local makerspace so the learners could learn and use their 3d printers and laser cutter.
  • Given the nature of this project-based, problem-based format, grading was based strictly on class participation using the criteria of, “Worked on the project during class time.”

Although, I often approach my classroom instruction using the practices as specified above, this one took me even farther from a place of knowing. They selected CO2 emissions and a chemistry-based solution of which I knew very little, so I was not a content expert. We learned about this together. I had a little experience with Arduinos but not lots so I was not a technology expert. We learned a lot more about how these worked together. We went on this journey together and I loved being a co-learner with my students.

Here is a highlight video of their project:

Much to my chagrin, they did not win an award (19 awards were given to the 43 entries). Their rewards, though, cannot be overstated:

  1. They learned some concrete and practical skills from going to the local makerspace, and getting instruction on their 3D printers and laser cutter. They also helped them work out some difficulties they had troubleshooting problems with the Arduino part of the project.
  2. They experienced the rewards and frustrations of working on a months long project including persistence, having a growth mindset, dealing with failure, and following through with a project through its completion.
  3. One of the students has pretty much checked out of school. She was mostly fully engaged throughout the duration of this project.

Even though their excitement about attending and presenting their project was obvious during the hour long ride home as they spent that time brainstorming ideas for projects for next year’s Governor’s STEM Challenge.

2020: A Clear Vision for Our Learners

20/20 vision is a term for visual acuity in which the numerator refers to distance and the denominator refers to size. Visual acuity (VA) commonly refers to the clarity of vision. Vision is all about clarity. 20/20 vision is perfect, high-definition clarity. The question is: How clear is your vision? Specifically, how clear is your vision [for your learners’] futures? (How to Have 20/20 Vision in 2020)

The year 2020 can act as metaphor for us, as educators, to have an overreaching vision for what we do. I really love the idea of approaching 2020 with a clear, well-articulated vision of our learners’ futures.

Grant Wiggins in Why Do You Teach had this to say about the importance of educators developing their vision-mission statements.

I am interested in [teachers being able to answer]:  Having taught, what should they have learned? What do you aim to accomplish as a teacher? What is your goal for the year, for all the years? What kind of a difference in their thinking and acting are you committed to?

Many teachers do not have good answers; most have no such personal Mission Statement; most have not even written a long-term syllabus in which they lay out the key goals for learners (and parents) and how those goals will best be achieved. But then – I say this with no malice –  you really have no goals. You are just marching through content and activities, hoping some of it will stick or somehow cause some learning.

 If you have no long-term accomplishments that you work daily to cause – regardless of or even in spite of the BS you encounter – then you are acting unprofessionally. What a professional educator does, in my view, is to stay utterly focused on a few long-term learning-related goals, no matter what happens in the way of administrative mandates, snow days, early dismissals for sports, or fire drills.

I have a vision – mission statement that I developed years ago but still holds true today:

To help learners developing the knowledge, skills, and passion to be self-directed, lifelong learners.

From my vision-mission statement I developed some guiding principles.

My vision-mission was not just a mental exercise I completed. It, along with my guiding principles, was developed to inform everything I do in my classrooms. I frequently revisit them as a form of self-assessment. Which principles are currently guiding my instructional strategies? Which ones are not being integrated into my classroom activities? What changes do I need to make to do so?

Here are some resources for developing your own vision-mission statement: