Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Outlook of Science Education-NCF 2005

B.Ed Teaching Notes
Outlook of Science Education-NCF 2005

Prepared by: 
Lecturer in Physical science Education 
Arafa Institute for teacher Education 
Attur, Thrissur.

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Looking at the science education in India, three issues stand out clearly.

1)    Science education is still far from achieving the goal of equity mentioned in our Constitution.
2)    Science education in India develops competence, but does not encourage inventiveness and creativity.
3)    The overpowering examination system.

How to overcome these problems? (OR)
How to increase quality of Indian Science Education?

The science curriculum must be used as an instrument for achieving social change in order to reduce the divide based on economic class, gender, caste, religion and region. We must use textbooks as one of the primary instruments for equity, since for a great majority of school-going children, as also for their teachers, it is the only accessible and affordable resource for education.
We must encourage alternative textbook writing in the country within the broad guidelines laid down by the National Curriculum Framework. These textbooks should incorporate activities, observation and experimentation, and encourage an active approach to science, connecting it with the world around the child, rather than information-based learning.
Additionally, materials such as workbooks, co curricular and popular science books, and children's encyclopedia would enhance children's access to information and ideas that need not go into the textbook, loading it further, but would enrich learning At present there is a lack of such materials in regional languages.
The development of science corners and providing access to science experimentation kits and laboratories, in rural areas are also important ways of equitably provisioning for science learning.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an important tool for bridging social divides. ICT should be used in such a way that it becomes an opportunity equaliser by providing information, communication and computing resources in remote areas. ICT if used for connecting children and teachers with scientists working in universities and research institutions would also help the students to know clearly about scientists and their work.

For any qualitative change from the present situation, science education in India must undergo some changes.
1)    Rote learning should be discouraged.
2)    Inquiry skills should be supported and strengthened by language, design and quantitative skills.
3)    Schools should place much greater emphasis on co-curricular and extra-curricular activities aimed at improving investigative ability, inventiveness and creativity, There should be a massive expansion of such activities along the lines of the Children's Science Congress, being held successfully at present.
4)    A large-scale science and technology fair at the national level (with feeder fairs at
cluster/district/state levels) may be organised to encourage schools and teachers to participate in this movement.
5)    Examination reform should be initiated as a national mission, supported by adequate funding and high-quality human resources. The mission should bring teachers, educationists and scientists on a common platform; launch new ways of testing students that would reduce the high level of examination-related stress; reduces the multiplicity of entrance examinations; and undertake research on ways of testing multiple abilities other than formal scholastic competence.

These reforms, however, fundamentally need the reform of teacher empowerment/training. No reform, however well motivated and well planned, can succeed unless a majority of teachers feel empowered to put it in practice. With active teacher participation, the reforms suggested above could have a improving effect on all stages of science teaching in our schools.