HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday advocated a paradigm shift in the education system to help students express their creativity and make teaching-learning exercise more children centric and interesting.

“The thinking of Panditji (Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru) was that children should do more creative things. Formal education is no doubt required. But creativity is more important,” he told reporters after attending the national children’s’ assembly and integration camp here.

Mr. Sibal said process of changing the thrust of education has already started. The school environment, curriculum, teachers’ training and teaching method will be changed under this exercise, he said.

“The Right To Education Act will bring back the out-of school students to the stream of education,” he said at the function organised by National Bal Bhavan on the occasion of Children’s’ Day. Nearly 16 crore children in the country are out of school at present.

Addressing the children, Mr. Sibal said ideally teachers should listen to students most of the time in the classes.

“But what is happening is that the students are listening to the teachers 90 per cent of the time. The parents are competing among themselves on whose children will secure more marks in the examination,” he said.

Giving importance to students’ interface with nature, Mr. Sibal said they should learn more from it and hoped children will bring a new wave of change in the country’s development.

Mr. Sibal said the government will give all possible help and support the National Bal Bhavan. As the students performed several programmes, Mr. Sibal said he was reminded of his childhood and said the children’s’ world is very interesting and fascinating.

When the children ended their performance, Mr. Sibal went to them and posed for photographs.

Earlier, Mr. Sibal conferred the ‘National Values Award’, instituted by National Bal Bhavan, to representatives of five Bal Bhawans of Rajkot, Vadodara, Jaipur, Jamui and Howrah.

He also launched “Tarang” -- a CD of 12 songs written and composed by Bal Bhawan staff and sung by the children.

Mr. Sibal released a book ‘Reflections, Images and Moods’, a compilation of photographs clicked by the children and staff.

Addressing the gathering, National Bal Bhawan chairperson Begum Bilkees I Latif said last year, 53 more Bal Bhawans were set up across the country, taking their total to 123.

“By the end of this fiscal, we plan to add 100 more such units,” she said.

Children of Bal Bhawan presented a colourful cultural programme to mark the occasion.

National Bal Bhawan is a creativity resource centre for children in the age group of 5-16 years. Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation of the institute in 1956, after which its branches have spread all over the country.