A one-day “School Excellence Conclave,” organised in Madurai on Monday by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), underlined the importance of bringing about fundamental changes in the school education system in Tamil Nadu to inculcate critical/creative thinking among students.

With the theme “Thinking beyond Classrooms,” the meeting brought together principals and headmasters of private, government and aided schools, industry representatives, academicians and policymakers on a single forum. Issues concerning the school education system were discussed.

‘Joy of learning’

School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu, heads of schools that had tried out innovative methods of teaching/learning and officials of the School Education Department were among those invited for the meet.

“Education should not be only about instruction and information. It must be understood that examinations are not the be-all and end-all. Unfortunately in the present scenario, examinations have become the end in itself,” said Chairman of CII Madurai Zone K.S. Bharath, delivering a special address at the conclave.

The current system was so dominated by examinations that “students develop hatred for classrooms and books.” The joy of learning should be there among students. More emphasis was being given to obedience, curbing students from raising questions, he said.

“There is lot of difference between these two. Teachers must try to make students come forward with questions. That is not linked to obedience.”

Innovative ideas

In his opening remarks, T. Srinivasan, Member-Affirmative Action and Skill Development Panel, CII Madurai Zone, said the conclave was aimed at bringing out innovative ideas for enhancing school education.

“Certain aspects like integrating laboratories with classrooms and new methods of learning process will have to be considered,” he pointed out.

Aravind Srinivasan, Vice-Chairman, CII Madurai Zone, also spoke.

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