By Javed Mirza
The Madrasa Reformation is a strategic endeavor of the New Equitable and Innovative Educational Association (NEIEA). The Madrasa education as practiced in the Indian and South Asian countries needs a total overhaul to make it relevant to modern times. This article elucidates an effective means of bringing Reforms in the Madrasa system.
NEIEA is a non-profit secular educational association. It stands for Inclusive Education and provides education without discriminating on the basis of religion, caste, gender, ethnicity, or geographical location. It stands for Equitable education and offers Free education to all learners. It is Innovative in its approach as it combines online with offline learning. It uses Pedagogy to instill creative thinking. It avails the latest technology to scale and maximize the educational spread and to impart efficiency and productivity in working. It is also a learner-centric institution that allows students to learn at all hours during the day and all days of the week.
NEIEA has adopted a hybrid/blended model of Teaching that combines Online Education with Onsite education. Online Education is taught by trained teachers called the Mentor Teachers. The Lead Team (a grouping of Mentor Teachers, Pedagogists and Culture experts) builds modules for each subject like English, Math, Science etc. These modules are taught using technology platforms like Google classroom to students of institutions called the Secondary Schools. The Secondary schools sign up with NEIEA to have their students learn the subjects. Technical infrastructure is established in these Secondary schools to enable them to access online learning. Live lessons are taught by Mentor Teachers many hours each day to the students in the Secondary school. Multiple Secondary schools in many places are taught simultaneously. This enables large scale learning. Teachers in the Secondary schools are taught lesson preparation and its delivery, and they also observe this when attending the live sessions in the classroom. Teachers are provided with augmented learning materials like Homework and reading materials. Teacher training takes place every day.
The modules are pertinent to different levels of students starting from the Beginners level to the more advanced level. The courses are taught in a specific time duration of 90 days for each course. Learner’s progress from the lower level to higher level. Student progress is monitored, and constant assessment is made. The students are provided with certification on successfully passing the course. Foundational learning is sought to be implemented. A solid grounding of subject learning is enforced. This enables the students to easily pass the mandated Board exams and pursue Higher studies or Vocational/Technical study.
1) To provide quality secular education to all Madrasa students by embedding Quality in the educational process
2) To adopt the National and Global best practices in Education.
3) To adopt modern Pedagogy and instill critical thinking.
4) To make students Technology oriented.
5) To teach students the subjects mandated by NIOS (National Institute of Online Schooling) to pass the SSC and Intermediate Board exams
6) To work with all educational Institutions that would like to avail the NEIEA provision to provide FREE online education and to enable the students to register and take the SSC and Intermediate Board exams and to pass them.
7) To build and use IT apps for assessment and monitoring of educational parameters like Attendance, Performance etc. and for the streamlining of administrative work.
8) To counsel students and help them mainstream and pursue higher studies or vocational/Technical education.
1) POLICY MAKING and STEERING BODY:
This body will have respected Madrasa Leaders and Educationists who support the NEIEA objectives of making education Innovative, Transformative and Equitable.
a) It will discuss and formulate policies, adopting national and global standards of education. It will be an ongoing working body that will monitor the work in progress.
b) It will have Pedagogists, IT specialists and Culture experts in support of making policies and steering its work.
c) It will build support for the Madrasa Reformation and reach out to Secondary institutions around the country for collaborative working with NEIEA.
d) The Policy making group will work in sync with the Ministry of Education and its formulated New Education Policy (NEP) and the Right to Education (RTI) act and with other policies relevant to the Madrasa system and Secondary schools.
e) It will work on building financial sustenance by rallying community support. Community support has been the mainstay of Madrasas. However, the limited revenue collected through Zakat funding during Ramadan and Bakrid festivals is insufficient and needs to be augmented by funding from the Government agencies as well as from local and global philanthropic and educational institutions.
2) LEAD EDUCATIONAL CENTER:
The Lead centers will be the vanguard of education. The Lead center will be guided by the policies enunciated by the Policy making body.
a) It will hire qualified Teachers and train them to become Mentor Teachers. It will train the Teachers to apply Modern Pedagogy in the construction and delivery of the Lessons. It uses a pedagogy called Discourse Oriented Pedagogy (DOP). Its founder is Dr K. N. Anandan. It has been adopted in the states of Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry. Introducing Pedagogy that is relevant to the nation’s social and economic dynamics will foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
b) It will build lesson modules for many subjects at different levels…. from the beginner’s level to a higher level. It will study the syllabus given in the NIOS for subjects required to pass the Board exams and prepare students to take and pass the exam.
c) It will liaison with the Secondary Educational centers and work in tandem with them for the registration of students and conducting online classes. The focus of study will be building foundational learning. This will enable the students to pass the exams with ease.
d) It will work with the Culture Group to screen lessons for in-built bias and for the incorporation of character building and ethics and values-building lessons.
e) It will use the technology platforms suggested by the IT group to stream lessons to Secondary Educational Institutions (Madrasa and other educational institutions that seek to deliver quality education). The latter institutions are invited to sign up with the Lead Center by offering Free subject learning, Technology learning, Teachers Training and other requirements essential for providing good quality education to their students.
f)It will train the Teachers from the Secondary educational institutions and provide them with technical help and learning resource materials.
g ) It will support installation of Technical infrastructure at the Secondary educational center.
h) The Lead center will further provide student counselling in collaboration with the Secondary Educational center and help the student mainstream and pursue higher studies or pursue Vocational/Technical learning.
i) It will train Secondary educational Management to use IT tools for efficiency in working and for the assessment and Monitoring of its Student’s Performance and Attendance and keep track of student progress.
3) SECONDARY EDUCATIONAL CENTERS
The Secondary educational centers are the Recipient centers that avail education from the Lead centers and are collaboratively tied to them. These are educational centers like the Madrasas, that are interested in providing quality education to their students and would like to avail NEIEA services to do so.
The Secondary Educational centers
a) Will work with NEIEA and have all their students learn English from age 10. Learning English will be an important first step in mastering secular education.
b) Will allocate proportional time for Secular study from age 12 onwards so learners can be taught the NIOS mandated subjects. It will require at least 2 years of subject study to comprehensively grasp knowledge of the subject and to pass the Board exams.
c) Will install Technical Infrastructure in the classrooms earmarked for Online learning.
d) Will cooperatively work with NEIEA in the registration of their students for learning the subjects and for taking the Board exams
e) Will have their Management trained in IT app usage, so it increases their efficiency and productivity.
f) Will mobilize community funding to meet the expenses incurred..
4) IT CENTER
a) The IT center will work under the guidance of the Lead center and take up all IT related work.
b) It will provide Training to Teachers and to students on the usage of Google classroom and other related tools for effective online learning.
c) It will build apps for efficient Administration, for Attendance, for Assessment and for monitoring of progress.
d) It will provide online help in establishing IT infrastructure in the Secondary educational institution.
e) It will build a MOOC platform (Massive Openware Online Course) using 3D and Virtual classroom technology, to scale and maximize education and to make classroom discussion interactive.
f) It will evaluate existing Open ware IT tools like www.khanacademy.com and Kolibri (www.learningequality.org) and identify all Open source software that can be availed. It will do this in conjunction with Mentor teachers.
5) TEACHER’S ROLE AND TRAINING
a) Mentor Teachers: Trainee teachers hired by NEIEA are given training to become Mentor Teachers. Mentor teachers are well versed in Discourse Oriented Pedagogy (DOP) and in using Technology like Google classroom to teach. They are capable of building lesson modules in the subjects in which they have expertise. They work under the guidance of the Academic team leaders and the Technical team leader. Mentor teachers constitute the essential component of the Lead Educational center. They work with Pedagogist and with Culture experts in devising their lesson plans. They hold constant discussion towards refining the lessons and building new lessons. They prepare materials for their class and teach online every day.
b) Teacher Training: The teachers at the Secondary center are given orientation on the NEIEA’s hybrid model of Teaching. They are taught to use technology tools like Google classroom and are also taught DOP.
They observe the lessons prepared by the Mentor Teachers as well as the delivery of the lesson, each day. The constant observation and learning provides continuous training. There is interaction between the mentor Teacher and the teachers to coordinate the next day’s lesson plan. The Teachers will be provided with ongoing Lesson plans and Learning materials to prepare themselves ahead of the class.
Teachers will perform their regular work that includes maintaining discipline in class; providing motivation and counseling; checking Homework; monitoring of Attendance and Performance of the students etc. They will also answer students’ questions based on the feedback and materials provided to them by the Mentor teachers from the Lead center. Students will learn directly from the lessons given by the Mentor Teachers of the Lead center.
c) English Learning: English will be the medium of Instruction pursued in the Secular portion of Study at the Madrasas. This will build a good foundation for learning of all subjects as English is the most developed language in which subject matter has been written.
a) SCALING: Massive education using Technology platforms like Google classroom, Zoom, MS Teams and MOOC, will provide simultaneous Quality learning to students of hundreds of Madrasas in all places where they are located.
b) QUALITY: Quality is embedded in the process as the lessons are constructed and delivered Live by the Mentor Teachers from the Lead institution, and not by the school Teachers who are mostly untrained/have low qualifications and lack motivation.
c) TEACHER TRAINING: Secondary school teacher’s capacity is enhanced each day as they work with Mentor teachers and learn DOP and Technology and are taught to build lessons and deliver them and are also provided with educational materials/resources.
d) PEDAGOGY: All Mentor teachers are trained to use Modern Pedagogy. NEI upholds the Discourse Oriented Pedagogy (DOP) propounded by Dr K. N. Anandan. DOP will replace the existing obsolete Rote-learning pedagogy.
e) UNIFORMITY: Disparate learning in schools run by an individual/ family will give way to uniformed learning as many secondary institutions will work under the canopy of NEIEA’s Lead institution. All secondary educational institutions that sign up with NEIEA will follow a uniform Syllabus, Curriculum and be provided with the same materials and will be taught by the same Mentor Teacher.
f) CULTURE/VALUES: This is where the Syllabus, Curriculum and Lessons are screened for bias and negativity, and in its place, character-building and values-upholding lessons are incorporated. Inclusive spirit and support for national growth is encouraged.
g) EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTIVITY: The Lead center will provide IT apps to Secondary school management to ensure efficiency of working of the Secondary educational center. It will also train its management to use the Apps. These apps will help the Management assess and monitor the students Attendance and Performance and enable them to conduct their work efficiently.
h) GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY: Global connectivity is established by linking schools and students to peers around the world and sharing experience with them. This will build better global comprehension and understanding.
The Madrasa Reformation, formulated here, is an Innovative approach that will bring the much-needed overhaul of Education in Madrasas and in educational institutions that greatly need to build quality in their work. It offers an inventive solution to the problem of lack of quality and to the need for massive scaling required in a country like India with a humongous population. Its superiority in design and construct offers an effective answer to outstanding questions that have wracked education. By combining the religious with modern education and implementing best educational practices, it portends huge potential for educational learning and growth. By embracing and applying Pedagogic, Technology and Cultural tools, it establishes comprehensive learning. It builds foundational learning and permits mainstreaming at all stages. Madrasa institutions need to understand its unique value proposition and visionary leaders need to embrace it. In the course of time as it is adopted and applied, it will win the day by its innovative and highly effective teaching methodology.
This learning can be further integrated and augmented with Skills training, Entrepreneurial training, and soft skills training. The end-result will be a capable student who is equipped with multi-skills, multi-learning and capable of making a decent living and being an asset to society.
The pandemic had devastated Madrasas as well as most other teaching institutions that could not adapt to the changed circumstances. It is time for its replacement. NIEIE offers a very coherent, pragmatic, and futuristic answer. Let us adopt the stipulated NEI Madrasa Reformation construct and make it a huge success.