“Education is not just about academic knowledge but preparing students to face the world,” says Rajesh Bhatia

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The educationist and founder of the TreeHouse chain of schools offers five ideas to help mould students into global citizens

American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead famously wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” But how does one prepare young people to become global citizens? Rajesh Bhatia, educationist and founder of TreeHouse chains of schools thinks that a comprehensive and holistic education can help students to prepare for global citizenship.

He says, “Education should not just be about imparting academic knowledge but preparing the students to face the larger world and also contribute to it. Indian schools must invest in innovative educational methods and skill development modules to create a new generation of global citizenry. The UNESCO Institute of Education defines a global citizen as someone who looks beyond their boundaries and identifies themselves to the human race anywhere in the world and I feel, we can impart such values to our children.”

Bhatia offers five suggestions that can help build a global citizenry:

Open communication – Schools should encourage two-way communication between teachers and students. Children should be encouraged to ask questions and there should be sufficient space to allow critical thinking. Teachers must also provide positive feedback to students who choose unconventional paths while solving problems.

Skill-based training – Students must be introduced to 21st-century skills via vocational training so that they can join the global employment stream in the future. To contribute to global well-being, students must also be given environmental and climate change education and sufficient knowledge about disaster preparedness. They also must be taught how to create a sustainable lifestyle.

Cross-cultural exposure – Schools can take students on virtual international tours to familiarise them with world-famous monuments, and culturescapes. Through student exchange programs, children can also get an opportunity to experience milieus other than their own. We must teach children that culture is a constantly evolving, expanding entity that means different things to different people and hence must be understood rather than judged.

International curriculum- Children must be exposed to syllabi that give them insight into the global history, contemporary events, arts, and literature. Through tech-enabled platforms, they can get access to lectures and webinars conducted by international faculty and this will broaden their perspectives. All schools can strive to include foreign languages in their curriculum and equal importance can be given to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields as they play an important role in making future citizens employable.

Gender and culture sensitisation – A global citizen cannot be discriminatory and hence schools must focus on imparting humanitarian values where children are sensitised to gender and cultural variations beyond geographies. They should be taught to respect human diversity without any prejudice. This is very important as only an inclusive mindset can contribute to the creation of a peaceful world.

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