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School education

School education must rise to 21st century challenges

There is a global recognition that for higher education to deliver graduates who are sufficiently competent and qualified to enter the international professional community, there must be substantial changes and improvements in the delivery of school education.

Pioneering institutions in many countries are adopting modern methods of teaching and learning. Many of these methods are focused on student-centred learning. Students are empowered to gain knowledge and apply it in practical exercises, rather than the traditional and outmoded methods of absorbing facts and information and repeating this material in tests and exams.

School students find that when they are only exposed to the older methods of teaching, it is challenging to move on successfully to the competitive environment of higher education.

In India, the new National Education Policy (NEP 2020) places emphasis on using modern methods of learning in school education, with a focus on learner-centric methods. NEP 2020 places emphasis on there being a smooth transition from school to higher and vocational education.

NEP 2020

When learner-centric methods are applied consistently for students through their school years, the following general benefits accrue;

  • Growing familiarisation with learning and gaining knowledge through interactive methods, as compared with traditional methods of classroom teaching, based on absorption and repetition of facts
  • Development of factors including creativity, self-sufficiency, innovation and the thirst for gaining knowledge
  • A seamless transition to higher education, based on familiarity with student-centred learning

Practical solutions

Dr Geoffrey Clements, CIP Chairman, has engaged in a constructive dialogue with school educators and administrators in both the public and private sector school systems in India, including State level school Ministers and Commissioners in the public sector, and leaders of prominent schools in the private sector.

In the UK, Dr Clements has discussed advanced methods in innovative school education with university education departments, the Independent Schools Association (ISA), the association of 500 leading head teachers in the private sector and other leaders in school education.

These discussions have led to an understanding of

  • the most valuable methods of learner-centric education in schools
  • the research that has been conducted
  • the application of these results in the UK to schools in India

Creating the right environment for teaching and learning

Successful implementation of effective methods of learner-centric education depends on creating the right environment in the school – an ethos to promote excellence in all aspects of learning.

Main elements

The overall thrust in the implementation of these new methods is that it must be led from the top – by the head teachers – and there must be a transformation in the ethos and outlook at whole-school level.

Implementation of a development programme for schools therefore begins with training and mentoring for head teachers, followed by training and mentoring in teaching and learning methods for lead subject teachers. The programme can then extend to all teachers.

Ten elements of head teacher training

  • Establishing an ethos and the aims of the school
  • Establishing a culture of change and learning community
  • Strengthening the USPs of the school
  • The Golden Triangle of Communication: parents, pupils and teachers
  • Developing leadership
  • Establishing and maintaining the core values of the school
  • Accountability, management of performance and IT resources
  • Capability and competence – dealing with challenging situations
  • Crisis management
  • Timetabling and time as a resource

Delivery methods of head teacher training

These 10 elements are delivered using methods including

  • training sessions
  • group projects
  • role play
  • challenging discussions
  • hands-on exercises

These methods assist the head teachers in developing their leadership qualities. They then apply these attributes by participating in training and mentoring subject teachers.

Training and mentoring sessions for subject teachers

Training and mentoring for subject teachers include the following

Teaching methods

  • Differentiation
  • Scaffolding
  • Teaching critical thinking
  • Transmission, Transaction and Transformation

Learning methods

  • Learning styles and different intelligences
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Socially constructive learning
  • Reflective learning


Learner-centric education inspires students to explore topics and concepts they are curious about. They develop the capacity to be responsible for and direct their own learning. Learner-centric education takes into account the student’s individual ideas, preferences and interests.

Students take an active role in their own education. This is valuable in developing their individual character traits and strengths. They develop skills that prepare them for higher education and career.

Benefits of learner-centric education

  • Enhanced memory
  • Improved participation in the learning process
  • Increased retention of knowledge
  • Better problem-solving skills
  • Improved communication skills
  • Learning becomes a personalised experience
  • Learning is enjoyable
  • Improved ability to collaborate and work in a team


Implementation of a school development project follows the elements described above.

For each intervention or project element, the following sequence will be used to determine the effectiveness and benefits of the programme.


Learner-centric education is essential for schools to improve their performance to international standards and to prepare students for their further education and professional life. A comprehensive programme begins with elements to improve and enhance the ethos and purpose of the school, starting with the head teacher and extending to subject heads and all teachers.

The benefits of these methods are well-documented and their effectiveness in such a programme can be easily measured.

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