ICT can democratize education: Mitsuyo Tamai
Mitsuyo Tamai is an educationist and the founder of KIWAMI, a unique venture towards educational development outside school. KIWAMI is on a mission to nurture leaders of tomorrow through one-of-its-kind teaching innovations.
Holding an experience of more than 20 years, Tamai possesses core values of education and learning innovations. She has ideated various methods in teaching including her own ICT (Information and communications technology) method which is followed at KIWAMI as well as several parts of the world. In an interview with The Education Post she talks about her vision on education, objectives of KIWAMI, and the relevance of ICT-based applications in primary education.
How do you define education?
The ultimate goal of education is to convey children that how wonderful life is, more than anything since education shapesthe future of people and a country. For this, it is very important that great teachers use a sophisticated teaching material and interact children with love and passion all the time.
Could you explain us the idea behind KIWAMI? You say it’s a unique venture, how does it stand out from other models?
There are three points which make us stand out from other models. Firstly, our teaching materials are developed with its focus on primary education. The reason we focus on primary education is based on the brain science. It is said that the human brain develops rapidly between birth to age twelve and it will reach the same volume as adult at the age of twelve.
This is a very important stage where basic academic abilities and emotional development are formed as children will go through a long life. Therefore, we strongly believe that our teaching material should also focus on this important period.
Secondly, all the teaching materials developed by Tamaishiki (Tamai’s method) have the same theme in common, which is ‘imaginative skills’.
ICT does have the potential to democratize the education system since ICT helps reduce the gap in the quality of teachers and help train teachers in a remote place
Memorizing knowledge, formulae, method or languages is important. However, in order to apply the acquired knowledge into practice, “imaginative skills” and “creativity” would be essential. By using beautiful movies in our teaching materials, it helps children visualize the learning content of each subject more easily. Third, children can compete with others wherever they are in the world. KIWAMI Geometry focuses on geometry questions, but not only here in India,but also in many other countries, including Japan, children will solve the same questions and will know they rank globally. This will surely motivate children.
The implications of ICT in today’s education system
In order to establish a high-quality education system, we should never fail to conduct thorough research. In higher education, research has been thoroughly conducted, however, in the field of primary education, the result of exams does not necessarily lead to future and very hard to find the answer.
Therefore, there is a certain propensity for rote learning, however, rote learning is limited to inputting knowledge and may lead to accumulation of unusual knowledge.ICT allows us to visualize this aspect and this is one of the significant potentials that ICT has.
Can ICT democratize education system?
ICT does have the potential to democratize the education system since ICT helps reduce the gap in the quality of teachers and help train teachers in a remote place. However, for this, infrastructure such as computers, needs to be well-equipped.
What’s your comment on India’s primary education system?
India’s education system is undoubtedly good but it can definitely get a boost by integrating ICT based methods. Our model is not that teachers teach to students unilaterally using an electronic blackboard. Our education method enables students to pursue study at their own pace while focusing on questions they have difficulty in understanding.
There are mathematics teaching materials where calculation and geometry’s curriculum are included, however, there is no such teaching material which allows children to learn these two themes separately and allows them to study these concepts on a level progression based curriculum. Calculation skills and spatial perception skills of geometry is not something you can determine the learning content according to class standard, so we strongly feel that calculation should be taught using calculation method and geometry should be taught using geometry method.
What’re the biggest challenges prevail in India’s school education sector?
As a teaching material developing company, we believe that we should not just sell teaching materials but more importantly we need to provide training for teachers. In Japan, we conduct training for teachers every month in order to maintain the quality of teachers andalso keep their motivation high.In India, we have a branch in Delhi, however, going forward, we plan to establish more branches and strengthen support for schools where our teaching materials havebeen introduced.