Ira Shrivastav – Chemistry facilitator Gunma Kokusai Academy, Japan
Ira Shrivastav is the present Chemistry facilitator at Gunma Kokusai Academy, Japan. She has been into the education industry for 18+ years having worked with several renowned educational institutes of India teaching Indian as well as international curriculum. For the last 12 years, she has been working with International baccalaureate Diploma programme and is also an IB Educator network member and part of curriculum development team of chemistry for IB. Her current organization is an English immersion IBDP school, they follow Mext curriculum (Japan Board) till grade 10.
Ira Shrivastav shares her thoughts with School magazine.
Education system in Japan Versus that of India
In India education in Public schools is mainly in English and mother tongue/ Hindi is only taught as one of the subject. However in Japan, all subjects are taught parallely in English and Japanese language in IB school and only in Japanese in Public schools. People here are proud of their culture and language, all school events take place in mother tongue.
Secondly in Japan education for a child starts after completion of 6 years in age, the elementary school is from grade 1 to 6, junior high from grade 7 to 9 and students of grade 10 – 12 are considered in senior high. Whereas in India child can be in grade 1, if he/she is about to be 6 years.
Apart from all other subjects, home economics (Kateika) is also an important subject in schools of Japan, and I think Indian schools should also have such subject in their curriculum where students are taught about cultural food, clothing, living, baby ,child and elderly care, economics, family, and environment. Such life skills and knowledge will inculcate cultural values in youngsters and make them follow and respect their own traditions.
Challenges faced by teachers today
Teachers are not able to enjoy the teaching process as they are pressurized for producing good results in terms of percentage. The class strength (teacher to student ratio) is also very high and this hinders the teacher’s ability to conduct different activities in class and to be able to approach every student in class. The time table in many school is overburdening for teachers and this takes away the creativity in teaching.
Teaching with books or technology?
Prescribed Chemistry books should just be a support in revising the concepts, which are always better understood with technology, hands on activity, computer simulation models, videos and online quiz. These teaching techniques develop the skills better than the books. Books mainly to enhance the class room learning and writing skills using subjective vocabulary.
Under-representation of girls in STEM fields
Girls are way to under presented in STEM as from the very childhood they have grown up with the mind-set of taking care of family and home rather than career. They have been made to understand that the career options with STEM will not match with the family requirements and work timings will not permit them to care of their children which in India is considered only to be the responsibility of women. Also, girls are generally restricted from going to outside universities for higher education, therefore they ultimately tend to move away from these subjects.
Gunma Kokusai Academy
Ota Shi, Gunma