CHOICE & Competition
Article 26 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights states that parents have a prior right to choose the type of education their children receive. We must design a framework that respects and enables all stakeholders to exercise the power of choice - for parents, students, teachers, principals and schools. Funding students and not schools is the best method to provide choice to parents and students. The flipside of choice is competition: all schools - government and private - compete to attract and retain all students, those who pay for themselves as well as those whose fees are paid through public funds.
AUTONOMY & Accountability
To make the education system student-centric by offering them choices, it is imperative that all providers of education at all levels - from teachers, principals to regulators - have the highest degree of autonomy. The principal should have the autonomy to be a genuine leader of the school. This autonomy would be tied to accountability by focusing on outcomes and not inputs. Student feedback and learning should be an important part of accountability.
INNOVATIONS & Communities
The education system, so critical to individuals, economy and society, has seen very little innovation. Disruptive technologies, blended learning, gamification, mobile apps that can help meet the delivery challenges as well as personalise education are critical. At the same time, we need to think about a completely different education system for the 21st century than just re-engineering the 20th century factory model of education. Innovation would occur and sustain if embedded in relevant communities of students, parents, teachers and principals. The first innovation would have to be in building these communities.