The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.
Articles

The fourth generation of education and its implementation in Afghanistan

Education is a dynamic field that responds to the needs and challenges of society. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the concept of the fourth generation of education (Education 4), which aims to prepare learners for the complex and uncertain future of the 4th Industrial Revolution. But what does this mean, and how is it applicable in Afghanistan? The fourth generation of education is characterized by a shift from content-based to competency-based learning, from teacher-centered to learner-centered pedagogy, from standardized to personalized assessment, and from passive to active participation. It emphasizes the development of skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and self-regulation, as well as real-life and market based problem-solving skills. The fourth generation of education is not a new idea, but rather the continuation of previous generations that have shaped the history of education. The first generation of education was based on oral transmission of knowledge and skills from masters to their specific and limited students. The second generation emerged with the initiation of printing and literacy, which enabled the creation of standardized curricula and textbooks. The third generation was driven by the expansion and specialization of higher education, which led to the marketization and competition of educational institutions and programs. Afghanistan, a wartorn country and three times severely affected country by the foreign occupations within a century, has not had the fortune to progress in accordance with the global educational developments. It is accepted that occupation has nowhere blessed the land owners; sufferings, backward, and miseries are just few consequences of it; however, since the unforeseen defeat of the America and its ally countries, now it is hoped that, as in all other fields, Afghanistan will also get rapid and firm steps to adapt and facilitate the basic features of the fourth generation of education. In the following subsequent paragraphs, some of the basic features of Education 4. and their possible implementation in Afghanistan are holistically stated. – Competency-based learning: The main focus of the current educational system in Afghanistan is still contentbased. Educational institutions and educators focus more on memorization of the contents; the educational principles employed in classes focus more on raising students’ knowledge and understanding. Students, even in skills-based classes such as English language learning, expect their teachers to offer definitions and short notes. This is because of the dominant content-based educational tradition in the country. However, the focus of learning shifts from content to competencies in Education 4. Competency is the ability to do something, especially measured against a standard which includes the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that learners need to perform effectively in various contexts and situations. Instead of giving to many definitions and rules, students are helped to learn how to do things in their special fields. – Learner-centered pedagogy: Outcome-Based Education/Student-Centered Learning (OBE/SCL) is recently emerged in Afghan universities. Instructors are trained to adopt OBE/SCL techniques and strategies, and institutions are regularly instructed, monitored, and evaluated, but still classes are student-centered. Teacher Talking Time (TTT) is usually more than students talking time (STT), and teachers are considered to only instruct and explain the lessons in most of the class time. Nevertheless, Education 4 suggests that the role of teachers should be changed from instructors to facilitators, who guide and support learners in their own learning journey. Learners are given more autonomy, choice, and voice in their learning process, as well as more opportunities for self-assessment and reflection. Students are the people who learn things by doing them inside the class and the teacher is responsible to keep them on the right track and to facilitate them if they need. – Personalized assessment: Students’ assessment is also one of the other important aspects of education which requires basic changes. As the curriculum and class experiences in Afghanistan are more content-based, the assessment instruments are also only assessing students’ knowledge and memory. Majority of the assessment items employed in Afghanistan cannot assess students’ competencies and abilities needed for successful career. In addition, tests are sometimes invalid and unreliable: they are designed in a way which cannot assess the basic objectives of the course or program. However, the purpose of assessment, in education 4, changes from measuring to improving learning, by providing timely and constructive feedback to learners and teachers. Assessment is also more flexible and adaptive, allowing for different modes and methods of evaluation that suit the learners’ needs and preferences. Assessment is supposed to be more criterion-based; it means that despite knowledge and memory, students performances and skills should also be tested. The marks given to students should be meaningful and should infer specific abilities in subject area. – Technology integration: despite the aforementioned features, using/accessing modern technology is the other shortcoming of educational system in Afghanistan. Afghanistan, a wartorn and currently under the cruel and barbaric economic sanctions of UN and USA, could implement very few technological facilities in Educational settings. Very limited classes have access to basic technological tools such as LCDs, projectors, and internet. It is despite of the fact that the use of technology enhances learning opportunities, access, and quality, by enabling learners to access diverse and rich sources of information, communicate and collaborate with others across time and space, create and share their own digital products, and develop their digital literacy skills. It is mentionable that the fundamental philosophy (goal) of education in the current industrial world has become almost absolutely materialistic. Educations is considered only as a power of earning money and getting survival, but the fundamental goal of education in Islam is to be able to recognize the obligations of Almighty Allah (SWT) and to do whatever Allah (SWT) has permitted, so on one hand to earn for living and on the other hand to be remained a promised Muslim (Momin) educations is obligatory (Fardh-e-Kifayah) on each member of Muslim society. Despite all shortcomings mentioned above, still there is way to get and implement the features of Education 4 in Afghanistan. However, to implement the fourth generation of education in Afghanistan, there is a need for a holistic and systemic approach that is able to lead to the developments in competenciesbased learning, learners’-centered pedagogies, criterionbased assessment, and technology-integrated classes.

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.