Education is an activity of building effective individuals who will contribute to the betterment of society. It is an activity that will not just churn our knowledgeable individuals but also good human beings. Since education is such a critical activity, its outcomes need to be measured both qualitatively and quantitatively against certain set goals. Outcome Based Education or OBE is one such approach where each education activity is tied up with the set goals/outcomes. OBE is accepted worldwide especially in countries like USA, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia and Hong Kong. In India, OBE has been formally introduced through an agreement known as ‘Washington Accord’. OBE offers a number of advantages over traditional education system in terms of evaluation of students, teaching quality and curriculum both in schools as well as in colleges. Primarily it enables a faculty to check the elevation of a learner to a minimum set level and in turn improve the content delivery so that the set level can be further raised.
There are many who suggest that traditional education system is equally outcome based and there is nothing special as such associated with this education system. But then, let’s take a look at the schools of our country. Teachers and principals decide that students should learn something, but they typically allocate a certain amount of time to study a topic and then move on, whether or not students have mastered it. For schools to adhere to outcome-based education system, they need to organize so that outcomes are fixed, and time and other resources needed to achieve the outcomes are variable.
There are many well known models of OBE like the ‘Johnson City Model’, McREL Model and the Spady Model. However it is the model developed by Bill Spady also called the ‘High Success Network’ Model that is most effective as it lists four principles that characterize OBE viz. clarity of focus, design down and deliver up, high expectations and expanded opportunities. The model basically specifies clear understanding of the situation before setting parameters/goals and designing curriculum after becoming aware of outcomes. Students are also allowed to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they acquire.
Frankly speaking, OBE is more of a philosophy than a uniform set of practices. In India, schools and colleges have mostly adopted this philosophy partly as most of them are still continuing with the rules and regulations they had in force before the introduction of OBE. Actually they are trying to prove the goodness of both the education systems in tandem but then the fact is OBE is a proven mechanism in many other countries and it has done wonderfully well over there. The need of the hour for successfully implementing OBE in India is to go for certain significant modifications in the overall teaching and evaluation infrastructure so that students turn out to be effective learners who seek the capacity of successfully applying their learning for the overall development of society.