CHANGES IN PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION FOR THE PURPOSES OF QUALITY AND APPLICABILITY OF KNOWLEDGE
New times demand new knowledge. Knowledge is one of the most significant resources of today and that is why such importance should be given to it. Developed countries have realized this a long time ago and that resource has lead them to a high level of economic, social, cultural and other development and wealth. Those countries also realized how important education and education systems are for the development, quality and application of knowledge as a driver of economic development of the society. That is why they built quality and modern education systems. Such education systems produce experts who have knowledge and skills to improve the society. Economically developed countries invest a lot of money into education and knowledge, and they have multiple returns on such investments. Investing in knowledge is most profitable, worthwhile and useful investment for a society. That is why knowledge has to meet many demanding needs of the present time, which is characterized by fast and turbulent changes. It is proven that changes are closely connected to the quality and applicability of knowledge. Numerous changes are made to the education system in Serbia. Serbian students scored badly on PISA tests and they are at the very bottom of the scale. This indicates that knowledge is at the reproduction level and that it is not functional or applicable. And new times require exactly applicable, useful and quality knowledge. Serbia is falling behind with the introduction of changes, whether quality or quantity is concerned, compared to the European Union countries. Education system and primary school, as its important part, is more a part of past than a part of future. This is the reason to introduce changes into education in Serbia. Those changes are numerous and, as claimed by the line ministry, radical. Great many changes were introduced lately, from the pre-school to post-secondary school education. They are very important to primary school as well. Primary school has been and is still being reformed. One of the most significant changes introduced to primary schools, as of this session, is the introduction of information education as a regular course from the fifth grade. This is an important and useful novelty for the primary school work, because the importance of informatics and information for knowledge, and life in general, is well known. Another novelty which is still being elaborated is the cross-curricular competences and project-method teaching. In Serbia, primary school students have often, by learning a matter from one area, learned through courses. This was fragmented, non-harmonized and detached. Now, the aim is to introduce learning of a notion from various standpoints, areas i.e. courses. Another problem regarding learning and teaching in primary schools was the way knowledge was transferred to students. Outdated teaching methods prevailed, mostly ex cathedra teaching, where teachers “served” the matter to students. Students were an object, not the subject. The aim now is to put students into position to learn and attain knowledge independently, in a research-active manner. A teacher should guide them. The attempt is to relief the curriculum of primary school, because it is too extensive and burdensome to students, and to replace the obsolete contents with new ones. The attempt is also to introduce entrepreneurship elements which are part of the future as well. Changes do not imply that quality and applicability of knowledge will change, but they are necessary anyhow. Quality changes are required to lead to a higher and more quality level of knowledge. Time and results will show the level of quality of these changes and how much quality they will bring.
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