Children’s Day: Our flawed idea of education and the school system

Children’s Day: Our flawed idea of education and the school system

Is the education system too conventional and does a change need to be introduced to facilitate better education in its truest sense?

Talent can’t possibly be bound in books. It often goes unnoticed due to our education being very much coursebook oriented. Our existing school system recognizes just academic excellence and not co-curricular talents that a student may possess. Every idea of education we have is pretty much confined to the prescribed coursebooks. A child with good academic grades is the representative of the school’s success as well as for the future generation. while a good singer, for example, is just good for occasional entertainment and social media video mongering.
The potential of students usually goes unexplored due to the ever-existent ‘syllabus finishing’ culture in our schools. Although this situation is similar almost country wide, schools in Kashmir are hopelessly caught in the exam results business. As a result of this, children with out-of-the-box talents and abilities are often buried under the mental burden of academic procedures, while they could be excelling in an entirely different direction.
Is the education system too conventional and does a change need to be introduced to facilitate better education in its truest sense?
To draw out the intrinsic, hidden talent of a child or person: that must be the aim of education. The institutions should be not just encouraging but more inviting of children to express their talents and interests apart from their regular coursework or certificate syllabus. It is a lofty goal, given how academics have been the sole aspect our schools have been about. Although there is no belittling the need for academics, as they are an indispensable aspect of education, we do need more scholars and philosophers and great thinkers, as also great dreamers and innovative creators and people with skills other than academic degrees.
Does our education system encourage or even allow them the scope for being what they can be good at? Does the school system recognize the possibility of a child being an artist or an innovator rather than spoon-feeding him/her the ‘only option’ of being the epitome of academic excellence and ending up as a doctor, engineer, or a manager? From the very beginning the idea of personal interest is just put out there class after class but the actual interest is never really cared for. The achievements of physicists like Marie Curie or Albert Einstein are glorified and rightly so, but what of people like Shahrukh Khan, Cristiano Ronaldo, or some other non-academic achiever? Is their role in society any smaller than of an academic achiever? Had they not been dreamers and had their talents not been discovered, and had they been restricted to studying Mathematics and Science, the society may well have been the poorer for it.
Isn’t this what education should prepare a kid for? By the looks of it, though, our idea of education is rudely questioning the contribution of the non-academic achievers towards making this world a better place by strictly determining academic excellence as the bar for being an achiever.
It is a general notion that to achieve your dream, you need to take a break from schooling. It sure would be more sensible if schools were the place facilitating fulfillment of dreams and recognition of talents, or development of children to excel at what they actually are interested in, instead of shoving some synthetic idea down their throats. Steps need to be taken to change the concept the system follows.
However, it is imperative to realize that this requires a collective effort from the society and not just individuals. We can’t blame this one on just the administration as their role would be limited to introducing the change. Everyone has a part to play in actually applying that change of ideology and thought. The administration needs to revise the teacher training syllabus and introduce personality development courses, instead of training teachers to prepare parrots. The NEP should introduce non-theoretical activities and talent hunt programmes in the schools’ coursework. The school curriculum needs to have more co-curricular activities to allow the scope for student ability recognition.
Also, there needs to be scope for the schools to educate the child in the field he or she shows particular interest and ability in. Staff to teach art, music, sports, etc, has to be brought in. They could collaborate with other teachers and parents to develop education plans for the students.
The parents, on their part, need to be more encouraging of their ward’s abilities and should invite more open discussion of the kids’ interests. The ridiculing tendencies of parents upon hearing of any plans of pursing a non-academic career often buries the dreams even before they are fully expressed. The society needs to embrace the idea of education as a whole and be more faithful of the process leading to a non-academic achiever becoming a personality. The idea of education we hold needs to be, collectively, based on the actual meaning of education, so it may draw out the intrinsic or hidden talents and abilities of children.

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