This Universal Children’s Day, parents and teachers can do something to redefine the larger objectives of primary education.
By Vikas Sharma
In the last few years, the collaborative effort of Indian academia, policymakers and society has been to impart employment and livelihood skills in students. Because of this objective, not merely the vocational education but schools have also started focusing on skills that help secure employment. While there is no harm to start with this goal, it is detrimental to limit the purpose of primary education to prepare for higher studies which help in employment. Primary education is the time a kid can be shaped into a future academician, sportsman, singer or a politician.
Look beyond the syllabus
Parents, teachers and the society have been obsessed with students’ ability to recite and reproduce from textbooks and perform in exams. However, this approach ignores the unique talent that each student may have. Teachers and parents have the responsibility to identify this talent early on and provide the right resources and platform to bring it up. Think of a child who finds it hard to solve trigonometry problems but is good at dribbling a basketball. Can we do something to free up the burden of Mathematics so that he can find more time to focus on what he does the best?
While we have seen many such success stories, there is no system which ensures that such flexibility is always permitted.Given that India is a country with umpteen demographic dividend, a system which allows flexible selection of subjects and skills could unleash a goldmine of talent. Some schools have taken steps towards giving extracurricular activities the same weightage as syllabus by signing up for international sports clubs like Junior International Football Academy or by promoting kinaesthetic learning in their classesthrough products like Step & Learn.
Sensitise kids about a cause
Be it pollution, population, hunger or illiteracy, the world is facing many challenges which require our attention. Not many of us devote time and resources to these causes. However, we cannot afford our next generation not being sensitive enough about these social challenges. To make the world a better place to live, teachers and parents need to seed the sense of social responsibility among their wards. Think of things like limiting the use of our car because of increasing pollution, teaching your maid’s child or donate your old books. This plays an important role towards ensuring that today’s students grow up as responsible adults in the future.
Make ‘smart’ use of technology
Technology will be integral to the lives of the future generation, to the extent that we cannot imagine. However, as guardians of the future, our job is to educate children about balancing the use of technology in their day to day lives. So, while spending too much time on a virtual reality game show could hamper productivity, time spent with an innovative book platform like Fiction Express that lets students connect with professional authors and co-create stories could add to the skills. Parents and teachers should also stay abreast with the latest developments in the tech world so that they may judge the good vs not so good and prepare students accordingly. At times, their own wards could be the source of their information. So, do not hesitate to learn a thing or two from them.
The above suggestions are only to trigger a thought about some new perspectives. This is only the bedrock from where each teacher and parents should add or innovate more ideas to make education more meaningful for the next generation. And yes, meaningful education certainly increases employability.
(The writer is AVP-Marketing, Eupheus Learning.)