23.2.11 | Post by Satwinder Singh
First of all, let me clarify that by ‘they’ I don’t mean just the teachers, but whoever is associated with the upbringing and teaching of children in school. We all know that life in school is precious for every child, it is what lays the foundation or base of character development. It determines what kind of a citizen that child is going to become when he or she grows up. Nothing can undermine the importance of school life. However, there are certain things which are not taught in majority of the schools. I shall discuss three of these things, and will give my views on the same.
i) Ethics and Morality:
Most schools do have a subject which deals with ethics, such as Moral Science, etc. However based on my personal experience, I would say that most students tend to take such subjects very lightly and often ignore them. In many schools, education dealing with Ethics is entirely omitted altogether. Teachers stress on the importance of learning Mathematics, Science, English and other subjects. They tell the students about the importance of scoring high in exams, and that their future depends on their academic performance. However hardly any teacher teaches about character development, morals, conscience, importance of good behavior, etiquette, how to treat women, poor people, etc. In today’s Scam hit world[especially with respect to the Indian context], people have started believing that its perfectly all right to be unethical as long as you manage to reach your goal and earn money. Intense competition in the corporate world has also resulted in the increase of nefarious practices worldwide. In some cases, even the parents do not bother with issues on ethics, honesty, etc. After all, if the father himself is paying and taking bribes, you certainly would not expect him to teach his son or daughter about the values of ethics.
ii) Finance Education:
As Robert Kiyosaki says in his famous book-‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, we hardly teach anything about finance to the young child. We give too much stress on technical knowledge[which will contribute to less than 10% in the child’s life], but we do not teach him/her about the importance of handling money. We do not tell him about assets and liabilities and how he should avoid extra expenses and focus on saving money. In fact, most schools do not even have a subject related to basic finance till the higher/secondary level, ie when the specialization starts. Even for students who take up commerce, finance is largely limited to memorizing inane data from extra fat textbooks. However it is quite possible and preferred that teachers teach about the importance of money at the primary school level itself. And rather than resorting to quote abstruse text, they should make an effort in making the concept seem simple to the students. In fact, students should be made to play simple finance based games, in which they have to maximize their assets and minimize their liabilities. This will help in a major way, when the child grows up and join an organization. Maintaining a record of income and expenditure from an early age is also useful.
iii) Career Counselling and Independence:
When a child is in school, he or she is usually not mature enough to take a big decision by himself. Parents and teachers must guide him/her in the right way and help him/her make a choice. Unfortunately, in real life scenario, we see that majority of the parents force their children to take up a career/path in which they[the children] have no interest in. This situation is extremely grave in Asian countries such as India and China, where there is intense competition to get admission into the top institutes of higher education[colleges and universities]. Career counseling in schools is almost non-existent. Teachers are not bothered about the child’s decision. They teach whatever they have to, take their salaries, and move on. Parents are more interested in showing off to others that their child has managed to get admission into a top institute. Hardly does any parent ask a child-‘What do you really want to do in life?’ Rather first he or she makes the decision and then instigates the child to follow the dictated path. Such forceful decisions can have serious negative repercussions on the child. He may fall into a state of depression if he does not like his college environment and in extreme cases may even commit suicide. Instead of forcing a child to do what we[the parents] want to do, rather we should let the child be independent from an early age onwards and let him take his own decision. Guidance must be provided but not at the cost of sacrificing the child’s passion. Forcing a child to become an Engineer or a Doctor against his/her will not make his life, rather it will break it.
Those were a few issues which many schools do not focus on. However I am optimistic in the sense that education can be made holistic and enjoyable for students, and hopefully we will see a positive change in future.
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