Education: Time to change our old ways

These past few weeks, as the new school term drew near and finally school reopened, I began to reminisce about my days at school (not that far gone) and how important it was that I received a solid foundation at the primary school level.

It is that foundation that I received at my alma mater Kendriya Vidyalaya, Bowenpally, Secunderabad that I can proudly say has given me to be where I am today. Despite my natural intelligence, I honestly believe that had I not had those dedicated teachers urging me on, I would not have had the yearning for knowledge that I possess to this day.

Nevertheless, I think that then and now are worlds apart and by far the children of today can in no way be compared to the children of my era. They, I believe, are now more intelligent and bold, doing and saying things that would not be expected of young children.

School has become a ritual of certification, a badge for success, and almost a strange kind of religion.
School has become a ritual of certification, a badge for success, and almost a strange kind of religion.

This marked improvement in our children is not only with respect to the things they say or even do on a daily basis, but also with respect to their educational abilities. Many of them are now saying their first words at an earlier age, forming clear sentences in no time and learning to count a lot faster than I did when I was their age.

Now whether this is as some would argue, as a result of all the hormones we ingest in our foods or simply a matter of a species evolving, there can be no doubt that this is what is happening. As such, the old ways can no longer be employed to teach these children and I would argue that more creative methods must be employed to channel them in the right direction.

I am a little disappointed that our educational system is still limiting our children, though advancing in terms of the Information Technology, through various Edutech programs. I do not understand why it is that the students who are entering kindergarten/1st grade  and who are capable of doing a lot more than they are “supposed” to at that age are being stifled because others do not. Perhaps it is time that the our educational policies are changed in this regard.

Many of these students would, by the time they reach primary school, already have been exposed to a pre-school environment and some even exposed to the Montessori method of teaching. Now, I know that there are some of you who do not agree with the Montessori method of teaching, but I have seen firsthand what it can do for children. The Montessori method emphasises the uniqueness of each child and recognises that children are different from adults in the way they develop and think. As such, the focus is on the individuality of each child – their needs and talents, as opposed to the needs of the class as a whole.

Taking that into consideration, I think that during the summer holiday, when the schools have identified who their new students will be, there should be an evaluation done to get the teachers familiar with the students and their capabilities. This can be done by way of small tasks or tests to assess their level of education, after which they can be placed in a level commensurate with that level.

It can be done and I urge the principals and teachers to consider it, we could very well have more potential scholars out there who just need their chance to shine.

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