The functional model of school had been under lens of critics for last few years. The prolonged pandemic has posed fresh questions and fresh confusions in the minds of parents.

#School #Education #Parenting #Homeschooling

The school days memory is usually very fond; but, seldom for the education itself. Schools that work on assembly-line pattern with every detail rigidly spread out suffocates the child. Such a design of education is already seen as one that is getting irrelevant. However, in the void of alternatives, we had been carrying on with whatever was available – with the traditional schools.

However, the prolonged pandemic has further exposed the crumbling fundamentals of schools system – incapable teachers, technological and administrative non-readiness and the disconnect child feels for the education itself. The parents as well as kids are asking silently this question – all this; what for…?

The new scenario that school system is facing today is not the faulty assembly-line pedagogy only; it is also about the very usefulness of “education” the way we know it.

Perhaps the time has come to completely discard the old formats of education in place of trying to think about reforming it. One cannot pin any hope on the NEP 2020 kind of work too, as it does not incorporate a shift in fundamental thinking.

What should parents consider?

Though we may not have ready-made alternatives, or even if there are, we may not yet be mentally prepared for such alternatives; here are few pointers for astute parents to consider –

[A] The new form of education has to move from structured (rigid, prescribed) curriculum year-after-year, to a more flexible self-designed a-la-carte style learning plan that parent and child could make combinations with.

[B] It is the parent and child who should decide what outcome they expect from learning process; and not what the market or society almost forces them to consider – school; engineering, IIT, graduation; competitive exams, PG, going abroad / to a metro city… Problems with such career path –

  1. It gets frustrating by mid-career – most of us know by experience
  2. There are unfair laws that depresses the real talent – we know about the irreparable system of reservation that legally restricts opportunities for education and jobs – a system that is more political than being developmental; and
  3. There is no rationale in wasting huge capital and many years for the schooling system that proves to be irrelevant after about 15 years of efforts by you and the child. Parents should, actually, make a financial and social estimate of cost of school education. I can help.

Alternatives?

If not the traditional school – the one that is trying to find its feet on the ground all over once again after the prolonged lock-down all over the world – if not such schools, then what options and alternatives do we have?

Giving suggestions, suggesting ideas and models – easy! More than such ideas, we need to check if some of us are mentally ready to discuss and accept and implement. I am sure, not all, but some parents will have this courage. Parents with such clear and bold thinking will connect with the article further; others will coil in. Remember, the industrial-era education system has this one postulate – parents are uneducated, hence, incapable to handle the child’s education. No more so.

One postulate of industrial-era education system – parents are uneducated, hence, incapable to handle the child’s education. No more so.

Arvind Agrawal

The new formats of child education will have the following salient features – most of them are not new. Most of these features already prevailed and were practiced in the pre-industrial era education system. Such a system produces well-cultured, self-starting, integrated personalities by the time the child becomes an active part of society as young citizen. Features include –

  • Students learn in real-time from interactions with people and events, rather than from books and “batches sitting inside the classroom for nearly entire day”
  • Assimilation happens when there is a discourse, rather than a one-way lecture
  • Child is actually eager to integrate and start contributing to the society at much early age (by 12-14) than when the traditional education system releases them to the world – by age 24-28. And, they are quite capable to do so if prepared well.
  • Child development happens best when the learning process is customized around her calling, her talent and her role in collective small community that she belongs to.
  • The fact remains that we learn more when we ACT + MAKE MISTAKES. The assembly-line education system makes making a mistake a case of punishment, a reason for the child getting ridiculed by teachers and classmates. This dilutes their desire to act + experiment; this triggers defensive-mechanism in their behavior.
  • It is a blunder to design education system with this thought that children need education only when they attain age of 4 or 5. The scientific fact is, the child brain is most ready to assimilate messages right within the womb, at embryo stage – and with perpetual imprint and assimilation of such messages happens what we know as “child development”

From Thoughts To Action

Can an education system incorporating these elements be designed? Yes, it can be. However, knowing the psychology of taking irreversible major decisions, I can say that estimated 98% of parents will stick to what is going on right now, especially if their children have crossed age of 12 or so, already studying grade 5-6 or above. Relatively, it may be an easier decision for parents whose children are still in age-group pre-birth to 5 – they may feel better prepared to steer the future of child the way it really works.

No one else can be as discerned about the child’s future as much the parents can be.

Arvind Agrawal

Remember – no one else can be as discerned about the child’s future as much the parents can be, and a well-wishing teacher can be. Blessed is the child whose parents have a heart of both.

Remember also – There is more to “learning” than what we are made to believe – that “learning = books, marks, class-smartness”.

I will be happy to help you envisage and design an Addwit School the way we think it is right; and help you steer future of your child, your family and a small community that you’d like to lead. Please get in touch – our contact details here.

(This article is being revised). I am trying to bring in the a section on – Role schools can play. Send in your suggestions to arvind@addwit.org

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