Unleash the potential

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Unleash the potential of our future generations through Child-centered education

I will not hesitate to call the education system of our country dictatorial! My experience with the system is no different from what my children are experiencing today—the methods stifle their natural abilities and curb their creativity. The freedom to investigate, question and explore what they read or study is very limited. Although they study a lot, they don’t really “learn” much!

The sad fact is that parents do not realize the impact of our subject-oriented system on the lives of their children. They enroll their children in as many academic and extra-curricular courses as is possible, with the belief that this is in the child’s best interests. Unfortunately, this is a big mistake. This may ensure that the child secures employment in the future. However, they do not realize that the same child could accomplish much more if they were left to identify and master what really appealed to them. Our generation consists of  Jacks of all trades, and masters of none. I do not expect our children to be any different.

We still follow an education system that is outdated and impractical. Although the British who introduced it have long-since changed their approach to eductation, we still stick to the same methods with little to no improvement. We could perhaps have achieved much more had we stuck to the Gurukul system, and adapted the theory and techniques to make it work today. During the Vedic period, each child was taught at his pace. Although all-round knowledge was promoted, children specifically mastered the subjects that they could relate to. In spite of more resources and opportunities available today, do we see as many scholars as we did in that century?

class-raising-handsToday, a child’s urge to study further is rarely driven by passion for knowledge, it is normally for personal benefits like better employment. Schooling based on too many diverse subjects is to blame, as children do not have time to recognize or enjoy what they love.

I have often wondered why I never hear a parent say that they would like to see their child be a famous artist. Although we teach our children music, dance and art, they are not encouraged to pursue it in place of formal education. Even today Indian parents want their children to be doctors and engineers, and anything other than that is not considered worth the effort. The irony is that they believe there is no “scope” for anything else. This is sad, because many of our children are gifted in art, and yet most of our art forms are dying out.

The issue is not just with the education system, but also with us parents. Why are we so frightened to allow our children to be co-creators of their own learning? Why are we so scared to step away from the beaten path, although we are aware of the pitfalls of our system? Why do we still focus on rote learning and knowledge in books? Wouldn’t we prefer to see our children as creative geniuses, rather than academic toppers? This is not impossible, and would only depend on our attitude. It would make a great difference if we stopped grumbling endlessly of what our children aren’t achieving. We should instead take the initiative to embrace child-centered education theories and educate them in what they are good at, rather than what everyone else is doing.

About the Author: Sapna Jayaram

With the background of education in engineering and an under lying passion for writing Sapna is a full-time mother to two precious little men and wife to a wonderful man. Always on the lookout for new things to learn, she is a voracious reader, ambitious cook and an organizing freak. While she is not experimenting in kitchen, re-organizing the house or learning from the children, she is lost in the world of thoughts; thoughts that run faster than the wind as she try to tie them down with words before they elude her and are lost.

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