Thursday, March 26, 2009
Are we preparing our children?
My son gave a joke to his classmates:
"What do you call an Indian Crab with a broken claw?"
When no response was forthcoming; he blurts out " Meh-hut-meh-ghundi!"
Blank faces looked back at him. "Meh hut he ghundi?" he said again. "Mahatma Ghandi?"
Still blank faces.
No one among his group of Private School educated friends..all about to sit the SEA exam knew who Ghandi was.
Then there was the Dinosaur issue. It sparked a huge angry debate as the more popular classmates insited that Dinosaurs are a hoax spread by scientists who want people to stop believing in the Bible.
What scares me, is the inability of these children to discuss, explore or investigate any topic which comes up in a conversation. They could discuss movies, games, and little else. They know the hottest singers and the brand of clothing they wear...and little else.
Why is is that parents continue to support an education system which does not make it mandatory that children are taught to use the tools they have at thier disposal? Why is it that computers still remain the domain of the affluent, and not a tool for learning.
Bermuda, a small island much like ours has a 85% internet penetration. This small island recognizes the need to prepare its children for the future. Our children don't "believe" in dinosaurs.......that like not believing in lions?
For the first seven years of their life, instead of exploring the world, learning skills and experimenting with concepts like mixtures and colours and the like, we cram them into boxes and force them to memorize time tables and how to spell words.
Very few of these children can transalate their time tables to calculate that if a snack costs $2., and they need to but 6 snacks, they need 2 x 6 = $12.....
They reach for the calculator to add 2, 6 times.
They are not taught to integrate the computer into school learning, a machine which is now becoming as nessecary in the home as a fridge or stove.
We are still in the dark ages.... we haven't yet learn't to ensure, as parents, that our children are exposed to as wide a range of topics as possible.
They leave school unable to think critically, unaware of issues in the wider world,and ill-equipped with the basic skills needed for the job market.
What exactly do they spend seven years in school doing other than preparing for this exam? When they have completed this process, are they richer for the experience? Have they grown, and explored all their interests? Are they better human beings after the time has passed?
Then what are they doing this for? To pick a prestige school? Or to sort out the "bright" from the "slow"?
Parents need to start putting pressure on the Stakeholders in Education to provide a system which is more in fitting with the times they are expecting to meet. And a system which enriches the individual and helps them find their true potential....