All over the world children are expected to go to school and learn, to be educated so as to prepare them for their future. This is a good move, or is it really.?
We send our children off to school to learn facts and figures that will prepare them for work and life in the future.
So how do we prepare them for this future? Let’s look at Ronke a young graduates education journey in brief and see.
Ronke at one and a half years old started school, play-group. Mum had to get back to work and she did not feel comfortable leaving her for more than 7 hours daily with their house-help, so off to school was the general consensus in the family.
Poor Ronke was in shock as Mum dropped her off in this strange place where other children looking lost were also in shock. The lady looking after them looked stern and uninviting and the journey into learning 1, 2, 3 and A, B, C started. They had to repeat these names daily and a stick called a pencil was put in their hand. They had to learn how to copy these shapes.
This school business was really grueling for the young child.
Ronke who has now just graduated, was considering her options and really they were not too encouraging, her education from those early days had focused on preparing her for the next stage in her education, moving from nursery to primary, then secondary school and finally university.
At university the young maturing adults are supposed to learn how to fit into the working community. But the question is did the system actually even focus on this next stage of getting her ready for her working life?
First of all the question that lead to her medical degree was based on the premise of ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ and not on the many needs of her life at each moment in their life.
What needs you may ask?
How to look after herself, get things done. Ronke, like a lot of young graduates can do basic things now but sweeping, ironing, washing her clothes even underwear is a chore she would rather not do.
Other needs such as her innate interests which was really to create beautiful designs on paper and find ways of using her hands to mold same in 3-D. She was never allowed to do these things though. She was going to be a Doctor, so all her time was spent on Mathematics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Extra lessons, Holiday lessons, lessons, lessons and more lessons.
Well now she had completed her internship and had been offered a job at the Teaching Hospital, but really she was considering whether this was the way to go.
Secretly she has been looking into taking up a gold-smith internship with one of the gold jewelers where she could follow her creative dreams of making intricate designs! She knows that her parents will not be happy with this choice, but really this doctor business does not fill the burning desire she has to create.
There are so many youths like Ronke who have been pushed through the education system and groomed to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, they are not happy in their careers. Some of them are considering like Ronke to do the complete opposite of what they were trained to do. Yet some are oblivious to the fact that they have other potentials that they could reach. Beaten down by a system that prepares them for the adults world and not their worlds.
We have many graduates who are unable to find employment, as they have been tutored in subjects and career lines that are now non-existent or fast becoming extinct!
So looking at Ronke’s predicament and the employability status of a lot of young adults can we actually say that we have not failed in our efforts with our children’s education?
We need to rethink what we are doing and figure out the way forward. It is more important to concentrate on the needs of the child now than on the development of and advancement in technology.
Certaninly we must look to the future, hope is essential but we must also consider what we have now, children whom we must prepare for their own future!
Luckily we are now aware of the fact that the present we experience today will not be the same our children will experience in the next 20 years.
We must help our children know and understand what they have, their environment and the universe. We must allow our children to follow their interest. Children need to learn to be independent, learn to control their emotions and be self motivated. They must find their purpose. Our job as educators is to guide not to control.
Following the above will help and prepare our children to deal with what ever the future has to offer, skipping this and concentrating on coding, technology, just academics is not the answer.
How we use this information in designing our education system will determine whether we have prepared the way forward to help our children become everything they need to be to meet the challenges of their tomorrow.
This is the only way we can begin to educate our children and not fail them as we prepare them for their own future.