Have you ever thought about what role a child plays in our entire school education system? It always appears that they are treated as ‘products’ of the system. A great student gaining great marks in board examination is termed as a great product delivered by his/her school.. That’s how we major the ‘success’ of any school. If that being the case, the school becomes the processing unit or a ‘factory’. Boards and their curriculum are the ‘operating manuals’. Parents and the society become ‘customer’ who sees their ‘raw materials’ getting processed in the factory to transform into a ‘finished product’. The measurements of success are also simply decided … board exams ! Schools delivering on these are termed as ‘great institution’. Once the label is gained by the school then parents desperately seek admissions with unwritten undertaking that if their child fails to get good marks in no reflection on the ‘quality‘ of education the school is providing !
Sounds bit weird? But that’s what it is.
This is what we have been doing over last several decades. Schools are just ‘assembly lines’ running on board ‘prescriptions’. This factory has a set processes and conditions for every child caring a damn about their unique abilities and likings. Because we believe that every child has to go through this prescribed program in order to achieve success. They need to learn set of subjects, behave in prescribed manner, deliver results in exams and secure ranks. Some ‘assembly lines’ and little kind to learners who bother to mold their learning pedagogy by taking into account learning styles of children. However, they end up grilling same knowledge only with solace of making learning less painful for the child. Our hypocrisy is split wide open when we keep saying proudly that each child is unique, but end up putting them forcefully through a process of becoming. This gives rise to four outcomes.
Firstly, students who accustom themselves to this learning process, do academically well and still manage to preserve their uniqueness. Most of them are able to find their best in the process of achieving academic excellence. They are true geniuses but less in number. Second, who sacrifice their uniqueness to achieve academic results. These students are turned into machines, but appreciated as ‘achievers’. Thirdly, students who neither do justice to their uniqueness nor to academics. Unfortunately, they are large in numbers.
Fourth are rebels in the system, who preserve their uniqueness despite of being put through contradictions. System labels them as ‘failures’.
What an ‘achievement’ for us in making sure that most children fail in the journey of their lives ?
If we want to stop this cycle, then we need a disruptive change.
Look at children as consumers of the school system. Let them be the focal point. Preserving their uniqueness is the first cornerstone of building the learning process. Schools & Boards must become ‘laboratories’, and not factories to constantly help them to find out their unique skills, nourish them and empower each one to excel in those. Stop prescribing. Start adapting to their needs. Let the curriculum be modular and flexible for a child to pick up what supports them in exceling in their best. So if someone is good at music or theatre then he/she should pursue the same without being compelled to be good at maths.
This change in approach may sound bit radical, but is inevitable.
There cannot be a better way of helping our children to build their own futures in the area of their own strengths and likings, rather than pushing them to our ‘prescribed’ courses, which are now failing to deliver results for them. This will make them to achieve ‘success’ by giving their ‘best’ while being ‘happy’.
Modifying Osho’s quote here to summarise, “No child is superior, nobody is inferior, but no one is equal either. Children are simply unique and incomparable. You are you. I am I. I have to contribute my potential to life. You have to contribute your potential to life. I have to discover my own being; you have to discover your own being.”