Sometime ago in an argument in which I was a spectator, a school proprietor was arguing that an intelligent child is one who scores brilliantly across the subjects. The counterpart inferred that a child cannot be called intelligent if the child does not have a well-rounded knowledge.
It was a raging argument and each of them was trying to push their ideas. But, thinking about the subject of the argument, a bookish individual with low personal knowledge or his community is likely a defeated intelligence.
If a school proprietor argues that students do not need to have knowledge of craft or even keeping his or her environment clean, what type of intelligence should the person claim to have? Such ideology when juxtaposed with what goes on in the society, one wonders the generation so groomed.
Few years ago, students were required to keep their environment clean; they cut grass, sweep and keep the school’s flowers well cut. They learn basic stitching and grooming and so much more but some schools nowadays seem to attach more importance to the fees and activities not gearing towards more hands-on activities such that they do not concentrate on building students’ self-confidence and self-reliance. Schools these days employ staff that undertake tasks that these students should do. Yet, not all the students lay their hands on any chore at home.
Education is not a one way training. It is supposed to be a well-balanced training. For one to be called an educated person, he should reflect a well rounded intelligence with the ability to handle basic things and have firm knowledge of their environment.
Passing exams is important but what about having good character and skills – lack of which often affects the society in diverse ways?
In addition to the classroom and curriculum education, alternative education should as well be explored. Merriam Webster defines it as, “an educational program or system that is separate from a mainstream educational program or system and that is designed especially for students with academic or behavioral difficulties.”
For the purpose of this write-up, I will define alternative education as any form of education outside of the classroom and curriculum. It involves reading other books, learning skills and home training which involves chores among other skills being learnt.
Every holiday period should be a period of alternative education for the students. It should be a time that they learn practical home management, active involvement in house chores. It is a time they learn skills like practical entrepreneurship, tailoring, mechanics, IT and other crafts that could be hands-on in their future. It is a time they are involved in reading books that are outside of their curriculum and a time to be involved in volunteering in social works or internships for future dreams. These activities widen the scope of knowledge of these students as they are important in their growth.
Holiday period, though is needed for relaxing after the hassle of exams, should not be a time for lesson teachers to also teach what is taught in the school. Let the holiday period be for extra training and learning in a relaxed mode without the strictness of evaluation and grading.
It is through these activities that students begin to develop and apply their creativity and critical abilities. These unleash their self-confidence and development of self-motivation.
Alternative education is important in making students become productive citizens and confident adults. It is important in the teaching of life lessons and personal strategies as it helps students identify issues, take up challenges, and cope with the negatives of failures.
In this holiday season, it is important to explore this form of education as it is beneficial even though it is simply an alternative to the mainstream education which cannot be taken for granted – it is the basis for future career. Both forms of education benefit the child and society.