Food, shelter, clothing and education are the core components of life if one takes one’s personal moral beliefs as a given. In Sri Lanka education is one that we have messed up royally and which needs urgent reform. I know from the small days, we smugly used our literacy rate as a measure of education and now it seems a noose round our necks as we have failed to realize that literacy is just a minor aspect of education. It is merely a tool of learning, and fulfillment of learning, whatever it is we need to know.
The majority of parents completely leave education to the schools or the tuition factories to accomplish. However the recent results and high marks at exams have shown the most important component are the parents and the values inculcated in the home by them. The Schools with all the will in the world CANNOT replace the guidance and example shown by parents. Sri Lankan parents do not show this guidance and children suffer. Just go to the homes that have any reading matter other than the daily newspapers. I believe 75% of homes in Sri Lanka have NO reading matter despite the 500,000 who visited the recent International Book Exhibition at the BMICH.
So it is this culture of learning we must show by example. Children copy adults when they are small. They want to be like adults. So adults who read are a great source of inspiration for potential future leaders from our children. It is important that there are parent sessions in schools to reinforce this as a major source of positive reinforcement for their children to learn without being forced or coaxed.
Can anyone show me an avid reader who has NOT excelled in their studies? It just comes naturally to them. Let us therefore live by example. Have books around the house; read bed time stories to your children from a young age. It will be something they will look forward to and a good way to communicate with your offspring, and build a bond in an increasingly busy world.
These examples will go hand in hand in ensuring your child gets a head start, and despite or inspite of the school he goes to, he will be able to get on top, and not rely merely on exam results to show leadership and confidence which are part and parcel of a good education. The Cadets and Scouting are all areas that assist in leadership and life skills training which few state schools in Sri Lanka offer. It is therefore incumbent upon parents to make up the shortfall and do what is necessary to make good, what the schools lack. The parents need to go to class to learn to live by example if they wish a better future for their offspring as compared with theirs.