I was in conversation with some teachers of State Schools in the Provinces, who made a startling observation about the parents of their charges, and the pressure they place on their children to attend all types of after school tuition classes, which result in their children’s inability to do ANY form of extra-curricular activity.
This means that either Cadeting, Scouting, Athletics, Contact Sports, Cricket Activity teachers have fewer kids following their programs. This goes completely against the grain of building leaders of the future, and well-rounded students who can take on all comers. Which begs the question, that we as a country is becoming further divided into Private Education, arming their charges to face the world as well rounded and consequently, children with many interests and pastimes, where Public Education is directing children further towards by rote education to pass exams, in the mistaken belief of parents that, these extra-curricular activity is OF NO USE for later life.
This together with the spoilt generations, where mothers take their children by scooter to school, or the father by motorbike, means they refuse to walk the 15 minutes to school from villages, if either of them is indisposed, that they resort to ordering the local three wheeler driver to take them instead. This breeds a child who has never walked to school, is NOT used to getting any exercise, as they don’t do any sport activity either, effectively leading to childhood obesity, due to COMPLICITY on the part of parents who don’t seem to understand how seriously their actions, giving into their children’s needs, to say nothing of the smart phone menace that has now embroiled all rural schools, as a fad, is now producing a zombie.
The child does not know the way to their own school if they are taken by car, as the child is engrossed in their phones all the way to school! They cannot find their way to school, they have lost any sense of direction, independence, and assertiveness of doing things on their own, having everything done for them.
If this sounds like how Colombo 7 children, think again. The Colombo children are encouraged on the whole by enlightened parents to follow other pursuits, and parents often get very involved in their children’s activity through active parent teacher groups encouraged by the schools.
In provincial and rural schools, teachers don’t encourage parental involvement, many teach not for the love of teaching but for the appointment at the rural school they receive “as a right of passage” looking for the first opportunity to be transferred! How then can students get a good education?
When pressed for answers from parents in the provinces when I made this accusation direct to them as to why they don’t encourage their kids to be more independent, they gave some very disturbing reasons.
One was that all children follow their peers. They cannot study without going to tuition, because not only are teachers not up to teaching standard, but all their friends also go to tuition, so they insist on it. If asked to go to Cadet, they say that it is NOT safe as the children will be mixing with rough kids of the neighborhood and become part of these school gangs and also get introduced to the drug culture lurking around in schools, when they turn their heads from having their children under their constant gaze!
I found this excuse quite unexpected! The fear of children getting introduced to soft of hard drugs was paramount. They cant even trust peppermint as drugs are infused in such products, and they have to protect their children from them. I don’t know how true this is in reality, but it is definitely a reason given for being overprotective over their kids.
I am at a loss as to what to do in this situation! Does it mean we are bringing up different types of students from different backgrounds and open to all sorts of addictions which were NOT present in our day. They tell me that International Schools are also hives of drug activity, so they don’t see that those children get a better education despite the results overall to the contrary.
I believe that parental involvement of parents is the KEY. Rich or poor, we cannot trust the environment around our children, but we MUST get involved in making every attempt that they get an all-round education that will build character and leadership, being able to stand on their own feet in society, and be empowered to become independent despite close parental supervision in their progress, with or without tuition.
So how do we go about doing this? Parents education of how to manage the pressures of today’s society, with a drug culture that pervades Cities and Villages alike. We may have to explain to them what is needed in society for their children to succeed in a competitive world, not being mollycoddled to an extent of being unable to do anything for themselves.
So how can we explain the importance of BAHIRA AVABODAYA? Especially as today’s children are stuck in their own world, home, smart phone, selfishness, not sharing with others, or for that matter not even playing with others at home or at school, with at most one best friend with whom they will do all their after school activity. This I believe is an important topic for discussion in developing a broad based education for our youth.