When you see this question what comes to your mind? Your own education? Ancient text books? Education in a different country? Home schooling? Or finding the best private institution in the world and sending your children there? Or a combination of all of these?
Now let’s look at the future, it is said that Artificial Intelligence is going to threaten 800 million jobs worldwide, climate change is already affecting our children as the air quality index has been consistently ‘poor’ for over 5 years, technology has accelerated the learning abilities of children and despite all this, our national curriculum is as old as our country’s independence.
So, how do we raise children in such times? We can’t do it alone, and we need a good school to help us create resilient individuals. Excellence in education is constantly being redefined, different schools have different visions with which they operate. Every school is trying their best to raise excellent, wholesome and well-rounded students. Now comes the dilemma, so how do we choose a good school.
- Focus on the future:
- Schools that operate with a future focus, know how to mend and bend the curriculum to their teaching methods. Great schools are the ones that understand that it is more important in this day and age to cater to a student’s skill sets and not just knowledge. This means that knowledge is given from the angle of sharpening skills rather than simply catering to their exam needs and getting a strong report card.
- Well-being: Stress is getting to students at younger ages, whether this is physical, mental, emotional or sexual (you read that correctly). Social media and news media has helped progress the minds of our young ones but it is clear that negative influences is far greater than the positive ones. So a good school is one, that is addressing the current challenges of this day and age. This not only requires a modern thinking and open-minded faculty but also a visionary school leader. Teachers have to combat, screen-addiction, gaming-addiction, they have to explain all that children see on their screens and furthermore great schools regularly train parents on creating healthy home atmospheres to create moderation and age appropriate filters.
- Career Development: If you still think Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer, think again. As much as these professions will be the standard, there a number of new professions coming up every day thanks to technology. Find a good career counsellor who is up to date and see if they have tie ups with schools, a good school is one that caters to all the career development needs of their students. They prepare them with their vision, focus and college work based on the student’s aptitude, schools that give ample time to extra curricular activity to hone these skill sets see happier students that are able to build better clarity in their thinking.
- Extra Edge: Students start preparing for extra credit as early as 8th grade because they understand what it means to have a strong portfolio. This includes various quotas of Delhi University or other national universities and preparation for colleges abroad. If you have to run from pillar to post outside of school to cater to your children’s extra curricular needs, or seek guidance for career development outside of school, chances are that the school is not completely up to date with international standards. But if you have the resources and wish to leave no stone unturned, don’t avoid these stones – they let your child create milestones.
For parents of young ones (elementary and below) the points mentioned above might not seem relevant, one might think ‘I can think about it when my ward gets to an older classroom’ well think again. Changing your child’s school at an older age might set them back socially in more ways than one is ready to handle. As much benefit a parent might see in shifting schools for their child, a child will see as many flaws in adjustment and other such issues that can set them back academically, socially, mentally and emotionally.
So instead of thinking about shifting your child out of an existing system, be involved in the school ecosystem and help the faculty and admin make necessary changes to make the school more current and relevant to this generation. Excellence requires a multi pronged approach!
Last but not the least, a school is where your child spends 1/3 of his or her day, the rest is spent at home, no matter how good a school is, home will always exude a greater influence. So let us remember to give our children the best home atmosphere to complement the one in school and take them into infinity and beyond.