Monday, January 15, 2007


Of late, there is increasing realization that not all’s well with the youth in our country. Poor performance in sports at the international front has augmented this awareness culminating in the government setting up a special high powered committee to look into the matter of improving sports and to rectify our athletes’ performances especially in future medal winning capability. I believe that the real problem is more deeply rooted in the education that children have been receiving (and also not receiving) over the past twenty years or so.

Each child must be exposed to and allowed to interact in as many areas as possible that are neither entirely academic nor too similar in nature. An equal emphasis with meaningful exposure to all types of sports and the arts must be done from an early age itself so that the child develops a healthy and life-long love relationship with them. Besides sports, the arts too should receive equal focus in any remedial efforts if we are to rectify the current unsatisfactory situation amongst the youth.

The main problem clearly lies in the over-emphasis that has been placed upon children to achieve exemplary results in the public examinations by parents. Teachers have, over time, become accommodative of this trend. Children are supposed to develop their analytical and critical thinking which receive inconsequential attention in our public school system. Effective teaching and learning including curricular content are supposed to be child centered and not merely examination centered. All “chalk and talk” from teachers is definitely out. Today, the teacher’s role is that of a facilitator. Teachers know all such basic tenets of education but are not able to apply them. It is the mindset of the people who have control over them such as educational administrators and parents who force most teachers to ignore these basic tenets that they learn in their basic teacher program.

A better education in the actual school situation is what the young need. Achieving academic results by merely regurgitating facts in parrot fashion is not what constitutes good education. It has been said that a child who learns most is the one who asks the most questions and not the one who answers the most questions. Such an approach to education is definitely not in vogue today.

We simply cannot go on ignoring the social downslide and the many instances of social deviance that are daily making the news – rapes, white collar crimes and brutal senseless crimes are on the rise. Juveniles are not spared in this situation. Such increasing deviant behavior warrants more attention and supersedes all the lamentation we hear over the poor medals tally by our athletes. Responses and solutions far exceeding the “fire-fighting” type of exercise are immediately warranted.

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