A good old proverb goes like this – give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
To elaborate what this means is, it is better to teach someone to do something for themselves than to actually do it for them. As parents/ educators that exactly is our job: Empowering our children with life skills that will help each child realize their fullest potential and blossom as happy individuals. And not only that, but also help each child meaningfully contribute to society as future leaders.
The Role of Education
Education has a defining role to play as well as having a sound philosophy at the core of our lives. And if we can integrate the two, we will have the finest blueprint for the betterment of our children’s future.
Talking about the role of education even the Government of India now recognizes the need for overhauling the entire education system right from the foundational stage that is as early as 3 -8 years in schools.
What is the National Education Policy (NEP) and its Key Highlights:
The National Education Policy 2020 drafted by the think tanks in the government addresses some key changes in the education system and rightly points out the need to incorporate life skills in mainstream education. The vision is to implement this new policy by 2022 across all schools in India.
Some Key highlights and excerpts from the NEP:
Education must move towards less content, and more towards learning about how to think critically and solve problems, how to be creative and multidisciplinary, and how to innovate, adapt, and absorb new material in novel and changing fields.
Pedagogy must evolve to make education more experiential, holistic, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible, and, of course, enjoyable.
Education must build character, enable learners to be ethical, rational, compassionate, and caring, while at the same time prepare them for gainful, fulfilling employment.National Education Policy 2020
The good news:
The aim of education will not only be cognitive development but also building character and creating holistic and well-rounded individuals equipped with the key 21st-century skill. All aspects of curriculum and pedagogy will be reoriented and revamped to attain these critical goals.
Early Child Care Education (ECCE) as proposed will focus on:
- Building life skills like creativity and critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making and innovation;
- Life skills such as communication, cooperation, teamwork, and resilience.
- Experiential learning for children where story telling based learning is certainly on the cards. There is a special mention about including the opportunity to read and learn from the original stories of the Panchatantra, Jataka, Hitopadesh, and other fun fables and inspiring tales from the Indian tradition and learn about their influences on global literature.
This is definitely a welcome announcement by the government but the actual implementation poses several challenges. Meanwhile, Nutspace has long envisioned this and already incorporated it in the various programs it offers. However, this is at a micro-level and our dream is to leave larger footprints wherein the parent involvement becomes crucial.
So what can you as a parent do to help your child build life skills?
Life skill education begins at home. I am sure most of you would agree that with the pandemic aggressively increasing homeschooling/online schooling is here to stay for a while. One challenge among many I face as a parent is inspiring and motivating my seven-year-old to complete his assignments and submit them on time.
I have tried several methods like talking, scolding, rewarding, mild punishment but none of them have a lasting effect. My bigger fear is that this should not become an attitudinal problem later on in life. I was beginning to lose my peace of mind and each day would end in squabbles with him.
It is only when I started writing this blog post did it occur to me that I should turn to a story to put my message across. And almost miraculously I laid my hands on a story called ‘Kankucho birds’ (A famous Buddhist parable from the book Cub Corner collection) that talks about the dire consequences of procrastination. It hasn’t made much of a difference yet but I am confident that conveying it through stories will have an effect sooner or later. He would be able to imbibe the messages and make them part of his life. An added advantage – the squabbles between us have significantly reduced creating a win-win situation for both.
So the difference you and I can make together
While schools, educators are playing their part, we in our individual capacities as parents can meaningfully contribute to this endeavor. Let’s nurture children by changing our approach towards education right at home. Let’s feed their mind with stories and give them food for thought that will help them acquire the skills needed for building a happy future. The tiny seeds we sow in their hearts today will determine what kind of human beings they turn into tomorrow.
“Education is not simply the transmission of knowledge. It is not simply the development of talent. Education is the great enterprise of steadily and surely passing on the fullness of humanity from past to the future.”
– Dr Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist, prolific writer, peace activist and educator.