Monday, 16 July 2012

Lessons that ought to be taught at school

Exams have been done away at school or so i have been told. The small shoulders of school going children can carry only so much.The argument was competition for more and more 'marks' was driving Indian parents mad who in turn drove children mad and suicidal !

How about a volte face? Why not teach the children at school both at primary and secondary the life skills and habits that will actually do them good.
When i was in school we had moral science  and art and craft as a subject. In senior years[ VII,VIII,IX  and X] we girls at this convent school were taught basics of cooking and sewing with cold zeal but nevertheless a subject where one could get marks in SSC.

I can personally vouch that all the skills which i actually use i learnt at school. I didn't have to but it just turned out that way.There was way more innocence and respect for authority and we had okay teachers - most of them were average and lazy but there were 3-4 who were really good and most importantly kind ! Our class room size was around 50-60.

I or my sisters [we all studied in the same school] never really had issues with studies . We were hardworking, quiet students and we scored more than 85 % always.We got plenty of certificates for best student and one my siblings got them every year for every subject. My parents were cool,non competitive and naive.They thought we are scoring well so career wouldn't be a problem. Of course they were wrong : getting a job and advancing in a career for a Muslim woman was rarer and still rare in India.

Most people like to blame Muslims for lack of education .Look around there are so many educated muslims but they are still a rarity in Government jobs and muslim woman is just a statistic when it comes to competitive job markets. There is still no affirmative action as such for poor muslims.Thank god India's economy opened up .. now a muslim has equal chances in private sector. Atleast an educated muslim will get a job even if he has no contacts ! In india ,most muslims are business men : you can work and pray on your premises without the majority looking at you suspiciously or worst distrusting you just because you pray namaaz.

So here's what i think ought to be taught in school along with history and maths because from my experience i know a few years down the line when adulthood and responsibility stares down at you, you 'd wish for better coping skills and life skills.

1. Money management:
    From what i have seen around me: parents these days spoil their children silly.   They talk the language of money. They bribe and console with money. And then they are surprised why their children turn up the notch and heckles and are spoilt rotten !In some cases they have no respect for parents anymore.

Money just buys comfort and not happiness. Its value is only 'ascribed value'. Its only important when you don't have much or less of it.I think schools should take up teaching money management depending on their ages because most children learn nothing about it at home.

2. Moral science: I know ,...why do we need morals ? Disgusted as we may be with what is happening in India at present i doubt if present generation of kiddies are getting any moral education at home. There is no nani or dadaji to teach ethics and in some cases parents themselves have sketchy moral boundaries. nowadays, dadi or nani don't interfere in their grand children's upbringing in urban homes so as to not have clashes with the daughter in laws. Mothers don't have time to teach morals and Indian fathers [most of them] as usual do only one work: earning money and then sit and watch TV.

We used to have community living and moral science classes uptill sixth std. I was ok with those classes while i remember most of girls used to groan and complain because they used to not even pick up their plates at home and here in school we had to weed out gardens, water plants etc

3. Good manners:
   yep,strange as it may sound it would do well to teach very young boys and girls good manners at school. Nobody teaches their children to say thank you and sorrys strictly at home barring a few well mannered parents. Well mannered parents rarely translate into well mannered and conscientious children.It'd do world of good if guys were specifically told that urinating on the road as a norm is not ok and neither is clutching their private parts. Eve teasing is not ok. I think Indian boys are brought up very lethargically by parents when i think bringing up boys is a challenge in India today. One has to just look around and there are so many negative role models for guys. Girls are usually brought up like second class citizens and told to sit and talk and laugh in certain way. Be truly equal and teach the boys too !

5. Life skills:
      Cooking and bit of sewing, how to pay bills,How to buy and how to save . How to say no, how to be assertive, how to differentiate between good and bad, about consequences

We had knitting and crochet classes one year, art and craft another and i did what i wanted to do unabashedly. it helped my Mom knew sewing. But if i didn't have those classes at school , the germ of doing something with our own hands would not be sown in my head. I have knitted 5 sweaters in last 15 years, made atleast 17 salwar kameezes in last 5 years and countless repairs and alteration and mending.I Embroidered 7 ridas and 2 punjabis. I learnt the basics of embroidery, fabric painting and sewing at school. i doubt i would have done so much if i had not learnt in school. Sewing is delightful and instantly empowering !

And yeah teach the boys too. Teach them cooking and mending pro-actively so that they 'll see women less as housekeepers and more of human beings !At the same time they become self reliant and not mama's boys remembering mummy for only food and housekeeping !


  1. Girl you will be highly successful in life.. education always helps :)
    and you write pretty well :)
    The scenario at schools these days have completely changed,,I passed out my school class 12th in 06 and in these 6 years I have seen such a drastic change in the whole system of school,,the change is not good in my opinion.

    Good luck :) have a great weekend and I am ur new follower :)

  2. Women need to be proactive and smart about their finances-this is a super important skill to have.


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