Lets skip the introductions and jump right into it, shall we? Time is money and I know that if I don’t say something remotely witty, hilarious, scandalous or even offensive, you’re going to loose interest and swipe onto the next interesting thing in 3….2….1…
Okay lets do this.
Do you think you had a fulfilling experience at school? Do you think all the money your parents spent paying tuition went towards your overall betterment? Or have you always felt that there was something lacking?
It should be pretty evident by now that I agree with the latter. Let’s count off the things that I, personally, think could’ve been beneficial had they been a part of my schooling. This may or may not apply to you, but read on will you?
1. Tolerance & Acceptance
My class had about 20-25 pupils in middle school; in grade 11 I had about 50 classmates; in A-Levles I had around 200 peers. Two hundred people with different values, beliefs, identities, personalties, tastes etc. How great is that? And how great is it to experience diversity, without any judgement? Leave your judgement card at home the next time you go out, better yet just throw it away. Why does a person get bullied? Because they’re different? Because they don’t fit the very mould that you were cast from? Schools where tolerance is not taught and practiced are indirectly enabling the opposite. From a young age, children are judged on a countless number of things by their peers; these very children grow up and become adults that feel inferior and inadequate, seeking validation from others because nobody told them they’re perfectly okay just the way they are.
2. Emotional Quotient
For the longest period of time, IQ was thought to be the primary determinant of success and EQ was just a semi-obscure concept that many weren’t familiar with. However, emotional intelligence is a trait that can be learnt and honed, so why shouldn’t it be a part of the school curriculum? Life is more socially demanding now, than it was twenty or thirty years ago. So why not teach children something that will not only help them be more successful in life but also enable them to grow up and be more conscientious human beings. Would it not be easier if we knew how to deal with hardships, failure and loss before they slapped us in the face and derailed us completely?
Why so many exclamation marks, you ask? Why not! Tiny human people with tiny human brains are very very inquisitive: they want to know how, why, when and where. It generally helps if that information is provided to them in a logical and non-traumatising way. I, on the other hand was not that lucky and my experience was quite interesting. When I was 6 years old, another misguided 6 year old happened to tell me the following:-
“If a boy touches you ‘with feelings‘ you will get pregnant”
Can you image how difficult the next month or two were for me-‘pakran pakrai’ and ‘baraf pani’ were all the rage then- I finally succumbed and confided my fears to my mother who had a jolly good laugh over it.
Recently, I read that a school replaced their detention period with an hour of meditation and found that it had a very positive impact on the students. Now I’m not saying everybody should aspire to become a sufi or a monk, I’m merely suggesting that having the ability to calm yourself mentally, to tap into that inner strength is a skill that everybody should possess. You have to agree that everything and everyone is going bat shit crazy: the glaciers are melting; everyday another species is going extinct; the great barrier reef is dying. Very scary and intimidating shit with long term consequences and repercussions that will probably plague the generations to come is happening. So sit down on that mat, close your eyes, meditate and calm the hell down!
5. Number Five
I actually only had four points to make but five just seems like a more presentable number. Most of you have probably tuned out by now but thats okay, I’m not judging. Many people will argue that teachers are over worked and they are under paid and I wish I could put my money where my mouth is but right now I’m broke, so that wouldn’t really help anybody.
Some of you will argue that the majority of people in Pakistan don’t have access to schools, hell, they don’t have access to clean drinking water. The situation IS dire but it doesn’t have to be like this a few years from now. This ‘change’ that everybody has been waiting for, is not going to happen until everybody chips in. Imran Khan isn’t the solution; each and every one of us is. Damn, that got political real fast.
I am very grateful-insert Facebook’s purple flower here-that I had the chance to get an education in a country where many do not: either because of poverty or because of the never ending gender discrimination that flows through the veins of most men much like the Neelam River has been for eternity (slight exaggeration).
However, the optimist in me keeps on hoping that schools will one day decide to focus more on cultivating the minds of their pupils rather than just spoon feeding them facts and figures that are supposed to somehow help them navigate their way through life.