The role of ed­u­ca­tion in chart­ing a child’s fu­ture

Medicine Hat News - - COMMENTS - Tim Kali­nowski

Ed­u­ca­tion has a value which goes well be­yond the prac­tices incorporated into a class­room set­ting. Ed­u­ca­tion, by ne­ces­sity, has to be a prepa­ra­tion for life be­yond it­self. Chil­dren won’t stay chil­dren for­ever, and those chil­dren need to be taught from a young age what it takes to suc­ceed in the world out­side. There seems to be a con­sen­sus around this idea, but the con­tro­versy erupts in the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Not ev­ery kid needs to grow up to be a doc­tor, lawyer or other pro­fes­sional in so­ci­ety. We equally need en­trepreneurs, trades­per­sons, peo­ple who can fill ser­vice jobs, tech­ni­cians and gen­eral labour­ers to make so­ci­ety work. How­ever, the com­mon­al­ity is the stu­dents must go out into the work­force, find a place com­men­su­rate with the skills, abil­i­ties and ed­u­ca­tion and set­tle in to fi­nan­cially sup­port them­selves and their fam­i­lies.

The role of ed­u­ca­tion should be geared to­ward find­ing a suc­cess­ful path to meet this fun­da­men­tal ob­jec­tive for the in­di­vid­u­als who pass through the sys­tem. Why do we need all kids to think like an his­to­rian or a sci­en­tist when not all paths are lead­ing in that di­rec­tion? If some­one’s in­tel­li­gence and in­cli­na­tion is geared to­ward be­ing suc­cess­ful in a trade post-school, why not cre­ate a learn­ing regime which suits that in­cli­na­tion in­stead of hav­ing these in­di­vid­u­als pushed in an aca­demic di­rec­tion which does not suit them?

There is some­thing to be said for a so-called “well­rounded” ed­u­ca­tion where stu­dents are ex­posed to dif­fer­ent as­pects to show them their options, but at some point in our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem we need to flip the switch and en­cour­age the stu­dent to spe­cial­ize and chart a course for their own great­est suc­cess after grad­u­a­tion.

School should not be the place where kids come to learn how to be good, moral cit­i­zens and up­stand­ing in­di­vid­u­als in so­ci­ety. After all that is what churches and fam­i­lies are for. Al­though some el­e­ment of that moral ed­u­ca­tion leaks in nat­u­rally when we teach about tol­er­ance and ac­cep­tance, it should not be the ab­so­lute fo­cus of an ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion. Rather, school should be a place where kids should go to learn the so­cial norms and ex­pec­ta­tions in or­der to be suc­cess­ful so­cial nav­i­ga­tors.

Sub­se­quent to that, ed­u­ca­tion needs to teach these kids the fun­da­men­tal skills they will need to be suc­cess­ful in their ca­reer paths, wher­ever they may lie.

“If some­one’s in­tel­li­gence and in­cli­na­tion is geared to­ward be­ing suc­cess­ful in a trade post-school, why not cre­ate a learn­ing regime which suits that in­cli­na­tion in­stead of hav­ing these in­di­vid­u­als pushed in an aca­demic di­rec­tion which does not suit them?”

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