BEYOND THE 3R’S OF EDUCATION
Education begins at home. One does not only acquire knowledge from a teacher; one can learn and receive knowledge from a parent, family member and even an acquaintance. In almost all societies, attending school and receiving an education is extremely vital and necessary if one wants to achieve success. However, unfortunately we have places in the world, where not everyone has an opportunity to receive this formal type of education. The opportunities that are offered are greatly limited. Sometimes there are not enough resources to provide schooling. Furthermore because parents need their children to help them work in factories, have odd jobs, or just do farm work.
The purpose of education is to pass on some values from one generation onto the next, yet those values have changed somewhat since later generations explore new limits when it comes to student discipline, learning standards, the teaching of religion and other relevant issues. There has to be some kind of mirror between what the system teaches and what the dominant society around that system would like to see.
The role of a teacher in society is both significant and valuable. It has farreaching influence on the society he lives in and no other personality can have an influence more profound than that of a teacher. Students are deeply affected by the teacher's love and affection, his character, his competence, and his moral commitment. A popular teacher becomes a model for his students. The students try to follow their teacher in his manners, costumes, etiquette, style of conversation and his get up. He is their ideal.
Today, our education system has been reduced to mastering the three R’s. It is seen as a means of earning one’s livelihood. It has become an instrument for going up the social ladder, an instrument that has been much abused than used. The focus has shifted radically from character building to making the student more marketable in the job market.
Learning by rote has more emphasis than overall student development. If education was mere mastering of the physical and social sciences, why is there so much disharmony and unrest in society today? Why is there widespread disillusionment? Why is there no clarity about the path to be taken? Are we teaching our children to be upright citizens who have the moral courage to uphold their values in the face of a crisis? The answer would be an emphatic no! Obviously, there is a disconnection between our present day education and culture.
The fallout of all this is a section of freshly graduated students simply ill equipped to face the school called LIFE.
Probably, the better question to be raised is how well we know the very purpose of teaching the 3R’s in the classroom. It is indeed a mission to equip our students’ functional literacy required to be literate, but that must go beyond. The character that must be developed in order to transform numeracy into helping the less privileged people and English proficiency into more understanding human differences and difficulties that will lead to a genuine help must be listed in the very core values of education.
--oOo— The author is Master Teacher I at Porac Model Community High School