What They Should be Teaching in Schools Today5:01:00 pm
I’ve been thinking about this topic for quite some time now, long before starting this blog. So today being the eve of Independence Day and all, I thought I might actually put those thoughts into words and thus this post was born!
Everyone agrees that the kind of education we get in most Indian schools today is of hardly any use once we are out in the big bad world. So I have put together a list of subjects that I personally think all kids should be taught, regardless of gender, caste/religion, socio-economic conditions, school syllabus, medium of instruction etc. Ok, I am certainly no expert on this, so these points are purely based on my experience :-)
- Health and Nutrition
This should go beyond the ‘We should eat fruits and vegetables to stay healthy’. How many servings of each food should we eat a day, how can you determine how much a serving is, what are the benefits of each food group, what are the cons of consuming an excess of any food group. Also, portion control, the importance of eating at the right time every day, and preferably sample menus. Every kid should grow up informed and able to make healthy food choices.
- Basic Cooking Skills
It would be great if everyone could prepare a basic meal of rice, lentils and vegetables by themselves. For one, it would do away with the gender stereotype of women slaving away in the kitchen while men watch the news waiting for dinner. Then it would ensure that no one would have to depend on any one else for a healthy meal – you can cook it yourself!! It would also introduce kids with talent to a whole new world of opportunities.
I have yet to meet someone for whom yoga hasn’t been of any help (after consistent practice). It is a workout for which you require no equipment/shoes etc. It ensures health and mobility in old age and anyone, at any age, in any place can do it. It’s best for kids to get trained as early as possible.
- Self Defense
This is especially important for girls, for obvious reasons. Domestic violence is an ugly reality in many households in India, and a girl who can kick some a** will stand a better chance of good treatment in her marital home compared to a doormat.
- Basic Laws of the Land
These would include the very basic laws regarding women’s empowerment, crime against women, consumer rights, the RTI act etc. Here it would also be necessary to learn basic traffic rules and also the consequences of breaking seemingly trivial laws – urinating in public, spitting on the road etc. Kids need to learn that there really are laws for such things and fines to pay for breaking them.
- Basic Banking Operations
There are so many educated adults I know who seem kind of lost when they enter a bank. Every boy and girl needs to be acquainted with basic banking terms and what they can do in a bank. Financial independence, specially for women, is a necessity and everyone should be able to handle their finances intelligently by themselves.
- Use of basic tools
This is also true of a lot of ‘educated’ people. Many women leave the ‘light-bulb’ changing task to their men, and then crib about it when they take too long. So the use of basic hardware should help everyone take care of minor repairs themselves, instead of forever waiting for the plumber/electrician/carpenter to show up for every tiny thing that goes wrong.
- Sex education
This is a no brainer. I don’t care who thinks sex information is taboo, it needs to be communicated to all children in the right dose by the right experts and NOT the Internet. This should obviously include how to differentiate ‘right touch’ and ‘wrong touch’ and what to do in case of the latter situation. Prevention is always better than cure.
- Fundamentals of most common Indian religions
Religion is this huge, explosive topic in India, at the root of which lies a lot of ignorance. Teaching all kids (caste/religion no bar) about the fundamentals of the most common Indian religions will help in some level to gain an understanding about what their brothers and sisters of other religions believe in. This should help in increasing tolerance and peace –
after all, isn’t that what all religions ultimately preach?
- Environment Friendliness
The Earth is not going to solve its pollution problems by itself, we have to do it. And everyone needs to realize the gravity of the current situation and start acting upon it. There are a lot of simple things that even kids can do – avoid littering to begin with, recycling, avoid plastic bags/bottles, saving water, harvesting rainwater etc. Awareness from a very young age onwards is bound to ingrain these acts naturally in them.
- Basic courtesy and manners
Ok, this might seem superficial and unimportant, but the fact is that a lot of people consider Indians an uncouth and rude people. We might argue that we don’t want to judge ourselves by the Western standards of culture and refinement, but the truth is we definitely have room for improvement here. Kids should learn to be considerate of their fellow passengers, to stop yelling, jumping queues, pushing others to get through and in general making everything seem like someone else’s fault. Agreed, the sheer size of the Indian population makes it difficult, but isn’t a billion smiles better than a billion frowns?
Image Courtesy: shemford
Well, those are my views on this topic, but I know that this list is far from complete. What do you think they should be teaching in schools in India today? Do add your thoughts in the comments section!!