Monday, May 20, 2013

#TheGraduateDiaries Aims of Schools

Schools have aims right?

They have something they hope to achieve by providing education to students.
Most schools have to state this in less than ten words- and truth is some schools get it while others seem to veer way off the plot to me.

With the introduction of NOT-SO-FREE primary education in Kenya- there have been many institutions set up with the hope of educating students- but they fail in achieving this. So what should a school aim for?

Researchers say that of uttermost importance is the cultivation of minds- what kind of minds you may ask? Well, Intellectual minds.
See- according to historical events- schools were set up as institutions of academic excellence- where people would learn, speak, act and create in an intellectual manner- but all this is to be in a civilized and monitored manner. Everyone was to be treated equally- given the same opportunities but only respected and more so deemed different if they proved to be smarter than the others.
Hence first positions and last positions in exams.

So, in Kenya and having taken a look at Kisumu- most schools go by the motto "knowledge is power."

My former primary school - Arya Primary holds "success through efforts."
Xaverian believes education is the "fountain of excellence."
Kisumu Girls Secondary has something going on in French- I can neither spell it or pronounce it- but it has "luce...." something in it. If you ask me the only Luc- I know  means light, and Lucifer gave it a whole new meaning!

But- looking up on #TheGraduateDiaries I learned that most of the unemployed youth who graduated from universities have fond memories of their primary school life.
They recall the games, classes, teachers and even their dreams- and it got me asking, "what happened along the way?"
Some simply told me that they grew up! I will confess, I have not yet grown up because childhood tendencies are in my system as we speak. But- that's where I get to understand how to interact with children and it makes it fun to volunteer in homes. 

Why does a school's aim matter?

If you are taking your child to school- in Kenya parents have it easy- all they do is look at the TV or read a newspaper to know which schools topped the exams!
But, that should not be the case, right now as a parent one should ask- "what will you do to improve my child's methods of knowledge acquisition and application?"

It should not be about what rank the school is, but about what rank your child will be in or out of that school as an individual.
Will he/she pass exams but fail to stand before an audience and express his/her thoughts and feelings? Will he/she bring home a report card stamped "excellent" but fail to understand how to interact with you as his/her parents?

Schools can come up with excellent aims- because words are like bullets, you load them in a gun, secure a target, then aim- and await the results.
So, if they say that "knowledge is power" what kind of power will their knowledge add onto your already powerful child?
If the child will be told "hard work pays" will that mean being given tonnes of homework that renders your child nocturnal, bored and most of all unable to play with his/her friends?

Schools have aims- but a parent's aims for their child should surpass those that he/she is entrusting with his/her child. School may inculcate some things in your child, the house help might add others- but you should also as a parent ensure that you provide your child with the greatest knowledge of all- and that is the power to discern- help the child look into matters, let them ask questions, set them on track as they explore the answers and when they come to a conclusion- listen, and then let them thrive.

So, if your school did have an aim- what was it?
Did it really live up to that aim?
And as an alumnus, did you live up to that aim?

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How can one change the world if one identifies oneself with everybody?