Remember those long, sleepless nights that we spent writing projects and assignments? Spending our days learning mathematical formulae and historical dates, which we later learnt weren’t of much help in practical life. Now as an adult, neither do we use a compass to make round rotis, nor do we measure the volume of our water buckets using those big formulae.
It’s kind of surprising that most of us know how plants make their food, but when it comes to making our own food, we can’t even differentiate between coriander and mint leaves. While in school, we are treated like bots who are programmed to function in a certain way, and if one of us dares to do something different, we are re-programmed to behave the same as designated, and obligated to follow the same old rules as defined since time immemorial.
Although, in the real world being street-smart is more helpful than being book-smart. An ideal education should aim at the holistic development of a student and should teach skills which will be practically useful in the real world.
So what are these ‘skills’ that we are talking about? There is no end to what one can learn in a lifetime, but these are a few skills that if taught in schools, would make the kids and their parents lives much easier, and the school curriculum a teeny-tiny bit more interesting.
COOKING: We all adorn the chef hat when it comes to cooking maggi, but that doesn’t mean we have ‘culinary’ skills. Still dreading over relocating to some other city? Only if you had learnt cooking early in life, you could have focused more on arranging the required funds for your overseas education, and not worry about having to survive on half-baked canned food. Knowing how to cook, even if it’s just ‘basic cooking’, will give you a sense of independence as you won’t have to rely on anyone. So yes, learn to cook or be willing to spend half your salary on Zomato and Swiggy.
PEOPLE MANAGEMENT: Jack and Jill went up the hill to set up their business units. Jack had better ideas and skills, but he was a poor leader. On the other hand, Jill had mediocre ideas but had great leadership skills and thus, could build a great team with good coordination. Jack’s business slowly went down the hill as his employees started leaving due to poor management. Jill didn’t come tumbling down since she encouraged active participation and innovation in her team, ultimately leading to higher productivity and profits.
An organisation is as good as its workforce is, and a leader is as good as its team. Students are our future leaders. Schools give theory lessons on the various types of business, what is management, etc. All these theoretical concepts can’t be properly executed without knowing about how to deal with people. Entrepreneurs should act like leaders and not just managers. Unfortunately, these skills are not given much importance in schools. Schools can conduct activities wherein students work in groups and learn about people management.
TAX FILING: How would we feel if our child starts talking about money and taxes at an age we were busy solving problems about the ‘X’ or THE ‘Ex’? It would seem as if our kid beat us at our own game. Filing tax is a key skill. We must be aware of the taxation process as it will help us save money, and protect us from fraudulent schemes. Schools must educate young students about the importance of paying tax, types of taxes, and how to complete tax filing as it will prepare them for handling their finance in future.
HEALTH MANAGEMENT: Good health is our greatest wealth, but do we treat it that way?
If someone gets a stroke or a fit, how will we handle the situation on the spot? These are a few crucial things that we must know, but sadly most of us don’t. Schools must implement classes wherein students are taught about how to tackle health-related emergencies.
The journey towards positive mental health is long and important. Children from a young age should be made aware about how mental health works and the impact it has on the lives of our dear ones and ours. We need to emphasize the need of sharing our emotions, and also the need to be a patient listener without being judgmental. Yoga and exercises should also be made a part of the curriculum as it can help students relieve from stress which their daily run of life might impose.
The schools should take a step ahead and address the elephant in the room. Girls menstruate and it’s normal.
Menstruation or even talking about it is still considered a taboo in many parts of the world. Hence, there is really less awareness amongst people about menstrual hygiene. Knowledge about menstruation is a step towards gender sensitization. Schools should include it in their curriculum to reduce the stigma that revolves around menstrual hygiene.
MONEY MANAGEMENT: Formal education has helped us earn money. It has taught us in brief about different investment options and quite a few sources of borrowings as well. But has it ever taught us how to manage money, or what factors affect the growth of money? From a young age, schools must teach about savings, budgeting, spending money, and later on, they should teach about investing too. We analyse the balance sheets of big companies but when it comes to handling our personal balance sheet, we often fail. There are so many loan defaulters as not many people spend their money wisely and take too many loans and EMIs. Students must understand the power of money and the impact of personal financial management. This will ensure that as grown-ups they are aware of how to handle money efficiently and put it into optimum use. We understand that this can be very challenging and to make learning easier, we have come up with an initiative to educate people about personal finance. Do check out our website for an overview.
These are a few topics that a school must cover while preparing its students to face the real world. These things are important for not just surviving but achieving in the real world. You might get a good job or enter a prestigious University with good grades, but you won’t be able to excel in your life without practical knowledge on how to perform things and moral values. Being in an educational institution where kids are sent to be nurtured and prepared to become better humans, these valuable lessons should be implemented for the better future of our kids.