Why Aren’t Today’s Students As Proficient As Ekalavya & Arjuna?

Why Aren’t Today’s Students As Proficient As Ekalavya & Arjuna?

Hindu mythology in many ways has shaped the education system of India.

Let’s take Mahabharat for instance; the first thing that comes to mind is the relationship between Ekalavya and Dronacharya. The immense trust instilled between teacher-student was developed not just by preaching and teaching, but also by setting live practical examples. Are schools today doing enough to offer all-rounded practical exposure? Probably NO.

Educational institutions are places where students hone their mental and physical capabilities and work towards becoming successful individuals. But schools today are not giving enough attention to ‘practical skills’ but are rather pushing kids to learn algebra.

The world is transforming at an unprecedented rate and it is equally important for schools to go beyond Physics and Algebra and introduce formal exposure to prepare them for the future long before they leave school. 

But what does exposure offer?

Even though schools offer a sound educational foundation and help develop discipline, it isn’t enough for students to survive on those principals' post-schooling years. The education system needs to stress on the development of practical skill and here’s why:

  • If formal exposure is offered at the schooling level – students will receive an opportunity to step out of their family networks and learn to rely on professional connections to develop career opportunities
  • Students will then go on to receive valuable skills such as resilience, teamwork, problem-solving and more
  • With kids spending more time on formal education, they might not be able to overcome worldly trouble as they enter the employment sector post 2 decades. Hence internships and mentoring programs need to be part of the regular curriculum to help bridge the gap
  • Students will be able to exponentially reduce the education to fulltime work transition period because they will be exposed to work reality early on

Will it help their career?

Career aspirations are often very varied at such a young age. But exposure to practical skills will help identify their career choices.

  • They will now be able to narrow down their career aspirations and not be stirred by gender/growth/financial stereotypes
  • Students will be able to identify their work of interest and begin pursuing the same
  • Exposure to career talks, field trips, etc. will further strengthen their decision-making skills
  • Vocational training will develop one core skill and will intrigue students to choose off the path career choices (with assistance)
  • Early career exposure will also help them acquire certification and accreditation thereby easing their employment transition

Are educational institutions well equipped?

The probable answer is NO. Child safety, new equipment know-how, and procurement policies are a few blockers, however, many educational institutions today could partner up with several industrial giants to create career-focused modules.  

Tapping into the classroom-workplace experience together could be difficult, but educational institutions could start by breaking down the systematic barriers.

Cracking a partnership is a lengthy process; in the meantime, the schools could initiate and develop internal practical courses like ‘taxation systems (how to file tax)’, ‘banking (how to balance a monetary account)’ etc. Schools should offer teachers practical training and develop their industry knowledge as an immediate resolution.

How are practical skills supposed to help my child?

Academics and practical knowledge are different and should be treated and formulated separately. While the former helps brain development and improves the implementation of discipline in everyday life, the later assist character-building avenues.

  1. Develop Motivation & Growth:

Students are likely to develop resilience, mettle, and entail a growth mindset towards worldly developments. Aided by practitioners in institutions, students can overcome failure by setting realistic expectations and goals. This style of sustainable learning creates an environment that encourages growth and the external rewards offer personal satisfaction.

  1. Boost Self Esteem

Exposure to internships and practical knowledge is known to boost one’s self-confidence. Be it in the field of public speaking, presentation making or just being able to pitch in new ideas. Once students realize that others can believe in them, they tend to believe in themselves too! However, it is equally important to monitor this trait. There is a silver lining between being confident and being overconfident. 

  1. Improve Communication

Being one of the most important aspects, students learn a multitude of interpersonal skills by watching industry individuals. As part of field trips or internships or even partner presentations, students grasp professional fluency and ultimately become comfortable in adapting the same. 

  1. Triggers Self Identification

Is this your dream or your parent’s dream? – These are the kind of questions students will be forced to ask themselves when they are let out into the world. Through practical skills, youngsters will be able to identify their area of interest and set goals and expectations to pursue them on their own terms. As parents, it is pivotal to develop them into better versions of themselves, but it is equally important to give them the freedom to figure things out on their own.

  1. Learn To Make Informed Decisions

Half baked knowledge never helps anyone, so as kids, they are intrigued to ask more questions, do better, and break all the barriers. Vocational skills help them question their ability and push them to do things differently, thereby helping them make better decisions in life. 

  1. Acceptance

Experiencing failure is part of the learning curve. However, when students become great at finding alternative solutions, you know they can see beyond failure, which is acceptance. Some might debate that this style of learning could be passive-aggressive; however, it removes the stigma from failing and in return encourages students to have a positive mindset. 

  1. Build Teamwork And Leadership Skills

You will always see a child playing with a group of friends, and if you notice closely, even if they disagree, they find a way to convince others to indulge in the same activity or agree instantly on what others have to say. So practical exposure hones a child’s nature and encourages them to learn to negotiate, develop self-control, and gain empathy. It also helps them establish roles and responsibilities to make informed decisions. 

In a nutshell, academics help foster a child’s creativity, build their nature, and sharpen their attributes; however, exposure lets them understand the various roles life has to offer. To produce an environment that creates successful and well-rounded individuals, both academics and exposure need to tread hand in hand! 

About the Author
Author: Manjula
Working as Senior Principal in one of the corporate school , Orchids,The International School , Bangalore Been in Educaiton Industry from past 20 years, started career as Math Teacher.

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