When a seed is sown, it needs a perfect balance of water, temperature and good soil to germinate. Once the roots take hold, a sapling begins to emerge and eventually break through the soil making a mark in the outer world.
Likewise, when a child grows, he/she needs right conditions for growth along with development. Growth being a biological process is taken care of with proper food and nutrition, but what about the development of child? Food and nutrition only helps for physical growth, but overall development takes a lot more.
What is overall development?
Leading agencies like WHO broadly define four dimensions for children development (and to have healthy happy clapping kids #happyclappingkids):
1. Physical development: Healthy body has healthy mind and is the foundation for development of children. Balanced nutrition takes cares of this requirement along with activities which involves physical activities like sports.
2. Cognitive development: This covers the broad term “intelligence” which is ability to think, create, evolve basis learning and use the learning to solve problems.
3. Social development: Verbal and non-verbal communication with language skills, ability to express and feel comfortable in socially, ability to handle difficult adverse social settings
4. Emotional development: Confidence, self-esteem, maturity, self regulation, moral values, resilience, empathy etc.
Our traditional education model starts with schools where kids are trained in friendly environment along these dimensions. It is the schooling which decides the future personality of a child. School focus primarily on academics and the focus on other developmental needs are at best secondary.
A case study revealed that within an hour (60 minutes) of teacher student interaction, 40-45 minutes are spent on academics curriculum even for primary grade student.There is quite limited focus on the extra curricular activities. We did a quick check on a grade 4 student in Jaipur. She had 8 hours of extra curricular activities like drawing, sports, yoga, book reading etc. in a whole week of 35 hours.
On the contrary, in Finland, as part of the integrated school day programme kids spent 40-50% of their time on non-academic activities.
An argument that is often stated is that students need to be trained to work and earn a living. Academic training provides the same and hence the high focus by schools on this.
However, time and time again employers tell us that a degree alone is not indicative of a well-rounded graduate. They need the candidates to be not only know a particular academic subject but also have very essential skills like communication, group working, leadership etc.
If we do not see this writing on the wall, the repercussions will be dreadful. Maybe Mark Twain rightly said – “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
In a nutshell, the need of the hour is to impart such an education that not only focuses on academics, but also lets children discover and develop areas which may be suppressed somewhere under the heavy school bag.
In the long run, who knows what a seed can grow into on a fertile land!
We at HapClap are taking a small step to help in this mission.