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Impact of private, international schools on children

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“Care about your children.  Just bless them instead of worrying, as every child is the little Buddha who helps his parents to grow up.” – Gautama Buddha

Schools are considered temples of learning, where the next generation is nurtured and nourished suitably to meet the demands of the society and the nation. A child spends 12 – 14 years of his/her life in school. These years see a child’s transformation from a kid to an adolescent, to an adult. Within this span of a dozen or more years the child learns about the world, the different forces that govern it, the different kinds of people and their languages and cultures. He/She is prepared to meet the world with knowledge, courage and to innovate and lead.

But sadly today, schools create a ‘robot-like’ next generation whose learning is just limited to facts and theories, and limits the child’s ability to think. Children are loaded with books and are forced to learn things even before understanding them. Students are taught things are supposed to learn at a higher grade, much earlier than what their little brains could accommodate. Unusual number of periods and umpteen number of subjects are imposed on those little children and force them to learn all in one year. In this regard, International Privates Schools, especially take the cake.  It is more foolish than remarkable to put pressure like this on little minds.

Children live in a pressure-cooker like atmosphere today. The sacrifice of childhood at the altar of pedagogical rigours begins sometimes even before the age of three, in nursery school where children are given homework – numbers to learn, alphabets to decipher – and then subjected to stringent tests.

So the work-load – in the form of homework – further burdens parents and children. It’s a vicious circle. All these pressures on little minds have given rise to psychosomatic illnesses in children. We hear every day how parents echo their sentiments: “My heart just breaks when I see my child loaded with many books and with homework.” The tragedy is that those children have no childhood left.

The burden imposed on parents is such that they dole out exorbitant amounts of money to these schools and colleges, expecting value for money.  We have to tell the parents that their absurdly high expectations are harming their children psychologically, as well as their achievements. They should be made aware of the fact that setting expectations too high is counterproductive

Although parental aspiration can help improve children’s academic performance, excessive parental aspiration can be poisonous. As a result, hundreds and thousands of school children in this country are today engaged in a rat race to the finish – a debilitating competition taking its toll on the quality of life and mental well-being of children.

It also scraps off recreation periods like physical education, co-curricular and intra- curricular activities periods extra to squeeze in more hours of science, maths, history, geography and computer studies. The poor students are hardly left with any time for play or to do crafts or arts to refresh and rejuvenate their minds.

Children forget to enjoy the small pleasures of life like enjoying the first rains, playing football just for the fun of it, rather than for getting the best players award, indulging in homegrown and indigenous traditional games.

Letting a child be what he or she is, while at the same time monitoring and channelizing their strengths and talents is what schools are supposed to do, and is what is expected of parents and teachers. Many children who are pressured into excelling by parents or teachers may gradually withdraw from them and shut down, say psychologists.

Such children may think they’re not important or loved enough by parents unless they are perfect, a standard to which few, if any, children can achieve. If you constantly demand A’s from your child, you may be sending the wrong message. Encourage him to do his best, but don’t act as if your child didn’t work or study hard enough if he gets a B instead of an A.

The constant struggle to get high grades is very high on the agenda of every parent. Even students who score in the 70s are often judged failures. Gone are the days when 50 per cent ensured a pass; when 60 per cent was considered very good, and 70, sheer brilliance. There are bright and sensitive children who score well into the 70s. But invariably stands only ranked 10th in the class. What a disaster.

Bringing up the next generation in the right way is no easy task, and does not simply include reading to them from textbooks and drawing diagrams on the board, but includes talking to them in person and understanding them for what they are. Applying the right amount of pressure can mold the raw talent into a reliable and wonderful personality, but excess pressure can damage the item and the raw talent would be lost to both his/her near and dear ones, as well as to the society.

Applying your child to maintain constant A’s or pressuring him to excel in an academic environment, regardless of his age, may create tension and anxiety in your child or teen. In older children, anxiety to perform academically may lead to eating disorders, excessive anxiety or worry, and erotic behaviour.

A child who is constantly berated for his or her grades or shamed when he or she brings home the report card, may ultimately begin to feel anger or resentment towards their parents. Invariably you may notice your child engaging in increasingly antisocial behaviors, such as refusal to follow rules or guidelines, lying, acting out, verbal outbursts and refusing to do homework.

Often, children are unable to express their feelings about stress, anxiety or even their performance in school. Such children often continually strive to impress, encourage pride, and receive the rewards of your love and adulation. If they do not get the expected ratings in their subjects, they often feel they have let you down. So be very much aware of your child’s emotional and mental outlook and health while still encouraging him to do his best.

In this context, we would appeal to the Government and the Ministry of Education, that they impose strict rules, regulations, terms and conditions on these private international colleges – streamline their syllabuses in accordance with their tender age and also have some sort of continuous monitoring as to their academic and extracurricular activities.

Because they are our children and they are our future and the future of our country.

ZULKIFLI NAZIM

 

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Opinion

A case study of graduate reality

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Date:14th September , 2020

Venue:Hikkaduwa Vocational Training Institute

Objective:The first day on the management of the training workshop conducted for the newly appointed graduates of the government

My Session that day was on “Introduction to management and implications”. On the first day, about 175 graduates participated and were given the following short case study, which I prepared as a practical activity.

Kelum and Sisira

Kelum and Sisira joined the public service in 2010. Both of them have the same degree from the same university. Kelum is from Kalutara and always arrives at work 30 minutes before the scheduled office hours. Kelum is very friendly with the people who come to meet him and he is always willing to help and directs the things he cannot do according to their needs. He is a great listener and uses the office phone professionally and in a friendly manner with great Public Relationship skills. Kelum is willing to extend his support for the people who come from remote areas to get the service from the office, and if they want to come back to the office he contacts them and updates them as he knows the value of time, money, and energy of poor people. Kelum, who is also the secretary of the organization’s welfare association, has donated blood eight times so far. He is always active in public affairs such as the institution’s sports festival and enjoys a very simple life.

Kelum’s friend Sisira also comes from Kalutara. He always comes to the institution late and it has become a habit. It’s not a problem for him. He also proudly states that he is a graduate and constantly compares himself with others. He constantly scolds some of his subordinates, calling them “idiots.” Also, friends say that Sisira has taken huge loans from financial institutions and is stuck in a debt trap by taking more loans to pay it off.

 

Expectation case study as

1. To educate Participants on some of the concepts related to management, such as planning, time management, communication, leadership, financial management and literacy, customer satisfaction.

2. To awaken the minds of the newly appointed graduates through socialization (with teamwork as a group) focusing on “attitude ” factor

3. As a practical activity, breaking away from traditional lectures, group discussions enhance the “sense of team spirit” and the ability to “present” oneself in front of a group of people.

I have seen their commitment to the preparation of group presentations and discussions for the activity, with enthusiasm and passion . The question we were asked in connection with this case study is how each group comprehends the case study, identifies the management concepts in it, and how to apply it to their lives. To our amazement, those graduates meticulously studied and presented the given case on “Kelum and Sisira” . They went ahead of our expectation and came with a critical analysis of work-life balance, motivation, interpersonal relationships, organizational hierarchy, social responsibility, authority, discipline, internal marketing of ethics, performance appraisal, and so on. This is all about high order thinking with ” Synthesizing ” in education! . Moreover that was one of my best sessions, which I experienced and enjoyed in the last two decades as a teacher.

 

Conclusion

Even if one passes the highly competitive Advanced Level examination, it is a challenge to enter the national universities in Sri Lanka. My observation, at Hikkaduwa, has a clear indication of the ability and talent of Sri Lankan graduates. The business consultant, Rasika Kaluarachchi, who lectured with me, said that polishing this gem (with better KSA – Knowledge, Skills and Attitude) is a task that leaders need to do. That should be one way in which we can achieve our sustainable economic growth for mother Sri Lanka!

 

Prof. NALIN ABEYSEKERA

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Opinion

‘Pol’ @ Rs.100

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The alarming news of Rs.100/- per coconut appears in all newspapers and politicians have ‘Gone to Town’ to impress the public, and hide the mismanagement of authorities to avoid such an increase in an essential item of food.

They seem unaware, or ignorant, of the reason for such an increase. In my view, the new trend in converting coconut to coconut powder by manufacturers, has brought about the shortage in the open market. These manufacturers buy almost all mature coconuts, at auctions, or from large producers, leaving only small coconuts for day-to-day buyers, thus there is a shortage; resulting in a price hike. In fact, I bought two small sized coconuts at Rs.75/- each at the local boutique yesterday, though not fully matured.

Authorities should see a way to reduce the price and at the same time not crumple the manufacturing industry. The packetted Coconut Milk Powder eases the working mothers of the time taken to grate fresh coconuts on a ‘Hiramane’. The only disadvantage is, we miss our POL SAMBOLA and grated coconut for our MALLUM’

CK
Boralesgamuwa

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Opinion

Jackals in protest

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There were recent reports about jackals (Nari or Hivallu) attacking villagers. Even nations, and boxers, know that attack is the best form of defence and so do animals, including cobras and other crawly creatures, like serpents. So, it is obvious why these jackals have attacked villagers. They, too, like to live and let live, if left alone, unlike ferocious animals, like leopards and tigers. Jackals are mainly scavengers and not man-eaters. There are no foxes or wolves in our country.

As recently as 65 – 70 years ago, in places about 25 – 30 miles away from Colombo, howling of jackals could be heard in the night. As children lived 27 miles out of Colombo, and frequently heard these howls, and our elders would ask us not to be frightened.

This was in the Gampaha District, 11 miles inland from Negombo and even then fairly well populated. Of course, there were the village drunkards and our neighbour was one of them, and we heard him bursting into songs, practically every night, after a good tot of kasippu (there was no kudu then). Whether the jackals were joining him, or howling because they were disturbed, we do not know.

The main reason, as I could see, why these innocent animals attack the villagers is due to the village “Chandiyas” trying to impress the other villagers that they are brave men, by going in groups with big poles. Now it is easy to see who the real culprits are. These Nariyas can’t afford to go on demonstrations carrying placards and blaming their MPs and government officials, unlike the two-legged Nari, even though there are some MPs and officials who belong to their own species!

ND

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