There are three parties which play a prominent role in the educational system of a country. The home where every child is a prospective student studying in the school, college and university of a nation. The school where every child is given the opportunity to learn a skill or task which will stand him or her in good stead in later life. The state where educational policies are formulated and implemented for the benefit of the individuals who form the citizenry of the country.
‘Home is where the heart is’ is a maxim which holds true to the education of an individual in all aspects. The physical aspect of the growing child is well-cared for by parents providing food, clothing and shelter. A good grounding in religious or spiritual knowledge for children fulfils the spiritual aspect. Proper mental development through knowledge of the basic 3R’s and more forms the mental aspect. Thus, the physical, spiritual and mental development of the individual forms his or her personality and outlook on life. In this sense, the individual is considered truly holistic.
A truly progressive society will ensure the individual receives a good education in its schools, colleges and universities. Society evolves rapidly when its members have access to an educational system that pits their thinking capabilities to the utmost. Man is a thinking animal. It is imperative that man employs his thinking skills to derive the best possible benefits in any situation. Man responds to each situation with the best available resources at his disposal. But all the available resources at his disposal will come to nought if he lacks the thinking capabilities to act.
The school affords the best place for an individual to train his thinking capabilities thoroughly. The two main ingredients vital in a school set-up are a challenging syllabus and good teaching staff. A challenging syllabus stimulates the student’s thinking to solve any problem quickly and successfully. A syllabus of this kind calls forth a mental discipline that tests the rigours of every information and detail presented to it. An alert mind differentiates the civilised from the brute. The individual possessed with a disciplined and alert mind is sure to take on the world with confidence and poise.
Even the best syllabus in the world will be useless unless it is complemented with good teaching staff. The teacher makes the difference. He can make the individual by developing his latent powers and bringing them to the fore. He can break the individual by restricting his thinking capabilities through a disorderly, chaotic and confusing teaching methodology. The teacher must be passionate and knowledgeable. One who has a passion for teaching will conduct one’s teaching as a labour of love. Every minute detail pertaining to the delivery of the subject matter will not escape the teacher’s attention. For a teacher, passion without knowledge is like a ship without a rudder. Knowledge changes constantly and a teacher who is not abreast of the current trends in his subject is a failure.
In teaching, what sets professionals apart from amateurs is their delivery of the subject matter. Careful preparation and organisation of the teaching material should keep in view the student’s level of understanding. The teacher should arouse interest and desire in the student to participate in the teaching process. The teacher succeeds when the student learns willingly. The student then knows that what is being taught benefits him in the long run. The inability of the teacher to kindle an interest in the student renders the teaching drudgery. The student then looks forward to the end of the teaching session. He becomes a passive observer of the teacher’s antics in the classroom.
The school is the main “bastion” of learning and thinking. Impressionable young minds are trained to be thinkers who will contribute to society in the future. Minds so trained will render society relevant to all sorts of shocks and setbacks facing the country. It enables a society to bounce back quickly after any crisis. Such a progressive society can only be achieved through a good educational system comprising schools which stimulate the students to think.
The role played by the state in the educational system of a country cannot be underestimated. The state must play an active role in overseeing the educational system in its entirety. Educational policies formulated should have the people’s best interests at heart. Only those directly involved in the educational sector should be allowed to determine the best course of action. In this manner, serious and tangible results are quickly achieved to bolster the educational system. Above all, the state must encourage serious discussions or debates among the stakeholders in the educational system. Parents can play an active role in this by channelling constructive feedback as to how their children are coping with studies. The teaching fraternity may suggest ways of improving the syllabuses and competency of teachers on a regular basis. The state officials have to be ‘partakers’ in listening, adopting and implementing suggestions that will bear fruit immediately.
The educational system is the lifeblood of a nation. Sown with great care, it will yield tremendous benefits to the people and the nation. Taken lightly, it will serve to degenerate society to its lowest ebb. A civilised and progressive society will strive to establish an educational system that inculcates intelligence-training among its members to the highest levels.