The world that we live in may have advanced tremendously in terms of technology but, on an individual level, our mindsets still remain a bit primitive. The kind of education that we receive at the school-level hasn't changed in decades now. The curriculum hasn't evolved as much as it should have. If everything is changing why not something as basic as the education system? I say, schools need to go back to schools.
We know so little about the real life when we enter the real life, it isn't funny.
The more we talk about the education system, the more faults we can find. But today we shall talk about a few things that they should teach in schools that might be covered in a few schools but definitely aren't a part of an average curriculum and absolutely must be.
1. Social etiquette
Think about the last time you interacted with a kid. How did it go? Kids (imagine one with a phone each) are growing up faster than ever and their surroundings highly influence their behaviour. This is the reason why teaching good manners is really important. It is a social glue that allows disparate members of society to come together. This language, which is essentially what social etiquette is, needs to be taught to the new-age students so that they can communicate with peers and adults in order to acquire maximum advantage on an individual and community level.
2. How to get a job
In the post-recession economy, getting a job is one of the hardest challenges an individual would face. Working is never really a choice, for most of us. Therefore, it is imperative, that we empower our children with the right skills and tools that teach them how to get a job in the real world. We cannot emphasise enough on how much of a difference a cover letter, resume and interview can make. Only if we were taught these in schools, we wouldn’t make those silly mistakes that cost us a job.
3. How to learn
One’s ability to grasp things faster than the other person, no matter what topic it is, generally depends on the technique they use to learn what is in front of them. The time that we live in today, it is important for us to adapt and learn faster than ever. If you can’t keep up, you’re going to lose the game. Something called a growth mindset is believed to change the way we think about the subject in front of us. This Ted Talk by Carol Dweck talks exactly about that. There are several ways to solve a problem and, to succeed at something, one must find the shortest route to solve it. This can only be achieved if you have mastered the art of learning, that hardly any school teaches.
4. Communication skills
We learn a lot of things in school that we will, pretty much, never use in our lives again (cue: Calculus). But one thing that they rarely focus on, is something you’d need everyday whether it’s in an official environment or a relationship — how to communicate effectively. This is a broad topic that can range from how to negotiate with someone who is being argumentative or how to show respect to others in your conversation style either in your workplace or your personal life. This covers everything from email writing to public speaking, which are skills we all need at some point or the other in our lives. Would you disagree?
5. Money Management
I don’t have any savings and I know a lot of people who do. I don’t understand banks, credit card, insurance, or how to invest my money, for my old age. This one time I walked into the bank, my first time, and I was just like, “so how do you bank?” and bank was like, “hehe.” A lot of us pay heavy rents, students loans and high prices for basic necessities, it is important, more than ever, to teach kids how to manage their money better. It is a real struggle, to be honest. There are some basic principles like keeping a balanced budget that can easily be taught to children with lessons expanding to more broad topics like student loans and doing your own taxes as students reach the age of maturity.
6. Sex education
While policies for teaching sex education in schools vary around the world, it seems obvious that teens would benefit from learning about safe sex before heading to college. If you only get your information about sex from the internet, movies and TV, your knowledge about the same may be more than a little skewed. A lot of schools in India still continue to teach only about the importance of abstinence (or nothing at all), so there is absolutely no proper knowledge imparted to the students about teen pregnancies, STD’s, contraception and protection.
Most students will obtain an extremely basic science education at the very least but at the rate that technology is currently advancing, a basic education puts students way behind by the time they enter the workforce. Learning how to use Excel and make a PowerPoint presentation just isn’t enough anymore. There are now apps that can teach kids, as young as five, how to code and so it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to introduce the coding curriculum in high schools or even primary schools. With these skills, students have nearly limitless capabilities to create and impact the world.
8. How to make friends and love
This world seems to be struggling with emotional and personal problems more than anything else today. People are lonely, friendless, not loved, frustrated and that, in turn, makes them hopeless because they haven’t been taught how to deal with emotions as much as they know how to deal with numbers. But why this bias? Emotional intelligence isn’t something that just naturally comes to an individual, as presumed by many. Their only source of building on it is through varied experiences and most of them don’t witness a happy ending because they never figure out how to deal with it. And, sometimes, don’t even see it as a big problem.
9. Cooking skills
I moved out of my home when I was 19. I stayed in a hostel and, more often than not, the mess food sucked. I tried cooking for myself a couple of times but that sucked, too. So you know the obvious thing that I did right? Maggi. Obviously! The thing is, there will be a time in your life where y you will have to cook for yourself and even though this is something that can be taught at home, some parents aren’t equipped enough to do that. We understand it’s not that practical for some schools to have a dedicated kitchen to teach students but it would be beneficial to teach basic nutritional information to help kids make healthy food choices from an early age.
10. Internet safety
The youth of today spends a large amount of their time on the internet, so it does make a lot of sense to teach them how to protect themselves on the world wide web. We need to introduce basic lessons on the perils of being online whether it’s sexting, cyber bullying, social media awareness or online identity theft. Schools aren’t completely equipped to deal with issues pertaining to cyber safety but they should be.
11. Time management skills
These are the skills which are universally handy no matter where your life takes you. All of us have been there, pulling off an all-nighter at least once in our lives to finish an assignment we left to the last minute but with some simple time management techniques, students can easily avoid the stress that comes along with procrastination.
12. Media literacy
We are consuming information at a much higher rate than ever, in the history of time. The innumerable media houses out there are constantly vying for your attention. Kids are consuming so much information online and no matter what website they visit, they will undoubtedly be inundated with ads. One must be able to understand and question what they are watching in this 21st century. Providing kids with an understanding of how media messages are framed based on the biases of people who produce them is critical to their ability to navigate our information-heavy society.
13. Self defence
An individual must be able to protect themselves in a situation of emergency or an attack. Riots, mugging, fights, attempt to assault are more common than we realise. A basic knowledge on how one person can protect oneself shouldn’t be something that is left out of the curriculum or not addressed at all.
14. First aid
We know what first aid is. There have been workshops on the same, here and there, which we basically bunked because, come on! Here, the problem is the attitude. If the organisations don’t take them seriously, the kids wouldn’t either. Go back to the time you burnt yourself and had no idea what to apply to feel okay but instead decided to call your mom for directions. This is pitiful but all of us have been there! Kids must be taught to know how to respond to emergency situations, appropriately.
15. Survival skills
How to make something out of nothing is a very important lesson a school can teach a student, not only literally, but also metaphorically. Addressing crucial issues head on, and from an early stage, will indeed help in shaping the kids and equip them well to face life & all that it has to offer.
This was our list. Let us know what else we can add in the comments below. Cheers!