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EDUCATION: Teach children how to use their minds

Sunday, August 12, 2012

THERE is one fundamental question that needs to be addressed. Why do we send children to school? What do we hope the hours, months and years children spend in school will accomplish?

We need to accept that the product of education in its bare essentials is understanding, not rote performance.

The most important mission of schools should be to teach children how to use their minds — how to think and learn — so that as adults, they will be able to acquire whatever new knowledge and skills they may need. For education to become meaningful, tangible and practical, we need to understand much more about just what it means.

EDUCATION is a basic right. Every state or country is mandated to take full responsibility for the good and welfare of its citizens. Gone are the days when the chosen few were destined to be rulers, engineers, teachers and priests through education at the expense of the vast majority of peasants and labourers deprived of the privilege;

EDUCATION as an agent of change. It has been said that the heart of education is the education of the heart. As such, education is an agent of change: change of values, as well as structures. An educated person is one who has undergone the process of transformation. From a passive spectator of the events taking place in society, an educated person has become an active participant in the affairs of his/her community.

EDUCATION and development. Education leads to development. A skilled and knowledgeable citizen is key to development. Since education produces new knowledge, ability and skills in continuous improvement in all aspects, the growth of a national product is inevitable.

I believe it is time to open a can of worms pedagogically. Do we want to create a society of experts with knowledge an inch deep and a mile wide or would we rather have a society with surface knowledge of everything without expertise?

R. Murali Rajaratenam, Kuala Lumpur

Read more: EDUCATION: Teach children how to use their minds – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/education-teach-children-how-to-use-their-minds-1.123935#ixzz23O29rDMr