Since Monday the school children have been very excited every morning when they come to school – it is exam time again! They have their quarterly exams and have been learning, revising and practicing a lot in the past weeks. In this atmosphere a friend has asked me what I learned in school, what school gave me and whether I am using anything of what I have learned in my daily life.
Well, the very first answer is of course, I am daily using what I learned! I can read, I can write, I can count. I can write a proper Hindi text and I learned my first English words in school, even though I really learned talking only later. But the very basics, without which people stay illiterate, are leaned in school.
This is however not the answer with which I will remain. No, there is much more to what school gives you and why I think it is very important to go to school. The main thing is that your school education creates a base for learning, for taking in more information and for being open to discover this world.
Think about it: in the beginning children live with their parents and siblings. They get to know their small world. Then they go out and maybe play with neighbor kids. Of course their parents do their best to show them new wonders of the world but the school is the first place where they go, with the feeling of doing something official, something like their elder siblings do – and they start their own process learning.
Different teachers are then responsible to give this little mind new input. It is important what input but even more importantly they have to show children what to do with this input. In school you learn how to store new information, that you should soak up the information not only by learning it by heart but understanding it.
Ideally a school should show a child that the world is exciting, full of new things to learn and to discover. Children should go there with the enthusiasm of getting to know something new. This attitude will help them a lifetime long! Teachers should be loving guides in this journey, the ones who show the way and then let children walk their steps on their own.
Obviously, the ideal situation is not always reality and I guess we all have experienced that, too. There are always teachers who rather enjoy their position and power than the teaching itself. There are some subjects that we don’t like, there are some children in school because of which we don’t enjoy the class. But whoever has spent some years in school has at least got the basics not only of reading, writing and counting but of learning.
If they discover later, in another surrounding and with a topic that they like, that they have learned to learn, they will appreciate their school time. This ability to learn will empower them.
It is all of this why we have decided to open a school and teach children in a violence-free environment. Their future should be bright and we are planting the seeds for this.
I am happy to see them come to school, excited and a bit nervous. It makes me even happier to see them run home after lunch, today’s exam over, with the good feeling that they have answered all questions. They will remember their school time with happiness.