Education and Academics are two key words of today especially as children begin schooling. Various updates about new pedagogy used by different schools and comparison of schools on social media and internet, based on a variety of criteria, really add to the dilemma about what is the right thing to do? Which is a better option for school? We first need to understand the individual meaning of each of these words ‘Education’ and ‘Academics’ in depth. We will then understand that they are inseparable, essential elements of a child’s early years. Looking at the past few decades the changes in society have been tremendously varied. Skill sets that we used to focus upon when we were at school and that we need or use today have changed a lot. Similarly if we think about 20 years from today when preschoolers of today are going to be entering the professional world, choosing careers, the skill sets needed have to be taken care of today. This implies that a lot of thinking has to go into the process of teaching-learning /schooling so as to help these children make appropriate choices and pursue the careers they wish for, smoothly. Our current education system revolves around the 3 R’s, a very traditional way of education. The need of the time is to strike a balance between the 3 R’s and all round development of the child. His IQ and EQ has to be taken care of equally. This is where we have to focus on understanding what is Academics and what is Education and how important is blending them together. We have often heard that Early years- 0 to 5 yrs are very important with respect to the child’s future. They certainly are. However, what we get to see is parents are so over protective about the kids that they do not allow the children freedom to explore their environment on their own, under adult supervision. They are pampered with love and material things, which instead of making them active are making children passive, possessive and dependent. Schools feel that the education that they provide has to be the best academic course that can be. Every activity has been designed planned in a way where the end product is already predicted. It is stereotype teacher led process. Unless there is freedom of expression to each child while he uses the art material and the readiness to accept and understand the child’s creation, creativity cannot be fostered. Creativity is a key skill for the 21 st century and has to be an integral part of Education. General Knowledge, Value Education, Social Service cannot become academic subjects that are graded for school record purpose, using question papers. They have to be practical oriented and scored according to children’s performance. Opportunities to work in the society through various activities such as surveys, conducting interviews, volunteering for social cause are very important. This is education at large. Academics that is generally known as numbers and alphabets is absolutely essential but not to be overtly given the importance.
There are 2 academic trends colliding here-
1. we’re expecting more from kids earlier, and
2. we’re starting them earlier.
Inspite of starting early with these academic skills we find that 90% children struggle in their Primary classes with numbers and alphabets be it reading or writing. Blending the right percentage of academics and education in the broader sense as discussed in the above content, is the key to success for these 21 st Century kids