Dear parents, all of us are in the same boat when it comes to our kids’ future. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainties for the both of us. From reduction in school curriculum, scheduling of online classes and loss of a ‘regular and normal way’ of education, these new situations have become a cause of worry for the parents and kids alike. Some of us, therefore, in desperation, are lapping over the online education platforms, in the search for compensation of lost time. Some don’t even have this access due to no availability of equipment or Internet connectivity. This online education, though, is the best option at hand.
We need to understand the essence and purpose of education to let go of the anxieties surrounding the future of our kids. Our lives have become very ‘achievementcentric’ with the entire onus of education being on “rank and marks”, where the focus should have been on fulfilling our social needs, and growth of the kids’ personality. Locked inside the house, Covid-19 has given us the opportunity to introspect and understand these realities better.
Online education, as of today, has become a forum of one-way interaction. It’s more a medium of instruction than of education, unlike formal schooling where education happens through every interaction may it be with teachers, with friends or with school staff. Education in formal schooling is an ongoing, twoway process, where each minute is teaching our kids some valuable lesson for life. It can be through lectures, school sports, etc.
Education is acquiring knowledge, developing the power of reasoning and applying the learnt lesson on practical situations. Classroom education gives an opportunity for getting information and its understanding in a collective milieu. The kids, therefore, not only gather information from the teachers but also learn from each other, which helps in their socialisation, getting them prepared for the vagaries of life. The peer group learning, thus, is an important aspect in kids’ life, which can never be compensated through an online education system. Further, for the development of emotional quotient, other kids, group studies and sports are important prerequisites. Kids’ surrounding atmosphere, peer group studies and sports become important prerequisites.
IQ relates directly to intellectual pursuits such as the ability to learn as well as understand and apply information through skill sets. EQ refers to an individual’s ability to perceive, control, evaluate, and express emotions. Emotional awareness is best inculcated from an early age by encouraging qualities like sharing, cooperation, help, assistance, thinking about and empathising with others. This therefore helps in team work, relationships in family, friends and at work places. Ironically, we expect our kids’ IQ development, so that they can crack the exams and score good marks but often neglect their EQ development, which help in their successful life journey. Only IQ may lead a person to be eccentric, whereas EQ makes a person, people-centric, suitable for the development and well-being of the self, family and society.
A good life is the result of our championing over these challenges. This journey doesn’t ask us for school/college marks or our ranks, except during the job interview stage. Once in the job or in profession, it’s our work and social interaction which matters. It’s therefore more of EQ than of IQ which play a role in our professional and personal journeys.
The Covid-19 time has given our kids ample time, at home. We may use this time, for their overall development by imparting practical and health education. Kids can be taught to cook, to fine-tune their skills of art and craft, to clean the house, to learn yoga, to work on their writing and language skills, to learn new skills and such others, which are useful for a better life. All these, may expose our kids to new experiences and emotions, contributing in development of their emotional quotient. These can be learnt easily at home, without much support and could result in better utilisation of Covid-19 times.
We, as a parent, therefore need not be worried, if kids are not taking their online classes seriously, or missing out due to lack of availability of equipment or access. This classroom information could be gathered at any stage of life. What can’t be are experiences, which every kid is missing, due to absence of formal schooling. Let’s, therefore, be assured that we are not missing much, if missing out on a few online classes.
‘IQ is important for winning the race, while EQ is important for winning life’.
Santosh Ajmera is an Indian Information Service officer, currently working with the I&B Ministry. Views are personal.