It is here again. This perennial moment! A moment of search for a good school! Parents and guardians are abroad. They are searching for the ideal school for their children and wards. And this is not the first time. It is always there. Year after year! They knock off from work and businesses. They are on the roads. Parents of this millennium! They are always in a haste. And woe betides anybody who stands on their way. They would tear the person into pieces like an angry lion. For they are under a spell of a mad religion, whose god is the ideal school. It is once again the time to search for the ideal school. Parents are searching. Guardians are searching. It is a period of search.
One of the ways every parent cares for a child is to place her in a good school. This is born out of love and concern. It is this same reason that makes a parent buy expensive toys, clothes, medicine, and foot wear for her child. A parent's love for a child can be very strong. It was this type of love that prompted Abraham Lincoln to write his sons teacher informing him that his son would be starting school on a given day. Lincoln, amongst other things, requested that his son be dealt with gently. The primary concern is that the teacher might be able to instruct his child on the idea that academic scholarship would accompany the basic instruction of a character.
And we need not blame the parents. They understand the importance of education. Was it not Francis Bacon, who as far back as 1597, told us that knowledge is power? That is a famous proverb which, for Bharat Ratna, means that a person with knowledge can outwit the physical strength of any other person. Diogenes takes this further when he says that the foundation of every state is the education of its youth.
No parent wants her child to be inferior. She wants her to be great, greater than the father and mother. Greater than all her peers! And parents from all land and clime know the key to this greatness is education. Diogenes Laertius once told us the story of how, on one occasion, Aristotle was asked how much educated men were superior to those who were uneducated and he, without mincing words, replied it was as much as the living are to the dead. No wonder, then, parents go extra miles in placing their children in good schools.
A good school has some common attributes. It has quality leadership. It has high expectations of students as well as teachers. A good school has an ongoing evaluation. It has goals and directions. It is secure and organised. So wrote Mathew Lynch on June 29, 2016. And I believe he is right.
Today, some parents dream of schools where their children will never suffer. That is their ideal school. This group of parents want schools where their children will have everything at their beck and call. They deal with any teacher that flogs or punishes their children. They will prefer the school authorities pamper their children, spoon-feed them in the morning and sing lullaby for them at night. This is in contradistinction to what Confucius said many years ago. For the scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar. The modern parents should strive to discourage too much love of comfort in children if really they wish the children to be scholars.
Parents do not need to starve themselves in order to put their children in the best schools. The best school is relative, and in a way, idealistic. Parents and guardians should learn again to cut their coat according to their cloth. The ideal school needs not be far from home. It must not be expensive. It must not be a boarding school, or a day school. It does not even need to be popular.
And this calls to mind the essence of education. What really do parents want their children to get from school? Education. And what is education? Jennifer Dkhar holds that it is generally understood as a form of learning whereby knowledge, skills and habits are etched out in the minds of an individual through instruction, training, sharing and communicating. This is a way of saying that it is a transfer of information and knowledge from one individual to the other. And thus, education is formative. Walter Coffey in the same vein opines that all education should be directed toward the development of character, and sound character cannot be achieved if spiritual development is neglected. Robert Hutchins believes that the primary goal of education is to unsettle the minds of students, widen their horizons, inflame their intellect and teach them to think straight.
According to Wikipedia, a school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students, under the direction of teachers.
The ideal school for individual parents could be mission, private or public. Most mission schools are well equipped and lay emphasis on morality and character formation. But the same can obtain in private and public schools.
A good school is like a mother who has the metaphor and attractiveness of womanhood. It is beautiful and elegant. It is charming and gracious. That is the ideal school.
Proprietors of schools can make their schools reach the required standards. They can update the libraries with modern and relevant books. They can equip their science and computer laboratories. They can beautify and resuscitate the playground and the gardens. They can hire enough qualified teachers. They can beef up security. They can set up first aid boxes or clinics. They can partner with the Church to provide adequate and authentic spiritual or moral formation. But over and above all the foregoing, the proprietor can provide, if possible, potable water and electricity.
The government too should never relent in helping parents achieve their dreams of enrolling their children into their dream schools by continuous giving of grants and other aids to the schools. Good enough, we have a government that is education-friendly. Gone are the days when most of our schools are shrouded in decay, uncertainty and antiquity. May the mad rush for ideal schools stop now. May all schools be beautiful and elegant, charming and gracious.
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