Danni Rais 

 

 Danni Rais

 Political and Humanitarian Activist

 

 

Education Begins From Home

When one speaks of ‘education’, it is usually related to an institution dedicated to teaching the minds of, more often than not, young ones. The medium of education is therefore the responsibility of teachers and lecturers, to educate according to a set system, for the sake of the future generation. Home, on the other hand, is not often related to education, and is a place of refuge and safety, of family and loved ones.

It is imperative to note that the holistic meaning of education encompasses daily life, in that the wise often look to educate themselves from every situation that the normal man would be quick to disregard. However, that is in relation to the initiative of an individual. From the womb of our beloved mothers to our formative years, prior to entering the rigid web of dictated education, every human being has been going to an informal learning process, with the first point of contact being our parents. As such, habits, culture, tradition, and practices often come from home. Therefore, why is this practice forgotten once a child enters school? Should there not be more emphasis placed in education coming from home?

Education is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of a young individual’s life in this day and age, although the argument for the right to education for all shall be left to another time. Education in this context is often referred to what is taught to students according to a certain syllabus set within the confines of a permanent structure. Such institutions of learning does indeed make up an integral part of life, though we are quick to neglect the fact that education is not only relevant to textbooks, but also the education of life

If all men were equals, it would be the soft skills of an individual that characterises  and differentiates them. Language, for example, can only be truly learnt with enough practice. The language that we often pick up first would be the language that our parents converse in. Certainly it is called ‘mother tongue’ for a reason! It certainly isn’t unusual to note a direct correlation between fluency of a language vis a vis the medium of communication at home, and while many Malaysians are now bilingual, their default language will be based on the company they spend time with most.

Which brings to the point of English proficiency, or the lack of it, and the worrying downward spiral seen in many local graduates, although a case can surprisingly also be made against the product of foreign education system. When the country fails to produce such a skill set, upon whom should the blame fall on? Even if the education system were to prioritise English as a must-pass subject, without practice of conversing it at home or with our closest associates, such efforts may unfortunately come to nought. Similarly, if one were to study overseas in an English speaking country, but only surrounds themselves with the same community from back home, there is no room for improvement in practicing English.

The famous adage that manners maketh man is also an example as to where education begins from home. Courtesy and civic consciousness is emulated from the practices found at home. If children are taught to be kind to one another, to have basic manners of saying thank you to strangers, or even the old art of ‘salam’ in which a hand shake towards an elder requires the bending towards the hands as a mark of respect, will have a great impact in a child’s later years on how they treat one another.

The school system can only educate to an extent. Certain crucial soft skills however must be taught from an early age at home. Certainly such issues need to be identified from teachers itself, and for there to be a healthy communication between the school and parents, to highlight to caring parents areas in which teachers are unable to cover. Building the future may require the cultivation of many generations to become the ideal society we wish for, however it only takes the failure of one generation to start it all over again.

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