Expectation vs. Reality

By Jeanice Logan. Jeanice, 17, is a student at Lakshmi Girls' Hindu College. She lives in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago

Formal education is an imperative factor of socialization and it equips individuals with the skills needed in preparation for the maintenance of a civil society. However, I strongly encourage the formal education system to widen its capacity for the implementation of informal socialization, inclusion and improvement of the performing arts as well as the practice of practical examinations. Fran Lebowitz’s statement of, “In real life I assure you there is no such thing as algebra” forms the basis through which the relevance of the education system will be assessed in terms of application.

To begin, informal education refers to the cultivation of desirable social habits including sound judgment, development of a moral compass as well as the ability to exercise self-control. The installation of informal socialization in structured institutions like schools will activate the critical ability to discern and maintain integrity and conformity in accordance with morals and values, consequently, providing students with the flexibility required for any situation. Informal education within the curriculum allows for the student to simultaneously develop intellectually and ethically thus equipping individuals with the fundamentals to positively contribute to society. It can be argued that it is the family’s duty as a unit of socialization to ensure the installation of morals and values. But who will educate the individual whose family lacks solidarity or the individual who lacks a family due to untimely circumstances?

In addition, there should be an expansion of the school syllabus to incorporate the performing arts as viable career opportunities rather than “fun activities”. Students well versed in drama, dance, art and music should receive guidance in an organized setting which mirrors the standards of the academic experience. As the saying rightfully goes “You can’t judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree”, thus it is unrealistic to expect academic excellence from students pursuing professions in the artistic industry. The existence of institutions specifically catered for the performing arts does not guarantee an opportunity for economically challenged individuals. Thus including performing arts into the syllabus ensures students have equality and a variety of options for futuristic career choices.

Furthermore, the theoretical knowledge gained through the classroom setting must be utilized practically in the work space, thus practical examinations must be increased. Through practical examinations, students will gain experience and expertise in a “hands on” environment based on theoretical teachings. How many times have we heard we need experience when applying for a first time job? This practical application judged by professionals in their respective fields can appease that ridiculous demand. It is insufficient to task our future authors and historians with projects that can be easily completed with the internet and is it enough for our budding biologists, chemists and physicists to carry out mediocre experiments with lengthy lab reports?

In conclusion, the current education system can be expanded to accommodate relevant and necessary programs and practices to be used in the future by students. Fran Lebowitz’s previously stated quotation can be analyzed as a realistic representation of how applicable today’s curriculum is to everyday life. Despite the cynical undertone, it can be used as a testimonial review needed to improve and manage the school experience sustainably.

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