Saturday, September 18, 2021

Transition period

Editorial 2

It is said that the crux of social transformation and the continual challenge for sustenance of civilizational dynamics lies in ensuring a smooth and coherent social context for youths to function. This means the youths should have adequate scope for nurturing their varied talents to enable them to join the global race for competitiveness in an increasingly complex world. But where do we start? Given the social challenges we have faced during the last many decades, perhaps we have to start from the case of children, the very foundation to becoming youth. The Convention on the Rights of the Child enumerates the responsibilities of both parents and the state in connection with the right of children to know and be cared for. While the convention itself is not mandatory, almost all the countries of the world endeavour to care for the needs of children. In recent years, there has emerged healthy research at the global level on the needs of appropriate intervention to ensure children welfare. Under the influence of psychology, children were earlier considered as empty vessels with only the context of filling and the identity of agents filling them as important variables. This has now been changed towards a perspective wherein they are considered as “being” and “becoming”: human beings now, and the adults of tomorrow. This adoption of “being” and “becoming” perspective has brought to fore so many important areas for research as well as relevant policy orientation. While perspectives of the adult only were taken as the basis for decision making and policy evolution earlier, listening to the children themselves has now emerged as an important field of research. In fact, the present concern is to evolve appropriate methods and methodology for listening to the perspectives of children. One primary objective of catering to the right to know of children is reduction in the gap between the most advantaged and the most disadvantaged in so far as the opportunities for learning are concerned. This bridging of the gap irrespective of familial background has implications for psychobiological development of the children, and the future tranquility of society. And education is considered as the best panacea for poverty. While the most disadvantaged children today would naturally come from poor (in one way or another), education would enable them to escape from those constraints when they become adults. This benefit at the individual level has positive implications for social quality of life as well. In the global race for competitive supremacy, there is only one way to run ahead or at least maintain the competitiveness. This is to ensure quality in the present “being” of children so that they are fully equipped to shoulder the socio-economic responsibilities when they “become” adults. This immediately takes to the imperative urgency to seriously look at the school education scenario in our state. Here there is a fundamental need to reassess the roles, dynamics and delivery of the different stages of education. One can visualize three core objectives of school education (upto the twelfth standard). First, education till the end of secondary level should prepare the youths for appropriate orientation and background knowledge for modernization. It is the stage during which a scientific outlook would be instilled among the future generations. Second, education during this period should prepare the youths for entry into higher education. The manner of education provision during this period should enable the youths to reorient themselves as to their preparation for the next stage of their life. Third, education by the end of the secondary stage should prepare the youths for entry into the employment market for those who do not have the orientation and also those whose families cannot afford; the role of the state is altogether a different issue here. From these objectives of school education, it is easily evident that completion of the twelfth standard is a very significant transition period. In any society, the degree of smoothness or turbulence of the transition would differ from one youth to the other. Nevertheless, it remains the mandatory responsibility of any society and state that the transition should be made as smooth as possible. This is particularly because we are dealing with a very impressionable phase in the life of individuals.