My daughter Amatur Rahman Maryam is studying in 5th standard in a reputed school in my home town. You know at this stage every child starts recognizing things and can differentiate between right and wrong.
I used to ask about her school activities, not straight on the academics all the time rather focusing on mingling with fellow students and cooperation with each other.
Things are ok as the school is managed by our Christian brethren who are well known for running their institutions to the precision of perfection.
When I asked my daughter about her close friends, she named a Muslim girl. I advise her to be close and make friendship with non-Muslim girls. She listened quite strangely and the way she responded was quite strange too, rather an eye-opener for me.
What she said was, the non-Muslim students say that “we are non-veg, we are unclean and friendship with us is inadvisable. Further she said; Muslims take bath just once a week, particularly on Fridays, so we maintain distance with you people”.
I just wonder what would be the fate of a country whose tender generation is so confused and misunderstood at an age which is, by all means, receptive for inculcation of noble values and rightful attitudes.
I didn’t get into the details of how teachers are responding to this type of student’s mentality? But we need to assess the issue as a whole, the educational contents the pedagogical issues, the nature of student’s presence and participation and the way students are being taught to live in a plural society.
What I advised my daughter was just a right attitude, quite appropriate for the kids of this age. The emphasis was on “even a painful association is far better than a peaceful loneliness”. I think this should form a prerequisite for living as a beneficial citizen in a plural society. It ensures individual and collective contributions. It facilitates them to get the essence of tolerance, open-mindedness and the dynamics of mutual cooperation.
1) As far taking bath, it’s about cleanliness and hygiene, what needed is sincere attempt for introspection and betterment. It becomes quite essential if we look at a common belief that the Muslim localities are barred of cleanliness and hygiene.
2) We live in a plural society and feel that the true development of our country heavily depends on mutual understanding and cooperation. Now, have a look at the school, to be more specific a class room. It comprises of just a few boys and girls. It seems our educational system is quite insufficient to ensure a balanced view of the students even of this minuscule size. Just imagine on what accounts the prevailing educational system could set right huge and diversified country? How it could prepare and motivate the new generation to strive collectively for the overall development of the nation and its people?
3) One thing is sure, the present educational system and the way we are dealing with our younger generation with our own teaching-methodologies are quite insufficient to bring about desirable changes. What needed is an “in and off the school transformation”. For which a teacher should have following in her focus:
- Students with cultural misunderstandings may not gel well with other students for their mutual academic understanding which is quite essential for a notable progress of both individuals and the institutions.
- Students should be trained to have a balanced thought and approach towards religious beliefs and sentiments. A teacher has a decisive role to play with a close-to-heart interaction with her pupil.
- In a plural society sectarian thoughts and efforts for exclusive-community development will not help build India of our dreams. We should form a lofty mission of the institution then it has to be synchronized with an idea of a vibrant and flourishing India. With such individual (school) and collective vision (India) a school can run on dream basis and can produce beneficial-students for both society and the nation.
4) The content for inculcation of moral values and a close-up interaction of a teacher with the students is essential. It requires a strong connection between home and school. It requires development of an efficient triangle of Parent-Teacher-Student, in particular Mother. There has to be a precise understanding between the triangle as to what is being intended and what is being expected. The crux of which has to be an all pervasive statement…. A teacher should be an-assistant mother at school and a mother should behave as an assistant-teacher at home. In short, the effectiveness of this triangle can make a visible-difference.
© Muhammad Abdullah Javed – August 2017
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