“I wish I could become the next Dancing star!” A 12-year-old boy from Delhi, Arjun wants to become the next dancing sensation of the nation. He saw his favorite dance reality show on TV, which filled him with energy, full of ambitious desires and dreams. He read newspaper articles about children achieving great heights, like Varun, aged 13 years; finest artist in the town, Sandhya aged 10 years; a well-known web developer and many more such countless kids. So, he just asked himself “why can’t I?” Well, that is a very genuine question.
To see his dreams come true, he just needs to join a reputed dance academy. But what if he aspires to be a dancer only? Why does he need to go to school and get Formal mode of Education? Home schooling is also an option, right? Well, we will be talking about all this and will try to understand why formal education is important for a child.
World is changing with lighting speed and there is high competition in every field. Many parents are switching to homeschooling and are avoiding schooling or we say formal form of education for many reasons. We need to understand that Foundation of every human is very important for the long-term sustainability and balance in life. Formal Education builds the core of any personality and this is what helps in keeping a strong foundation for the success of any person at his/her early age. So before proceeding further let us understand what education is all about.
What education actually means?
Education is not just about the ability to read and write. It refers to nourishing a person with knowledge, skills, values, building everlasting relationships with the peers, morals and creating his/her personality into a better being. This is the basic reason our education system keeps bringing different reforms to keep the system updated and give children a rock-solid foundation, so that they can sustain in the real world, set and achieve greater goals in future. However, formal education is not just about building a constructive future, it is a continuous path to fulfilment by learning, analyzing and making some life changing decisions for self and others. With the help of formal education all aspects of life whether it is about social, economic, political, technical or moral are taken care of. Our education system is designed around all this and thus schools play a pivotal role.
So first, we should learn and understand about different kinds of informal and formal education systems, then we will get a clear picture of what it is all about. In general, there are three types of education system, namely Informal, Non-Formal and Formal.
What Does Informal Education Implies?
In simple words, Informal education can refer to learning from our surroundings and experiences. There is no structure or institution to teach or guide. Mainly parents, surroundings, books, websites, Apps, TV and from more such sources education is imparted. It has no criteria or boundary; it’s something, which you can grasp from the infinity, in other word it’s intangible. It is an important aspect for one’s development but one really can’t solely depend on it cause without basic understanding it can sometimes be misleading.
Let us see what non-formal education refers to?
It is systematic, not bounded by age, it is flexible and can be molded as per individual requirements. It works on particular skills or ability of a person and not the overall learning and knowledge.
This kind of education is mainly based on practice and vocational training and it helps in developing the skills more by practical approach via theoretical learnings. It may or may not have professional certification. Fitness programs, community-based education courses, skill- based courses are some of the examples. As we have read about Arjun in the first para, this kind of education helps children who want to build their career in a specific sector like dance, acting, sports etc. However, the real question is whether this can actually prepare the generation to face the adversities of life. We will be discussing this but first let us see how Formal Education for a child makes the difference.
Formal Education is the key to all?
Formal Education refers to the systematic studies planned by the schooling system, which starts from elementary school to secondary school and then further leads to college and universities. It is provided under a very professional atmosphere of School premises and by well-trained and professional teachers. It has a proper structure and a systematic approach. It is time bound and does have a syllabus and pattern which is designed for step-by-step development of a child. Thus, the learning process is very systematic.
It aims at overall development of personality and character, with balance in knowledge, wisdom, intelligence and understanding. It conducts exams at regular intervals to keep a check on an overall development of every child and rewarding children with certifications and degrees, which showcase their potential and capabilities and build their self-confidence. It brings discipline and balance in the mind-set of the children. Since it is structured and provided by the well- trained professional teachers, it has a specific fee structure as well depending on the infrastructure of schools and the facilities provided by them.
Why is Formal Education so Important?
Well, in Arjun’s story, he wants to be a Dancing Star and for that he needs professional training for dance. Thus, for him formal education might not look so important but this is where Arjun will make a mistake if he quits schooling. It is certain that to fulfil his dreams he will be required to join some dance academy and brush up his skills and talent. But to attain name and fame he also needs to be social which then makes Formal Education inevitable. As we have read in the above para that Formal Education works on the overall development of every child, it also includes basic antiquates, knowledge about surroundings and so many such important things. In addition, with proper education he will get an exposure which will help him see his dreams come true.
Other than these direct benefits, formal education also provides a psychological environment for children for better understanding & growth. In the classroom, there are children from different communities, regions and of different potential, talent and capabilities. Formal Education helps in building a competitive approach, creating a social atmosphere, learning and understanding different cultures and giving unique experiences, which is not possible with just Informal and Non-Formal education. This in turn boosts the confidence of the children and expands their circle of knowledge more than just textbooks.
For children like Arjun and their parents it is important to know and understand that school these days understands the importance of extracurricular activities. Many different subjects like sports, music, computer, health and fitness, dance, acting, languages etc are also a part of formal education. In addition, they even take part in various competitions at various levels, which also brings exposure for them. Therefore, if they skip school, they may lose great opportunities to compete, perform and shine. These days almost everything is just a click away and everyone wants the shortcut for success, but success is not just achieving a particular goal. Real success refers to enjoying the cup of coffee at the peak of your career, with dignity and fearless attitude. Formal Education does nurture such sustainability for a longer run.
Here it doesn’t mean the Informal and Non-formal education are not important or don’t have any requirements or have any less importance. However, Formal education or Schooling shouldn’t be compromised for them, for any reasons like saving monthly fee or so on, because there is no replacement for formal education. So schooling is really important for every child as they deserve to get the best education. Other education systems can co-exist with academic/ schooling. It is good to refine potential and talent at a young age but it should work with proper academics, as that is what gives a strong foundation to the Core of a Child’s Personality.