Trends in education come and go. A few years ago, everybody talked about STEM learning and the importance of a science-based curriculum that would give children the best possibilities of real-life success. Today, the covid-19 global pandemic has brought issues like distance learning, the role of technology, and interactive courses to the forefront.
Still, regardless of changes in subject matter and societal development, certain issues remain constant when it comes to education and continue to be as pertinent as ever.
Let us look at three of the most common ones.
Overseas Versus Domestic Schooling
In large, highly populated developing countries like China and India, most parents believe their children should enroll in an overseas university program rather than staying at home. It is true regardless of the area of interest of the kids.
For instance, if they want to major in economics or engineering, the United States and England are trendy choices. If, on the other hand, the children want to focus on studying performing arts, Australia is a country many Chinese and Indian parents will consider.
There are several reasons for this. First, many local companies place a high value on graduates from overseas universities. They believe the education not only to be better but also more relevant to real-life business.
Second, going to school in another country is a symbol of prestige and social status. Being able to say “my son graduated from a university in New York City” or “my daughter is now a freshman at the University of Melbourne” can go a long way.
Finally, many parents believe by sending their kids abroad, they are giving them the necessary tools to become self-sufficient and independent.
Whether this is true or not is up for debate. Still, the topic of overseas versus domestic schooling will always be present.
In the United States alone, around 20 percent of all students ages 12-18 have experienced bullying at school. Many of them are victims of this kind of treatment both at the school premises and outside. Furthermore, the bullying is not only done face to face but also includes chats and social media personal accounts.
These numbers should not surprise anyone. As long as some kids are bigger, stronger, better-looking, or wealthier than others, bullying will occur. The tendency to tease and make fun of those who cannot or are unwilling to fight back is an unfortunate part of human instinct. If it were only a phenomenon seen in schools, issues like power harassment and workplace bullying would not be so popular.
Thus, if it is in our nature to engage in this behavior, is there a solution to it? Or should we see it as kids will be kids, and eventually, they will grow out of it? Is it the sole responsibility of parents, or are school principals and educators also in charge of preventing these things from happening?
The answers we are looking for are unfortunately not as simple and straightforward as one would hope for. Yet, one option would be to look not at the person being bullied but at the bullies themselves.
Of course, we need to protect our children from others. But we should also look at why some kids engage in mean, disrespectful behavior towards others while many others don’t.
Gender Issues and Single-sex Education
There have been plenty of studies conducted on the differences in learning between boys and girls. Some believe that girls mature at a more rapid pace than boys and hence, reach adeptness in verbal communication at a younger age. Others think the differences are so small that they become negligible. Yet, as your father probably told you, if you are a boy, men should help their sisters and female classmates in subjects like math and science because they are “naturally” better at them.
If that is the case, can boys develop communication skills better if they are with other boys? Instead of being overwhelmed by the presence of girls and their gift of the gab, is it possible that they could gain confidence and learn how to speak faster if they could do so in an environment of peers of the same gender?
Nobody knows for sure. It is clear that even a quarter into the 21st century, there is still debate on the advantages and disadvantages of same-sex education compared to co-educational learning practices. And it is safe to say that they will never stop.
When it comes to education, three ever-present issues are the benefits of overseas education, the topic of school bullying, and issues related to gender. Luckily, the more people talk about them, the more improvement will occur, and the better solutions parents, educators, and government institutions will come up with.