Kids, family and education |

What Should Children Be Learning?


Now! Jakarta this month releases its annual School Directory which lists and details the top schools in Jakarta and Bali (and is available to all who want it by contacting the number at the end of this story) but as an introduction to it , we present a quick overview of the question we are asking about the whole role of education. What a huge and impossible to answer question: “What should children be learning?” We know the schools featured in our School Directory have thought long and hard about what they should be teaching our children and how, but as we read the news and absorb the traumas the world is going through, it seems to us that we have missed out some very basic elements in education, at least in previous generations, otherwise how could we have ended up with the many huge challenges the world is facing today?

Today’s education isn’t that different from one and two generations ago, which produced the current crop of World’s Leaders and their immediate predecessors and they despite their ‘education’ have taken the world down some very dangerous paths. After all, most, if not all, Presidents and Prime Ministers have at least degrees from good universities, and yet are capable of making some tragic mistakes in how they approach the whole system of government.  Let me explain the basis of what we believe is their wrong thinking: 

Economic growth is more important than protecting the planet. This has driven us into the often, uncaring, arms of the industrialists and more focus on ’money in the pocket’ rather than preserving the ‘air we breathe’, the ‘water we drink’, and the ‘nature that protects us all’. We need to completely de-emphasize the economic factor in education, which is -honestly- still the main driving force and motivation: university degree-to- good job and salary with a major company. We need to rethink what ‘success’ is and adjust what we teach as a result. 

Equality among people isn’t possible. Today we have a greater disparity of wealth than ever: the rich are richer, the poor are poorer and they are very much divided down ethnic, racial, and continental divisions. It is tragic that we can still be thinking and governing like that, and it is very quickly illustrated by the current “covid vaccine divide”. Look no further than the vaccination rate of the USA, UK and China against any country in Africa, or even between the rich and poor in any country. We must refocus all education on the equality of all human beings, and restore dignity.

Wealth is more important than health. Do today's school kids understand health, fitness, and nutrition better than before? Yes, probably, but health education including lifestyle and nutrition is still found not to be as important as ‘maths’ in most schools. We don’t agree. Let’s re-addresses the balance the education to things that ‘improve life’ not ‘increase wealth”, except if both are possible. 

We know many of you reading this will disagree with our thinking, reverting to old adage of making sure their kids have a ‘safe’ future. But when the world we are creating around our kids itself is not safe, being an accountant, a lawyer, or a ‘successful’ business person does not in any way prevent them from being seriously physically, or mentally, harmed by pollution, disease, war, natural disaster, and racial strife. 

We all need to be part of the solution - not to hide from the problems. Those days are over. And the starting point is what we teach in schools. 

Let’s re-assess what we should be teaching our children to prevent them from making our mistakes! 

To get your copy of the Now! Jakarta School Directory 2021/22 please click here