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How education should be?

  1. Jun 27, 2012 #1
    Ok, I am not sure if this belongs to this forum so apologies if it is not.

    My question is that - Why parents focus only on science and maths ? What i mean to say is that the parents have already decided that their child will become an engineer before knwoing his interests and skills. In school all other subjects except science and maths are regarded as side-subjects.
    For me every subject - like drawing , history , civics , sports should be equal atleast till 9th or 10th. After that when the student knows what his interests and aptitude is he should follow his stream.

    I would also like to know what the ideal school should be like so that when a child grows up so that he is free to chose his favourite subject and not follow the crowd and take engineering

    (This is what happens in India in msot cases - not sure about other countires)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2012 #2


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    Hey jd12345.

    In many cases I've found that a lot of parents agree that mathematics, science, and english are important but the reasons for it are not well understood by the parents.

    English is easy to understand: learning how to read and write and communicate is understood by absolutely everyone as it is required by default for everyone wishing to do pretty much anything whatever color your collar is.

    But with math, some parents just think that it's important but can't really clarify. They understand that it's important to know how to do arithmetic for things like money and stuff, but don't really know exactly why a lot of the other stuff is learned yet still believe that math is important enough to do and go well in.

    Some people think it's just because getting good marks in everything is good, in particular a lot of the asian countries and eastern countries in general (including india), because academics is very important.

    One thing to realize is that many people growing up in the east have the situation where only the top students got the good jobs and everything else went to the rest in terms of low-paying back-breaking kinds of jobs and this is one reason why some asian parents are absolutely obsessed with grades. Some parents probably live through their kids in a bad way, but I'm sure that many have come from ridiculously hard backgrounds in comparison to a lot of the western population.

    This is also why a lot of foreigners tend to be really hard workers: I've heard it from countless others and seen it myself. The people from other countries work their guts out and you find that they work their guts out even in the worst kinds of jobs where most people would quit after half a day.

    The other thing you have to remember is that a lot of people are brainwashed to think that mathematics and science is important when they were being taught, so the parents are just repeating what they were told when they were students. They don't know quite why, but they just act like parrots and say the same thing.

    But the real thing and reason comes down to economic means and this is the same for both western and eastern: hard sciences mean better jobs down the road.

    All parents in the conventional thinking will realize that harder subjects equals better opportunities down the road. The hard classes are prerequisites for getting into engineering, medicine, and law in an indirect way since the harder classes are scaled up more than the easier ones. This means that kids that want to get into these higher ranked degrees need to take these courses. Because you have the situation where everyone thinks they have to go to uni to get a good job, the cycle follows.

    However this is not always the case, because you get some families that understand the benefits of creative endeavors and non-standard pathways to success.

    You also have parents who thankfully understand that it's ok for your kids to do what they want, what they enjoy, and what they excel in whatever that may be.

    The best way to understand it is to look at the culture, the values, the interests, what people consider important (money? good quality of life? happiness?) and so on to try and answer your question.
  4. Jun 27, 2012 #3
    Oh yeah science and related jobs do provide money and most job opportunities
    Actually this question came in mind when some of my friends(a few) were struggling with physics, chemistry and maths in 12th. Its not their fault - one of them was an absolute genius in football and i think he could've been a future star but his parents forced him into science stream
    Other was good in literature - he could write poems and was pretty good in debating. I don't know if taking science was right option for him

    just to clarify if you msiunderstood....that I am not saying that maths and science should not be taught(or given importance) - i am saying that along with them other subjects should be given importance too
  5. Jun 27, 2012 #4

    D H

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    It's not just India. It's true in many of the developing and developed nations in the non western world. I suspect it harkens back to the Great Divergence, the point in time when the West starting becoming dominant.

    How different societies treated and embraced discovery, technology, and change was one of the key causes of the Great Divergence. Imagine how different the world would be had the Ming dynasty not moved its capital from Nanjing to Beijing and turned so inward, or if the mathematics and science of India's golden age had not been so inextricably entangled with mysticism and secrecy. Western Europe's golden age just happened to occur at the right time for the scientific revolution to finally take hold. Luck more than anything else.

    Now the East too is embracing technology. But as you noted, this is possibly at the expense of other aspects of what makes a civilization great. A place without art, without sport, without culture: That would be a boring and lifeless place to live.

    Paradoxically, some in the western world are turning inward, rejecting science and technology. Parents are convincing their children to become lawyers, to go into business and sales, to become a doctor, but not to become some nerdish scientist or engineer. We're doing the equivalent of moving our capital from Nanjing to Beijing, which is something you in the East can capitalize on.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2012
  6. Jun 27, 2012 #5


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    I agree with you, but I was just outlining why I think it's the case that we do what we do.
  7. Jun 28, 2012 #6
    Forcing the educational system toward engineering only produces a lot of bad engineers. We should be helping the children learn where their abilities and natural talents are, and the educate them individually in that direction. Regardless of direction, we should help a child developed their creativity in a field where they find their passion.

    But we have not yet evolved as a society to that level. So for the time being we are stuck with what we have.
  8. Jul 16, 2012 #7
    I think the main thing is that there is no one answer. What the education system needs is variety. Students thrive in different environments. Sadly the system in the USA is very homogenized.
  9. Jul 16, 2012 #8


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    I grew up in the post-Sputnik era when kids were steered toward math and science as the US (seemingly) panicked over perceived Russian superiority in the development of rockets and satellites. Perhaps that mind-set has not abated entirely. There are lots of kids that are just not cut out to be engineers.
  10. Jul 19, 2012 #9
    After a long time i am visiting this forum and happy to see that so many things new i found here and the topic you are discussing here that how education should be, its very important to understand because in many countries this question still is just like a question mark and the answers you guys given here tells many things. Thanks for all your efforts and will back soon for more interesting info.
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