A masterclass on handling your child’s education

What you need to know:

Looking at education as monetary investment is to hold the stick the wrong way

This term is one fraught with many challenges. Apart from learners looking forward to advancing in their education careers, candidates and their schools are stressed out of their minds, because their hour of reckoning is here.  It is also the term when the artful school fees defaulters who change their children’s schools every term must pay because the student must sit that final exams.

So, most parents now no longer have their National Identification cards whether NIRA approves or not, because they are with loans harks as money must be somehow got to pay for school fees.

This do or die situation often causes parents and guardians to question their wisdom in paying the eye watering sums of money on a project which since the 1970s has become a gamble.

There was a time in this country when educating a child was a sure deal to prosperity. Most young people walked into offices and staff houses a day after graduation and would be driving their first car within the first year. Those stories sound as fiction now.

Nowadays, educating a child, whether in your backwater Universal Primary Education school or from an international school is a gamble in the league of sports betting; you could hit a jackpot or lose badly, so the best way to look at is not in terms of a profit or a gain because if you do, you will be disappointed. The purpose of giving your children or any other child an education is to improve your brand since nothing advertises you as much your children. If they turn out badly, it is unlikely you can convince society that you are worthy of respect or that your contribution to society matters.

For the children, education is vital, even the kind that is offered in our schools, which is often berated. You always see the impact of the lack of it when you meet one of those who were unfortunate to not get any.  This is because the most important lessons learnt in school are not those written on the black board or the exercise books.

Schools or school environments have a way of pushing individuals from their comfort zone of the familiar and friendly home environment, and they learn that their kingdom is an illusion and unless they adjust to being subordinate to other kings on the playground and in class, they will pay heavily.

The vigorous discipline required in school also helps students get structure in their lives, which is often lacking, especially in dysfunctional homes. The student learns social skills that would otherwise be unattainable in a non-school environment since it not possible for a student to be so self-sufficient to the level of not needing anyone else.

Above all, the purpose of education is to turn a blank mind into an open mind so that one is able to view the world with new eyes. Schools give students an opportunity to exhibit other talents other than academic, especially in extracurricular activities, which would otherwise have remained hidden.

Because of that structure I talked about earlier, children have a scheduled time to engage in sports, dance, drama, a luxury other children of the same age who are not in school lack. Many of their hours are taken up striving to earn a living. I probably do not need to mention that schools offer us the first social assets in terms of friends and alumni. In this day and age, your network makes or breaks you. 

Therefore, looking at education as monetary investment is to hold the stick the wrong way. The sort of things school life offers your child are not only unquantifiable but also invaluable; there is great joy in seeing your once less than brilliant child articulate an opinion and show perspectives that may have remained obscure forever.

Some parents feel they should offer education to those children who show the most promise but in my opinion, those who show the least should be given priority because when they succeed, your efforts will give you the most satisfaction.

However, it is important to remember that giving an education to your children does not end with the bank slip, you are expected to foster a love for learning and inquisitiveness through providing a good environment and example. I have been to a prosperous home where the home library consisted of a few free issue magazines from various organisations, some Jehovah Witness tracts and a tattered copy of Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine that once belonged to Kigezi College Butobere. I know the trend is now to rely on eBooks, but if a family is not keen on physical books, how much time will they have for the digital ones with all the distractions on our devices? 

As risks go, educating a child is a risk and the curse of risks is that you can never know the results unless you take it. Be the sort of parent interested in knowledge even for the sake of it and your children will follow suit. But if you are the hypocrite who preaches enlightenment and drinks ignorance, this term is the beginning of your day of reckoning.