August 19, 2016

There’s no greater investment than education

“If the children are happy, adults will automatically feel so too,” one of my Facebook friends said the other day.
As I pondered what he’d said, my mind drifted back to my childhood. Thirty five years ago, I started primary school at a small town in Pathein, Ayeyawady Region. Frankly, my memories of those first few days at school were of utter desolation. The school environment was one full of orders and commands. I was just five-years-old and I was scared stiff at the sight of a few teachers wielding a cane and sometimes slapping it against the blackboard. All of us kids were – we’d sit stiffly in our chairs, petrified with fear. Our young minds saw those teachers as aggressors. Unfortunately, not much has changed since then.
Due consideration should be given to the fact that children learn better when they feel happy and relaxed. Their mental development in the early years of schooling is of utmost importance as it will be the deciding factor behind the types of adults they become.
Our country urgently needs to rebuild its education system. And why wouldn’t we, when the returns are so huge? Students deserve a safe learning environment and a quality education. We should give them the best possible start to life. And at the same time, all teachers, regardless of whether they teach art in kindergarten or algebra in high school, should be supported mentally and financially. It seems obvious, but it bears repeating: no teacher can perform on an empty stomach. Delaying educational reform would mean squandering the talents of the next generation.
Our students and teachers are everything we have: we must invest them and empower them in order to build a better world.
And on that final thought, may I wish you a very happy World Teachers’ Day!


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