What should our children study?

As I stood in the hot sun today in Singapore, at a car mechanic workshop, listening somewhat dumbstruck to his list of repairs that my 11-year old car needed, I could sense my education being completely inadequate to verify the veracity and authenticity of what he was saying.

Then, I thought of similar situations that we come across in our lives. We face many situations with our homes and apartments. We face them with our computers, television and other electronic equipment. Then, there is human body which reminds us, in small and big ways, of its existence periodically. When I mentioned this to a friend, she added that if one had pets, then we face situations with them too. We don’t have any in our home and hence did not think of it.

So, practically, we face problems on a very regular basis in these areas. So, families can and should aim to educate its children in any of these areas: civil and structural engineering, electronics, automobile and mechanical engineering, a good medical education and a vet.

History, Literature and Social Sciences seem to come far down the list in terms of their practical usefulness for our daily lives. Of course, it is a tongue-in-cheek post. They have their usefulness in other ways. Relationships, may be.

You kinda get the drift, I think.

3 thoughts on “What should our children study?

  1. Ananth, this is a surprising though enjoyable viewpoint. If we listed (say) 15 key life skills including etiquette, first aid, financial literacy and cooking, most of us would possess, I guess 5 to 7 of these. This is perhaps why my father insisted I learn to change a tyre before I learnt driving. Our schooling should have a subject called life skills through all years. But please don’t ask people like me to opt for engineering and medicine over math, music, literature and history. We would make disastrous engineers and doctors.

  2. “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
    – Robert A Heinlein in The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

  3. Wow,,..enjoyed both of the earlier posts–ranging from the practical to the poetic!

    I have struggled with these chores as an adult, especially while living in the US. The sheer number of outdoor, domestic chores one must attend to do is matched only by my inadequacy to satisfactorily deal with them. As I’ve learned the hard way, these are not tasks one can outsource easily–or ever. Add to that the guilt that I was passing on to the next generation some of that incompetence….. You see, my wife grew up with a father who had dreamt of becoming an architect, but, as the oldest of ten, had to find a job at 18. He went on to have an illustrious career in the navy and was an outdoorsman throughout. Your family will recall the playhouse he built for the grandchildren when we lived in your city. So, you can imagine the (funny-sad) disconnect between FIL and SIL, and, by extension, between wife and husband.

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