‘It takes a child to raise the economy!’ With 6 years and counting in the educational sector, as well as reflections amongst others, on the current school opening, raise the question; what are exactly our priorities? Arguments on whether or not schools should open for the economy to remain stable are but the tip of the iceberg of the place of children in our society.
‘It takes a village to raise a child’Igbo & Yoruba proverb
This proverb puts the child at the centre of society, unfortunately, this is not true anymore. It’s true that many people are involved in raising a child but many a time they are just considered baby sitters. Childcarers in function of an economy which needs parents to be back in the workplace.
Educators or babysitters?
It takes courage in this day and age for a family to dedicate time and energy to their child’s upbringing. Many parents are actually forced to take their children to childcare at a tender age in the dark hours of the morning because they cannot do otherwise. In the meantime, there is little if any support given to parents who decide to stay on and dedicate the first important years of their life with their children. As psychology is telling us, it is so crucial for a child’s upbringing.
Schools themselves are geared to serve the industry, with promotion done to engage in some subjects rather than others. With little if any attention given to the specific qualities of the individual student. Low wages in the education sector are no encouragement for new recruits. Definitely not for present staff to invest more in their CPD, which development being minimal compared to the changes occurring in the education sector.
What does this mean for the child?
Unfortunately, the results are quite evident. A report published in the beginning of the month by UNICEF shows that Malta ranks in the bottom third of mental well-being, physical health, and skills amongst around 40 rich countries. Again our adolescents at 15 rank amongst the lowest of life satisfaction. Surely our education system driving them to the peak of exams at this age doesn’t help. And yet, of these 15-year-olds only 57% have basic proficiency in reading & mathematics, so the high amount of early school leavers.
This current myopia will only lead us to a poorer society, with poorer psychological stability, academic capacity for our country which depends on human resources, and the ties between us. I strongly believe things are not lost at all. The strength of our families, the potential I’ve seen in the education system, and values that are still dear to us can still help us change direction. It might lead to less immediate profits but more long-term person-oriented economies, raised by a village that cares!