One Destination, Different Journeys – Part I

Author: Neelanjana Varanasi, Bhumi Fellow

Synopsis – With education being the final destination, it is intriguing to see how parents go about this journey. The roadblocks, the smooth roads, and bumps along the way. What it means to contribute to their child’s education and how they go about it. 

Picture this – You’re trying to go up a slippery slope with rain pouring down on you wearing rubber slippers. You make some progress. You choose to take baby steps though because the odds are against you and you’re trying your hardest. There are a few who might have had access to the best rubber boots, some with access to slippers and some with no access. The end destination remains the same for everyone. The situation is similar for children from poverty-driven backgrounds. Accessing quality education remains a challenge for them. Most parents are not aware of what it means for their child to receive a quality education. The factors/aspects that one must look out for. The past year has made it difficult for parents to support their children due to the pandemic. Quite a few parents lost their jobs which made it difficult for the child to access education. Parents had to buy a smartphone for the child to continue attending classes, etc.

Parents always maintain that they want a future for their children that they were not able to access. A future where the possibilities are endless. Most parents whom I work with have not completed their school education.  A lot of them believe that this comes in the way of supporting their child. There is a gap in understanding the support that a child requires. Parents from working-class backgrounds work for long hours. They come back tired and are unable to spend time with the child. This in turn has an effect on the child’s well-being. The child feels insecure and acts out at times. Parents rely on teachers to shape the child into a confident and kind young adult. Conversations between the parent and teacher are often a one-way street. Teachers give updates on the child’s academic performance. There are complaints about the child’s behavior in class. There is seldom a question on the child’s well-being and emotions or the situation at home. This begs us to ask an important question.

What does it mean for the parent to contribute to a child’s education and development? Particularly for children from poverty-driven backgrounds. Is it being aware of the factors that contribute to ensuring quality education for the child? Does it end with finding a good school for the child? Does it involve spending time with the child when they do their homework? There is no one-size-fits-all formula that can answer this question. Every child is unique in their own way. They have their own needs. That said, parents must identify the needs of their child, observe them and spend time with them. Listening and operating with empathy and kindness can go a long way. The destination remains very clear, the child’s education and development. The journey though remains unique for every parent and child.

References –  

  1. Equitable Education –

Education can transform lives. It can create a future where every child gets a fair chance at achieving their fullest potential. “We reap just what we sow.” That is why, a brighter and better tomorrow, starts today.

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