How to Raise a Child to Academic Excellence

Education is cardinal in any society: it nourishes, protects, preserves and ensures the smooth growth of the society from one generation to another, productively. In countries with descent and prospicient administration, education, security and healthcare are primary in the government’s scheme. Therefore, a promising society is that which can boast of healthy men, women and children, who are not molested or killed without an account, and who can solve their problems to ensure a hitch-free life!

In Nigeria, there are very many schools across all levels, but very little or no learning at all. In fact, in Nigeria, everything seems to be falling apart – costly, painful and unavailable health services, wanton killings and destruction of properties, armed robbery and kidnapping, ill-advised educational system and zero reward system to productive and enterprising citizens.

The educational system is marred with dilapidated facilities, gross abuse and unprofessionalism, the cultural lethargy of the Nigerian civil service, questionable quality of teachers, lack of routine and productive supervision and the total reduction of the teaching profession into a pedestrian unskilled affair where anybody can assume the position of a teacher.

There are thousands of unprofessional teachers lurking around the classrooms, creating terrible problems in the system. Many politicians and businessmen/women venture into opening schools as profit-making establishments thereby introducing policies and programmes that are detrimental to the school system and to the intellectual development of the child. Ministries of education issue approvals to buildings initially constructed as residentials to serve as educational facilities and some school systems admit more than the capacity of the school without any penalty from the authorities.

Not to mention the non-payment of staff salaries and incessant strike actions, the whole system is plagued with a litany of problems militating against the steady growth of our children and the future of our society.  In the light of all these problems and with the need to stay above them and raise intelligent children for ourselves and our society, parents and guardians have to device means to waddle through these messes.

First, family size is very important. In an excruciating economy such as Nigeria, where the level of unemployment and poverty line have widened beyond redemption, it is very advisable to breed a small family size of about one, two or three for ease of adequate parenting. Fatherhood and motherhood do not lie only in reproduction, but in the ability to raise the children into meaningful and productive persons that will contribute to the devolvement of their society, not constituting nuisance to other people.

For adequate parenting to be achieved, the father and the mother or at least one of the parents must have the time, the financial ability, and the physical strength to raise a child. Where there are up to seven members of the family, even when there is enough financial strength to see them through, the parents may not have the time and the energy to supervise seven children, irrespective of the spacing. This leaves no option than the children to grow by themselves and copy whatever attitude the society exhibits. Children who grow outside the comprehensive supervision of their parents or responsible guardians have serious difficulties with their personality formation and their academic endeavours because they lacked the basis for a normal intellectual growth.

Secondly, housemaids and nannies are not the best ideas. It is very important for a child to grow up in the ambience of the parents. Besides the obvious risks of child abuse, accident due to carelessness, negligence, maltreatment, the often-recorded incidence of child theft and unexplainable death, parents are primary role models who, naturally transmit their behaviours and cultures to their children in the best way possible with the feelings and passion of ownership not of pecuniary interest.

Therefore, where incidents of death and other natural impediments do not rob the child of his/her right to be raised by his/her parents, parents should plan and set up their schedules in such a way that work and other economic endeavours do not alienate them from their children or prevent them from exercising their full parental responsibilities to the child. Failure to do so may affect the academic productivity of the child in the future because that negligence robs the child of the essential care that was supposed to nourish his/her mental growth, development and sufficiency.

Thirdly, it is academically dangerous for the child to begin schooling before the age of three. There is actually a great difference between ‘education’, ‘learning’ and ‘schooling’. While learning is the natural process of responding to stimulus resulting in a change in behaviour, schooling is a professionally compartmentalised learning process, designed to meet certain realisable standards and criteria.

Naturally, and as a matter of necessity, the human brain begins its learning process and reception from birth. The first and the primary lesson learnt by a child is the ability to survive: - communicate, eat, excrete and move. The parents and the social environment provide the ‘lesson notes’ and the ‘instructional materials’ for the baby to study. These lessons help the baby to outgrow infancy and move into childhood. This natural process of learning must last for a minimum of three years before the infant is matured enough for additional contents.

It is worth stating that under the age of three, the infant’s brain does not see the need to learn any other thing except what is necessary for survival. Therefore, apart from eating, excreting, moving and communicating, any other addition to this curriculum overloads the child’s brain and might lead to a serious cognitive failure in the future.

At the age of three, the child’s communication and receptive skills are broadened and smoothened to receive more than what his/her immediate environment has to offer. At this level, there is a natural yearning for the child to explore beyond the world he/she is familiar with. The natural ‘restless’ and inquisitive character in children kicks in. At this age, parents can beautifully enrol their children in a nursery school. The nursery school should last for not less than three years: - nursery one, two and transition.

After the nursery level of learning, the child would have grown to the age of six and would have acquired wider receptive skills for more tasking demands. This growth and development serve as a fertile ground for the next level of academic engagement. It is also academically dangerous and frustrating to task a child that is lower than six years of age with the demands of Basic Education.

Basic Education lasts for nine years: - from primary one to junior secondary three. However, the demands of the primary school are conspicuously different from the demands of the secondary school, even at the junior secondary level. If the right thing is done, a child is supposed to complete his/her primary level not lower than twelve years. At a normal range, the child would have completed his/her senior secondary education at the age of eighteen.
 
There are so many risks associated with sending a child to the university. The university education is designed for adult: - mode of teaching, environment, language use, et cetera. Exposing the child to these rigours will lead to cognitive breakdown, inability to fit into the environment, and constant harassment with adult language and lifestyles. No wonder, therefore, that the list of carryover students has so increased in recent times, not only that the students are not intelligent, or do not read their books, but are also too young to wrestle with the outpour of tertiary demands.

Fourthly, in very many ways, parents, in active collaboration with some desperate school administrators and proprietors, have woefully abused the Basic and Post Basic Education Systems in Nigeria. As always, these abuses tell on the pupils who are schooled in these systems.

For instance, it is very intellectually damaging to keep a child below the age of eleven for more than five hours of learning. Primary schools should close at midday while the secondary counterpart should close, latest, one o’clock in the afternoon. The idea of retaining primary school pupils for extra lessons that run till four o’clock in the evening overloads the working capacity of the child, mostly leading to brain fatigue and exhaustion. This may leave an extensive damage to the cognitive functioning of the child, if not immediately, certainly in the future.

A child below the age of eleven is supposed to retire after five straight hours of learning, take his lunch, have a sound sleep, from 1pm to 3pm, get up, do his assignments, revise his classwork for an hour and leave for games. However, it is the responsibility of the parents to regulate what constitutes games and the environments that are within the reach of the child. Furthermore, having his bath in the evening, his dinner not later than 8pm and bedtime at 9pm are necessary formation for a healthy intellectual growth.

Similarly, stealing the child’s long vacation for holiday lessons is outrightly wrong and abusive. Holidays are periods for rest and recuperation. The child is meant to get back his/her energy in order to function adequately in the next school session. Instead of rigorous academic classes during holidays, parents should consider hobbies like piano lessons, swimming, seeing educative movies, photography, excursions, travelling and visiting distant relatives, where that is not considered dangerous.  These will freshen up the child and rebuild him/her for the next school session.

Fifthly, having a formal family budget is very important: you could decide what you spend on education, and what you spend on ‘beer’ and other recreationals. Creating an environment with variety of hobbies, providing all the necessary textbooks, providing all necessary beverages and belongings, avoiding fee drives as much as possible, making sure your child is not in want, are all very essential criteria for the healthy growth and intellectual development of the child.


Pampering the child, seeing things always in his/her way, claiming that ‘you know your child’ therefore other people’s alternatives are irrelevant, compromising on moral values, helping the child to jump classes, helping the child to play truancy, cutting  corners for the child, lying for the child, financing examination malpractice are very beautiful ways of destroying the child with ease. But when you do these, you should understand that your future and the future of the society rest on the calibre of children you have been able to raise. 

IDIONGO EBONG

2 comments:

  1. Nice write-up....
    Over pampering and condoning of children by parents makes the child not to achieve educational standard....

    Pare6Pa should sit up and make sure that the train their children with good morality...

    If not The Last Paragraph explains briefly the consequences...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also car seat

    ReplyDelete