What Can We Do To Motivate Our Children’s Interest in their Education?
I have just completed a period of research into the education market in India and was extremely impressed about just how motivated such a large percentage of both children, and their parents, are towards their own education and learning.
My research revealed two interesting facts.
A recent research survey in the last 12 months indicated that parents across 16 of the largest cities in India, saw education and learning being such important that the monthly expenditure on their children’s education ranked just second on their list of spending priorities. Only their monthly spend on Groceries and food shopping came ahead of their child’s education. In most Western countries, the monthly spend on education would be considerably less important.
Then I discovered that approximately 20 million students in India have a private tutor even though they attend school on a full-time basis. That number equates to just under half of all the children studying at school in the United States.
So what is it that motivates children in India to take such and interest in their own education.
In an effort to find out more about this I have spoken to many people in India. They have explained that both children and their parents realise that education is the only way that they can hope to fight their way out of poverty.
Many also explained that because of the sheer number of people in the country the competition to get into the better schools and universities was fierce, and to succeed students really did have to achieve their best.
Others explained to me this motivation towards education was simply part of their cultural beliefs and their approach to life in the same way that the respect children have for their elders is so different to that in many countries in the West.
I suspect that there is another factor too. With the exception of periods like the Great Depression of the 1930’s, and maybe also the years during World Wars I and II, most countries in the West have never really ever experienced times of real hardship, or oppression. As a result we have bred generations of people that have a reasonably “soft” life. It is well known that hardship and adversity bring out the best in a person’s nature, yet for most of us since the 1960’s life has become easier and easier.
We now live in a generation were the range of social security and support facilities provided act as a “safety net” for those that are unemployed, or don’t want to work. Loans and credit is made available to virtually everyone by the banks, whether people can afford to repay it or not. In many ways the recent generations have never had it so good. In fact many would suggest that today’s students and children expect the world to come to them, rather than having to go out and earn whatever they want. Many students expect success to be handed to them on a plate rather than having to earn it.
So with this air of “expectancy” being part of many children’s lives, is it any wonder that few place any importance on learning and their own education.