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Acquiring skills during summer holidays aids children’s


School Children

School Children

Summer holidays have always been a time for children to combine play with some studies to get a glimpse of what the forthcoming academic session holds. They are thereby made to tackle academic works all year round without the opportunity to do anything else outside the box.

This has been the norm for a long time, especially for children in cities, unlike their counterparts in the villages, who mostly use the occasion to assist their parents in farms or other domestic issues, largely due to the fact that their parents cannot afford the fees for extra lessons.

In recent times, however, parents are seeing the need to engage children in one skill acquisition or the other, even as summer camp programmes geared towards that need are springing up. These skills include, Arts and craft, tie-dye, Ankara accessories, calligraphy, leather work (shoe making), music and filming, acting and directing, as well as entrepreneurial and leadership.

Kenneth Odoemena, a parent approves of skills acquisition for children. “My 11-year-old daughter is a JSS 2 student and is currently learning how to make pastries in a friend’s place. I believe that no knowledge is a waste. My daughter has always shown interest in food preparation, so she chose to do pastry making. She has also been learning how to make beads and I would also want her to learn sewing and playing keyboard.

“I think parents should allow children’s brain to rest and re-create during holidays. School owners and teachers would tell you that your children must not play during the long vacation, but I think this is a lie. During holidays, children should be taken to recreation centres, and not to holiday lessons.”

In Mrs. Janet Kalu’s opinion, holiday coaching is not worth the trouble, as the standard of education in the country only gets worse, in spite of it. She said: “Children should be exposed to entrepreneurship, since government has failed to put in place measures that can provide brighter future for them. In advanced societies, they only organise Summer boot camps, which are informal, to teach other things aside bookwork. I think children should be sent out of their comfort zone during this period, and I can assure you, the result will be awesome.”

Speaking on the importance of skills acquisition for children, Amina Abdulai, who is the Project Director, Brainy Educare Service, an educational consulting organisation said it is important kids acquire skills outside academic works, because it helps build their self confidence and self esteem.

“In this 21st century, much as formal education is imperative, it is not all that is required. Having other skills give one an edge. And it is easier to mould them at this age, so having extra skills is a plus for them.”

While noting that acquiring skills should not distract a child’s academic learning, she said, “if out of eight weeks holiday, three are used to learn a skill, it is not harmful or too much. In the long run, this will not only benefit the children and their parents, but also the economy. These are hands-on skills, and if parents encourage them, they could start producing things locally, which will help to develop the economy.

“There is a term called Neuro-plasticity, which deals with children’s ability to stretch and learn. It is important that they get to this point. It is a plus for them and it doesn’t affect them in anyway, because they have the ability to do it.”

On her part, Joy Ogbonnaya, an educationist and school director, said skills acquisition is very beneficial to kids, even though the Nigerian society is one that hypes certificates and degrees, “we can see clearly from recent global trends that what moves individuals ahead in life and career is not the degree and qualifications, but the skills they possess.

“At best, those degrees and qualifications on the CV will get you’re an interview, but it is what you can do that will get you the job. Many people go through high, undergraduate and postgraduate school just for the sake of having qualifications, but when they are done, they focus on their talents and skills and make a living out of it.

“Again, our society hasn’t fully grasped the concept of education. There’s a difference between schooling and education. In fact, the word education comes from two Latin words: ‘educare’, which means to train or mould, and ‘educere’, which means to lead or draw out. We place a lot of emphasis on ‘educare’. We pass down knowledge and try to mould children into a certain image that society says is ideal.”

We teach children what to think and not how to think and that’s why there’s a huge gap between the number and quality of innovations on this side of the world compared to the other side. What we should be concentrating more on is ‘educere’. We need to look at children as individuals— their gifts, talents and natural inclinations and help them draw out that which is naturally in them.”

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