THE Covid-19 pandemic has impeded schooling.
Sure, lessons can be imparted through various other means, especially with online instruction being the trend now.
However, what is missing essentially is the holistic schooling experience.
Understandably, not everything is pleasant about school life. Rising early almost every morning to go to school is not something a typical student looks forward to.
Not just that, he will have to spend up to six hours in the classroom trying to make sense of different learning inputs.
He also has to take part in extracurricular activities, which are compulsory.
Outside the school hours, he attends tuition to supplement lessons learned in class.
To top it all off, there is the never-ending homework to occupy the hours every evening.
The routine makes schooling sound a boring, tedious and repetitive activity.
The recent Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results seem to show that one can achieve equally good results through home study with the aid of online learning. This could suggest that students need not necessarily attend physical school.
Education, however, is beyond studying for, and passing, examinations.
Despite common complaints of schooling being a boring daily routine composed of completing homework, doing revision and avoiding punishment, many would agree that it was the most memorable part of their lives.
By now, the pandemic would have made many students realise that home-based learning can be stressful; they would also have missed social interactions in school.
Indeed, the opportunities for one to find joy, excitement, fun and even mischief in school are endless.
Students get to take part in concerts, talent shows, essay competitions, dramas, debates and various types of sports.
Various schools organise science and handicraft exhibitions at least once a year.
Students who take part in these events have a chance to showcase their talents and gain confidence through the exposure. The outstanding ones are recognised for their effort and awarded prizes.
Students may compete intensely among themselves in interclass competitions and later, with those from other schools. But rivalry often gives way to friendship.
Excursions, picnics and games are other joys of schooling. Sports such as football, rugby, cricket, hockey, chess and table tennis teach students the spirit of sportsmanship and healthy competition.
School is also where students learn and practise values such as tolerance, honesty, teamwork, sharing, responsibility, discipline, respect for each other’s culture, and unity. They learn to conduct themselves and be a better part of society.
The best aspect of school life is that it gives room for students to make mistakes, as parents and teachers are there to guide them along.
School life prepares students for the higher stages of life, beginning at the classroom, playground, library and canteen.
It lays the foundation for budding professionals such as administrators, doctors, writers, poets, engineers, musicians, scientists, academics, painters and musicians.
It gives evergreen moments and memories to many. It is the place where one gains one’s first experience in making friends, learning from a teacher, handling homework, accepting punishment and much more.
More importantly, one learns social and moral values which are crucial in life.
Thus, schooling provides a balanced education. This helps to promote a child’s psychological and mental growth.
One of the key benefits of schooling is that it helps students develop logical, critical and problem-solving skills, as well as make independent decisions.
Entering adolescence, one will encounter numerous challenging situations. For instance, attending a residential school trains one to be self-reliant. One also learns to be careful of spending and be financially independent.
And if one has spent years educating oneself, one will be in a better position to make sound decisions, compared to someone who has never made full use of schooling.
DR ARZMI YAACOB