The parent factor
Samina Farooqi Ahmed presents the parents’ perspective
The paradigm of parenting is based on wisdom and an acquired skill of learning with trial and error. The extended list of duties and responsibilities appear overwhelming, hence the well-being of a child remains to be the guiding principle for any parent.
Education is not just a source of learning but it ensures personal and professional growth which, of course leads to material prosperity. That’s why it holds so much value to an individual. In the present competitive-driven world, there is no denying that societal pressures have shown a gradual progression when it comes to academic options, be it choosing careers or selecting colleges for further studies.
Parents perceive this to be the most crucial decision that affects the future of their children. Access to technology has made it easier for students to single out a specific career, based on their aptitude and abilities after finishing initial years of schooling.
The role of parents may be somewhat passive when it comes to selecting the future line of study; however, no less important is choosing between a local or international college and university that offer that particular subject.
“Yes, it did matter to me that my daughter goes to the top-of-the-line college in order to study architecture,” says Fariya*, a doctor by profession, “I made her take preparatory classes in order to clear the admission test and when she didn’t, I made her attempt it again next year.” The loss of a year did not bother Fariya but what did matter was her daughter being a graduate of that premium institute. She asserts that an employer is likely to overlook it at the time of hiring an apprentice and focus on the skills learnt during her stint there.
While certain parents may select a lucrative profession for their offspring based on a notion or even hearsay, others do scrutinise the local options before sending their children abroad. The West seems to be an obvious choice for further studies for a variety of reasons. Whether it is an updated text, methodical teaching; they all ensure broadening of horizons rather than mere command of a subject, so every year flocks of students fly off to foreign lands dreaming of a prosperous future. This is evident from the growing volume of educational fairs; with every passing year, the turn out of aspiring students and the number of universities has shown an increase.
“The only reason why Haris* went to Canada was because there was no institute here that offered filmmaking at graduate level,” says Nasir, a businessman, “There is no alternative to the exposure one gets abroad. Living alone is a huge challenge in itself. I am proud to say that Haris has returned not only as a more knowledgeable but a far more confident person.”
But this brings to fore the apprehension of parents who dread sending off their daughters in impressionable ages as Tahira* opines, “Sarah’s* going away has been tough. I do see the transition in her but still I would be happier having her around.”
Since pursuing an international degree requires sufficient funds so in return, parents set up high performance standards which puts additional burden on children who already are trying to cope with an altered way of life. But Nasir disagrees wholeheartedly. “I never pushed Haris to excel, I always stressed that he should always do his best because grades hardly matter in practical life. You need to be street smart to be able to survive in this world.” This is quite a valid argument.
Those with fewer resources have to be pragmatic as their economic viability is linked with the well being of their families. This economic reality acts as a catalyst for them to excel at academics as it guarantees a well-paid position in the job market.
“Acquiring education should provoke independent and critical thinking amongst young minds. I am appalled when people around me fret over their children’s low grades. Our system produces students with superb memories, however, the emphasis should be provoking curiosity in their minds”, comments Sheema*, a working mother associated with the education sector.
Undoubtedly, this system is in desperate need of an overhaul faced with multiple issues Perhaps few and far between, but we will also find cases where parents associate their child’s educational development with their own standing in the society. If their child has managed to secure admission in a renowned and an expensive college, it will reflect on the way they were brought up as well as on their parents’ economic status.
Parents need to change their approach and avoid living their lives through their children who must be given the freedom to discover their own strengths. Instead of continuously pushing them to meet their expectations, parents must try and provide all facilities that would ensure their children develop into unique individuals who are at peace with themselves.
*Names have been changed.