You’re the apple of my eye
That’s how the song goes about children. A parent’s love for their child is unfathomable and cannot be understood without having waded into the experience of being a parent.
When you ask a parent what it’s like, inevitably and unmistakably, there is a lot of pain and struggle. It is probably the single most consuming job/occupation to raise and take care of a child.
One major aspect of worry that troubles parents, is their kids’ education.
Undoubtedly, the first major decision parents face in the lives of their children, is what schools to put them in.
Schools here in Egypt are now marketing themselves on a scale similar to that of an LLC in an open market. The competition is fierce in the private sector and the list of international schools only gets longer and longer.
So what to do? How can a parent choose?
Here are the main criteria in our opinion:
- Values and Principles
- Practical Considerations
1) Values & Principles
When considering a potential school for your children, this is the number one issue you should concern yourself with.
As a child I went to two schools, one from kindergarten till middle school, and one for high school.
In the first school, they had a policy of having the large portion of their workers, employees with disabilities. This was their vision to help provide jobs for them where no one else would hire them. Not only that, every morning of a school day, when the headmaster would take a tour of the school to check up on classes, he would say hello to each worker, not teacher, each worker by name.
We’re talking janitors, bus drivers, and maintenance men, and this was a big school, so there were a lot of names.
The second school was an international one that was more expensive and was considered a place for the elite. There, I witnessed on more than one occasion the headmaster and the principal treating the workers with disdain and disrespect in front of the entire student body. They called them names and yelled at them in front of everyone.
I will never forget the contrast between these two schools in that regards.
When you’re looking at a school, you’re not only looking at the level of the education, or the level of the educator, you must also look at the personal and moral standard of the faculty.
2) Practical Considerations
Obviously, some of the best are expensive. And by expensive, I mean ludicrously so.
So as any parent would tell you, they work their butts off to be able to provide their children the best possible education.
Now this is a great intention, but sadly it has dire consequences.
Many parents believe that the best thing they can do for their kids is provide them with the best education money can buy. They assume that spending hours and weeks and months away from home, is worth it if they can see their little ones wearing that one uniform.
They forget that the best thing that their kids need, that which they sorely want, is their parents.
Nothing can replace the quality time a child can spend with their father or mother. Nothing comes even close.
Schools were not meant to be the sole educator and the place responsible for raising your children, they were only meant to act as a secondary role.
Yet what many parents do is go through hell to put their kids in a school, then never actually see them properly or spend enough time with them. What use is that?
Two kids can go to the same school and have very different outcomes later in life. One spent a lot of quality time with their parents, the other never saw them because they were too busy at work providing the expenses needed for said school.
Schools cannot replace the job of a parent, and when they try, they fail.
Children need to learn to be kind, respectful and have strong critical thinking abilities as well as learning to be disciplined. Those are the foundations upon which their talents can be built on. And those four are precisely meant to be learnt at home.
If at home the parents don’t challenge their kids to think critically and engage them in debate and in discussion, it’s a risk to bet on the school alone.
If the parents at home aren’t kind and respectful, or more commonly, the kids don’t see them enough to see how they act, these kids will look elsewhere for role models and that can be a huge problem.
You are your child’s most important asset in life, no one will ever love them as much, and no one will look after them like you do. So it’s okay to put them in the less expensive or less prestigious school, if it means spending lots of time with them, because you can’t put a price on that
3) School outreach
It’s crucial for kids to learn to think outside of themselves, and schools that are engaged in active community work and charity are definitely worth looking at, since it instills in kids the value of looking out for one another.
Lastly, it’s important to note that many schools’ education levels are at the end of the day similar. What remains unique is you, the parent. Always remember, no one has your child’s best interest in mind more than you.