DHL’s report, “A Way Back to School”, indirectly sheds light on another probable dropouts related problem, i.e. the skipped-generation (SG). I’ve always wondered whether research was done on the number of school dropouts who come from a skipped-generation environment. The report increases the urgency to solve the school-dropouts problem and the probably intimately related skipped-generation issue, obviously starting with the latter. Suthichai Yoon’s article again emphasises the challenges of reforming higher education’s structure, students and teachers, bypassing a serious factor that influences the number and quality of students that can make it to university, the early age SG group.
Last week I experienced a live scenario of the SG issue. The wife of one of the workers at my place brought over the two-year old grandson, a matter of “rotating shifts”; the job was done and we were in sanook time. Once again I concluded that the kids were “overloaded” with love, attention and tolerance, but minor “play-teach” activities” were lacking. I was quite sure that this would also be the case at home.
Many reports on the importance of the “early age years”, where learning is concerned, on math for example, have been published by the Department of Mental Health website at www.dmh.go.th, Rajanukul Institute website www. rajanukul.go.th and others. The case of the little boy made me wonder if the valuable information of these costly reports ever reached the stakeholders at the so-called grassroots level.
In one of my articles I suggested using teachers with a masters degree in pedagogy to support older skipped-generation members and caregivers. The knowledge needed to “play-teach” the early age group can be taught by kindergarten teachers through short, basic weekend courses for caregivers. The ex-remote workforce members and OTOP villagers who today lay tiles, build houses, make rice baskets, knit bags etc, posses the necessary reading/mathematics/arithmetic/geometrics/pattern recognition related capabilities to perform the important “early age play-teach” task. The DHL report indirectly sounds another wake-up call, pointing at the pillars of our educational system, which makes “Early Age Flying Squad Support” teams almost compulsory.