In Japan, students do not answer exams until they reach class four. The goal there is to establish good manners and develop character. Japanese scholars teach manners before knowledge. NT KURIOCITY asked a few Goans if the same should be implemented worldwide

Irrespective of culture, the Japanese system teaches us that character and personality trump evaluation and rankings at such a young age. Hence, in my view it should be implemented worldwide. The learning process is instrumental in shaping a child’s personality and the way he/she deals with situations in life. Preliminary years of one’s life is similar to the foundation of a building, therefore developing an approach to education that incorporates ethics, values, emotional maturity and good civil manners into this foundation would be like a bedrock helping students to grow into responsible adults. However, that being said, this should not replace parents’ influence but only support it, it should be like a joint venture where parents and school authorities work together to build a responsible next generation. As the famous quote by Billy Graham goes: “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.”

Abhijit Pai, Chartered Accountant, Fatorda

I agree with the idea followed in Japanese schools. This would also reduce the pressure on a child to compete for good grades, which today is given greater importance. Keeping today’s atmosphere and human behaviour in mind, good manners and character is the need of the hour. Besides I feel academic knowledge and good manners should go hand in hand, not just during the initial years of study but throughout the academic career. Value education as a subject is needed at all levels. Topics like honesty, secularism, tolerance, etc, have to be taught to young adults. This continuous process of instilling good values will contribute good citizens to the country and the world.

Hegel Da Costa, assistant professor, Carmel College For Women, Nuvem

I agree that this method should be implemented worldwide and children should be taught manners and how to develop character because at the end of the day it does not matter how many qualifications and degrees you have, instead what the type of person you are matters. In this present competitive world there are many who are selfish to achieve their goal and do not know how much their actions and words hurt the other person. One’s manners and character depend on how one has been brought up. This Japanese way of learning will really help children to be sensitive towards others.

Megan Rodrigues, St Andrew’s ICSE School, Vasco

No exams! Sounds pretty interesting but that’s not how a child has to be exposed to the educational system. Yes, I do agree that the child needs to learn good manners, be compassionate or respect their elders, that’s very important, but what’s more important is to look at the child’s all around development. I believe that the child can learn at his/her best at a younger stage.

Anoushka D’mello, Teacher Trainee, Nirmala Institute of Education

In Japan they don’t conduct exams till grade four but they do conduct small tests. Exam gives the feeling of competition and comparison, but by giving small tests it is easy to analyse teachers whether students have understood the concepts clearly or not, also students get an opportunity to study their basics thoroughly. By answering these small tests children learn not only academic curriculum but also how to react with the external world when they score low and high marks. Low marks teach them to study harder, to put more efforts and high marks teach how to be calm, determined, earthy, and sober. These small tests also teach kids how to tackle the situation both before and after test. Thus, according to me rivalry and juxtaposition should not be there which comes through exam but test should be given timely to know the students Performance. It just like how people enjoy twenty20 but gets bored to watch ODI

Nilangi Netravalkar, Panaji

We Indians have the same rules. In the Hindu religion until the thread ceremony (that is held when the child is seven or eight years old) the child would learn moral values at home. He grasped whatever his elders in the joint family taught him. After the thread ceremony, he would leave his home and join the Gurukul where again the main aim was to impart ethics, discipline and values through epics. With parents leaving home for work in today’s nuclear family, a child has no other option than to be at school at an age when they can barely manage their own weight and needs. They seem to be growing too fast, in some kind of competition. I think there is need to slow down, and help the child to discover his own abilities, talent and help him grow creatively.

Sachi Naique, Parvatibai Chowgule College of Arts & Science, Margao