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teen in school

Every time, I hear about our (Malaysian) education system, what they are teaching in schools, and how they are teaching in schools, it makes me question what our main objectives are because sometimes it just doesn't make any sense.

I myself was in a public school, and I did have the opportunity to do grade school in the US and high school in Australia so I got a fair chance of seeing and experiencing the glaring differences in what and how children are taught.

I made the choice of sending my son to an international school that offered a different curriculum. It was basically the best decision I ever made. Though it was undoubtedly hard on the pocket and sacrifices had to be made, the curriculum in itself was far superior and very closely tied to real-life preparation, or more closely to 'work life' preparation.

They learnt certain soft skills, how to do their own research on what was being taught, how to create presentations, and how to present, they learned about marketing and digital marketing, public speaking, how to organise events and make videos, all at a very young age. Not only that but they were also required to reflect on every project that they worked on, whether it's what they personally learnt through the whole process, what they would've done differently and what they were proud of, amongst others.

They were also involved in quite a number of community service activities that were really helpful in giving them the experience and exposure that not many get to.

But yet I still find it lacking in really basic skills.

Subjects like science, biology, geography, history and most of what is being taught in school can now be easily Googled and available in really well-explained, easy-to-understand informational videos on YouTube or even in interesting, catchy short-form videos on TikTok.

The world is evolving so fast with advancements in technology accelerating like nothing else, yet, when it comes to education for our kids, we choose to put them through the same curriculum as we did and quite possibly their grandparents did!

But don't get me wrong, I'm not saying every single thing being taught is a waste of time. What I'm saying is that we need to re-prioritise what we're teaching our kids for their benefit so that they can face the world with some form of real preparation and intelligence!

Here are 9 of which I believe should be taught in schools.


There are one too many adults that don't know how to budget, save their money or even what to do with their money if they have money other than spend it.

If children were taught from a young age how to manage finances, they will be equipped with the right knowledge on how to manage their finances in the future.

Teaching children about how things work like, credit cards, loans, insurance, mortgage, investment and interest rates would be so beneficial for them once they are older and give them the foundation they need in the hopes that they make the right decisions financially and avoid falling into debt, which we all know can a difficult thing to get out of.


In a world where social interactions are becoming complicated and more diverse with all the different platforms available, be it online or offline, it's important to teach children social intelligence to maintain respect, not only for other people but also for themselves.

Teaching them how to listen and when to speak, how to resolve conflict, empathy, and how to express themselves without attacking another are just some of the things that can be taught to children.

In return, children with social intelligence will be able to regulate their emotions and verbalise their anger and frustration better rather than hitting or throwing a fit. They'll be better equipped to handle difficult social situations.

Having social intelligence will also allow them to build more meaningful friendships, which will be helpful throughout their lives.


Communication is an essential skill to have. I can say from a working environment perspective, I have interviewed many people with degrees yet their communication skills were lacking.

Knowing how to connect with people, the etiquette of being part of a conversation, when to speak and how to listen is all integral to communication and conversation.

Whether it is face-to-face, an e-mail, on social media or on a call, proper communication skills teach children about mutual respect and help in developing their writing skills.


Children are being taught a multitude of subjects in school, but the fundamentals of learning and studying are not.

Right or wrong, they try and find their own way and sometimes, they waste time being on the wrong path of learning and wonder why they're not getting the grades when they have put all the effort into it.

Children need to be guided on the best way to assess the correct information and process it intelligently. We do want them to learn not just to memorise information, but to actually understand the information that is being taught to them.

As we know, children have a limited attention span and in the world we live in right now with everyone inevitably on social media and all the short-form videos that comes with it, our attention span, even as adults, is getting shorter and shorter, therefore learning to focus is more needed now than ever.


Children are often taught to read time, which is great but that's as far as it normally gets.

With their tight schedules, the amount of homework, studying for tests, assignments that need to be handed in by a certain deadline and extra activities they are involved in, it's only natural that they are taught how to manage their schedules through time management.

Prioritising tasks, having a routine, and estimating lengths of time in which they need to do something in would be so useful for children and will be increasingly valuable as they grow older and have to manage their lives on their own.

time management


School shouldn't be about force-feeding information to children and asking for blind obedience from them.

Children are naturally born with inquisitive and curious minds and this should never be suppressed. Children should be encouraged to ask questions and question any logic they don't understand.

Critical thinking is all about curiosity, keeping an open mind and being flexible, and problem-solving relates closely to these critical thinking skills. Seeing a situation or a problem from different angles and finding their own solutions is something children are naturally good at and we should encourage and cultivate it.

We definitely want to stay away from the 'one solution fits all' mentality, and we most certainly do not want to pass this on to our children.

There are always multiple ways of looking at a problem and multiple solutions to a problem. We do not need to stifle our children from being the creative human beings they naturally are.


All children should be taught basic law and especially their rights.

For instance, can someone get arrested for trespassing or destruction of property? Is it a misdemeanour or a felony? What if someone gets into a fight and hurts someone? What can they be charged with? Stealing is wrong and if someone gets arrested? Can someone be arrested for not paying a loan or their credit card?

What about sexual harassment? What constitutes sexual harassment and what are the laws that support it?

What are their rights - as a child, a teenager and even as adults?

Children should be equipped with an understanding of the law and their rights even before they leave school.


Getting up and moving forward after failure shows a great deal of resilience and determination.

From young, children are faced with situations that just don't necessarily go the way they want them to go.

It could be from a failed test or a project, naturally, children (as do everyone else) respond with frustration, anxiety and disappointment. It's important that they be allowed to feel these emotions, but it's equally important to teach them how to overcome these failures and how they can learn from them.

Children should never be led to be afraid of trying because they are afraid of failure.

Teaching children to cope with the little failures that they face and the emotions they feel, will help them build a foundation that will allow them to grow emotionally and be more resilient.


For thousands of years, the world has been comprised of people of different ethnicity, race and diverse backgrounds.

Diverse opinions, beliefs and schools of thought come with diverse backgrounds.

Yet our society today is still lacking in the understanding and acceptance.

Children should be exposed to this so that when they come to that point in their lives where they are standing in the middle of diversity, it will not be alien to them and will be able to thrive and be comfortable.

Final Thoughts.

Our education system can do so much more to elevate the learning experience to much more than what is traditionally being taught in schools.

There are so many things that can be done to integrate these small learning opportunities that will have a big impact on enriching children's lives.

School shouldn't just be about passing grades and reaching KPIs.


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