When I was born some decades ago, my parents immediately registered me for admission into the 8th standard of one of India’s top boys boarding schools. They had already planned 13 years in advance where I would go to senior school! Luckily, these days the timeframe between application and school admission is limited to one year.
However, there are quite a few parents who decide the playgroup their baby will join based on the likelihood of them getting the training needed to join the right pre-school which will train them for the right school and so on to the right college, which they hope will lead them to the right career!
These parents believe that there will be a lot of competition for the best jobs by the time their children graduate, so they want to give them the best possible head start. This is unfortunately a very limited view of education and how it can benefit their child.
The best way to understand what it takes to have a great career, is to look at the successful people around you and realize that there are many pathways available. People have made money in a wide range of vocations like chefs, designers, entrepreneurs, bankers, corporate CEOs, book authors etc. What is interesting is that many of these successful people did not go to the ‘so called’ right schools & colleges. They came from diverse backgrounds and forged their own paths to get to where they are today.
However, what is common among these successful people is that they have matched their strengths and passions to the right career which encouraged them to work hard at it, deal with numerous setbacks and finally come out on top. The vast majority of less successful people tend to be caught in jobs that do not match their strengths or do not excite them much, which leads them to mediocrity.
When your baby is born, you will have no idea how their character will develop. Will they grow up to be creative or extroverted or analytical or sports oriented? Most kids develop their personalities by exploring their environment and discovering themselves what they love and what they are good at.
Understand the teaching environment of the play group, pre-school and school before you admit your child there. Does the institution give your child a lot of opportunities or is it just focused on academics? Does it have a strict limiting culture or an open nurturing culture?
The best thing you can do as a parent is not to limit them by pre-planning every step of their development. You should expose your growing child to the widest variety of experiences possible and let them develop through the joy of discovery. Your child’s journey through life may be very different to what you want it to be. However, remember they will always be happier following their own path than one that has been imposed upon them!
About the Author
Akhil Shahani is the Managing Director of The Shahani Group, which runs a range of colleges in areas like business, media, real estate, finance and others. His colleges incorporate global industry oriented education systems that make their graduates truly employable. He is also a Venture Partner in Kaizen Private Equity, which is India’s first private equity fund focused solely on the education sector. In addition, Akhil serves as the Chairman of Global Discovery Schools, which are a franchised chain of 14 innovative schools.
Akhil’s work in the non-profit space is also extensive, he is on the advisory board of Unltd India & IDOBRO, which are two incubators supporting social entrepreneurs. He is the Director of the SAGE Foundation & Trustee of The Shahani Trust, which both have a range of charitable initiatives in education. Akhil sits on the board of 28 iconic colleges in Mumbai.
He has completed his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Chicago & is currently pursuing his PhD from the University of Liverpool, where his thesis is in the area of Student Employability.
Akhil is the recipient of many awards for his work in education like the Jamnalal Bajaj Award, Bharat Shiromani Award, PIMR Outstanding Educationist Award, Rex Karamveer Chakra Gold Award, the Bharat Gaurav Award and the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award among others. He is a regular speaker at conferences and has been extensively profiled in the media.
The following links have further details:
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/akhilshahani/
Akhil’s Blog: https://ask.careers/aks-notes/