Thai Education 4.0
Pictures of Thai university students dressing up as Adolf Hitler and China's Red Guards were circulated online earlier this week. Apparently, they mimicked these historical figures lightheartedly while doing a Nazi salute during their faculty's activity.
C'mon, guys. How many times does your bizarre fixation on Hitler have to be in the news before you get that this isn't cool? It wasn't okay all those times before, why did you think it was okay last week? A quick Wikipedia read and you would've known these figures were way too horrible to have made light of. Also, why would the Red Guards do a Nazi salute? Get your history right.
This incident got me thinking. Instead of teaching kids to dance Thai-style or play a Thai musical instruments, there are other pressing lessons that could benefit our future generations in a more practical way. Here are some subjects that should be taught right now, IMHO.
- World History 101
Let's cover important events, especially with all those countries we have diplomatic relations with for a start. This would prevent any internationally embarrassing incidents that came about from ignorance occurring. WWI and WWII in the context of key countries and Thailand as well as slavery in America could easily take up a whole semester. It will enlighten Thai kids on Hitler's role in the Holocaust in which about six millions Jews were killed, why it isn't cute to call a Japanese person a 'j**' (rhymes with cap) and why going to a costume party with a blackface isn't mai pen rai. Being sensitive to other cultures should be valued given that we live in this increasingly interconnected world. We don't want to be viewed as an ignorant bunch, do we?
- How to Adult
Some of our kids will grow up to be a leader one day. This course will teach them how to inspire growth and true respect among people under them and how to react when a junior disobeys them. At least, they ought to know not to throw a mug at someone who has upset them.
- Online Don'ts
Teaching our kids about online don'ts is as crucial as teaching them IRL ones, if we want a better online society. For instance, they should know that posting or reposting a story without verifying its truth could irreparably damage someone. They should know that those who post pictures of someone whose appearance isn't up to their beauty standards to ridicule them just shows how ugly they truly are. Copying a meme or picture from another page and reposting it as if it's yours is a form of stealing. The list can go on and on.
- Love Thy Skin
This course aims to undo the false notion that people with a darker complexion are less happy and successful compared to those with a pale complexion, as perpetuated in ads of skin whitening products. It explores the dangers of bleaching one's own skin with chemicals as well as equips students with self-acceptance mantras so they can face the world with confidence, regardless of their skin shade.
- Introduction to Double Standards
Life isn't fair so we're better off preparing the kids for this fact of life which they will become more painfully aware of as they grow older. If you drive a super car, fancy malls will reserve a space especially just for you. Being born into a rich or powerful family comes with a get out of jail free card. The cases against you may get delayed or become lenient. Yay for you, bad for the damaged party, but whatevs.
Students are recommended to take an introduction to favouritism, nepotism, cronyism and homophobia as well. Oh, believe me, these topics will become so relevant to them when they grow up.
- The Intricate Art of Using Bangkok Footpaths
The space of our footpaths is limited, precious and yet laden with obstacles. The vendors aren't going anywhere soon, nor are the unused telephone booths and the utility poles. Therefore, those kids should know when to walk single file, skip over a loose brick or walk like a crab to safely navigate themselves on a footpath. This course concludes with a field trip focusing on how to dodge motorcycles.
- Critical Thinking
Umm....I don't know what it is. I studied in Thai schools all my life, you see. I can recite a multiplication table chart from 2 to 24 like nobody's business, though.
Thailand is getting 4.0. Our curriculum too could use an update, don't you think?
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