End of hair-length rule small step in right direction
Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana has abolished his ministry's strict regulations on length of students' hair, while still requiring that the student tie it or make it look tidy. It's a very long-overdue overhaul of a rule that should never have seen the light of day - and just a tiny step towards a much-needed overhaul of our entire education system.
Phongthep should heed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's adviser Dr Olarn Chaipravat, who noted, "Our [education] system is all about one-way communication. Students have to memorise textbooks in order to pass exams, but they never learn [how] to think." I suggest that Dr Olarn's right. The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement has given our educational system an overall assessment of "poor", with our scores dropping with every successive round of tests.
We should follow Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, one of which is "Begin with the end (goal) in mind." Thus, per Dr Olarn, in education, our goal should be to teach students how to think. Hair or skirt length, etc. have nothing to do with learning, so why pay any attention to them, so long as the students' dress was within the law?
Instead, listen to Bertrand Russell: "If the object (of education) was to make pupils think, rather than to make them accept certain conclusions, education would be conducted quite differently; there would be less…instruction and more discussion." In our class discussions, I suggest that we should follow our Lord Buddha: "Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true."
Teach our students how to think, not what to think.