Saturday, June 16, 2007

Paid To Learn

Love the idea of paying kids to score better grades Traditional wisdom would say paying kids to make their grades or read a book is strictly a no-no. It goes against the very grain of what good education is all about. Teachers would frown upon parents who bribe children with financial incentive to study instead of helping them discover the joy of learning. Maybe there is a fine line between bribe and incentive, between bait and reward. Scholarships and prizes are respectable because they are awarded for exceptional merit or achievement. Maybe for kids in difficult socio-economic circumstances, staying on in school is an achievement worth rewarding just as much as scholastic excellence is for the rest of the kids.

Sometimes even the best and most time-tested traditional wisdom must make way for innovative ideas that address modern, non-traditional circumstances. In India, they try to keep the kids from slums in school by giving them free meals and sometimes extra portions they can take back to their families. Just for the food, the families let the kids attend school. While the education does not take the majority very far, some do end up making good use of it and in that the system could be considered a success.

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