Asma Gilani is the principal of Our Own English High School, Sharjah. Image Credit: Supplied picture


Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir-Aggrey rightfully said, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation).”

Women are the primary care givers to their families in most societies. The paid nanny, the indulgent grandmother, an older sister are most likely to watch over the child during its first three critical years.

From the womb through its early formative years, the baby has more direct contact with women. It is during this time that the words, unspoken messages and expectations of the caregiving woman affect and determine the child’s future destiny most.

A woman who is prepared to face real life with confidence is likely to pass on that vibe to her child or sibling. When she is informed and aware, she will be better able to make the right choices for herself and others that she is responsible for as a sister, a wife or mother.

Learning, however, isn’t just about books – it never was. Life skills matter. How often in the real world would you apply the Euclid’s formula or identify the species of fungus on stale bread? Logic is in knowing good from bad, right from wrong and having the judgment to respect what you can do and things you need help with.

All relationships involve some level of interdependence. People in a relationship tend to influence each other, share their thoughts and feelings and engage in activities together. Because of this interdependence anything that changes or impacts one member of the family will have some level of impact on the other.

It’s imperative that we all must feel part of something larger than ourselves. We may have specific roles to play but we are unified with other members to accomplish the overall objective – the well- being of the child.

At Our Own English High School Sharjah, we have a unique programme called PULSE (Personal and Universal Life Skills Education). It is employed to groom the girls into individuals who can weather extreme conditions and prove their success.

Seminars are conducted on topics like Body Language, Dress to Impress, Interview Skills, CPR, Nutrition and Lifestyle, Stress and Emotions, Peer Pressure ,Relationships and Table Etiquette – facilitate the all-round development of the students. Experts from Zulekha Hospitals, RAK Medical University, Gulf Medical Hospital, New Medical Centre, SP Jain Institute of Management, IAME, Peoples Pro, Dubai Police, Child Guidance Medical Centre Sharjah, Lesley Cully- Buckle- Up Campaign conduct the respective modules.

Our PULSE modules inculcate life skills in our students, it facilitates the practice and reinforcement of psychosocial skills. It contributes to the promotion of personal and social development and the prevention of health and social problems. Girls learn to understand and manage their feelings and attitudes, behavioral adjustment and peer pressure.

With strengthened self-esteem, our girls develop intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to perform well. They have a sense of fulfillment in achieving good grades. They rise above feeling lost and make their own way to success. As teachers and parents we have to be by their side for encouragement.

A child who is broken from within needs complete support and trust. It is essential to empathize, support, assist and guide the child to learn from the mistakes and move forward.

The way we adults present ourselves, verbal or non – verbal, must be done with skill and sensitivity. Parents who attended the sessions reflected on their actions and responses and realized that they need to understand the potential of the child, recognize every small act and encourage the girls to do their best with limited comparisons.

Nothing we do for our children will be wasted. It may seem that they do not notice it, notice us or would rarely thank us, but rest assured that they are absorbing whatever we give them. We are their roots. If the roots are strong and supportive, how can there not be sweet fruit. 

Asma Gilani is Principal, Our Own English High School, Sharjah, and one of the winners of the 2012-13 Khalifa Award for Excellence in Education.