A new academic phenomenon which is becoming incrementally popular with school-college leavers, is to take a gap year to explore career options, travel, perfect a new skill or sports intelligence, sign up with a community service NGO and/or contemplate future directions. A decade ago, this option would have been considered a waste of time and an indulgence of spoilt rich kids.
But with greater awareness that teens and young adults need time off after 15 years of K-12 hard grind, parents and educators are warming to the idea of a gap year to best develop teenagers’ co-curricular and extra-curricular skills which are becoming increasingly important in complex and continuously evolving workplaces. Moreover, with the rampaging global Covid-19 pandemic having thrown academic life out of gear, many young adults believe this is a good time to take a sabbatical.
According to the American Gap Association, 90 percent of college/university students who take a gap year return re-energised and refreshed and their subsequent grades tend to be higher than of peers. The association also highlights that gappers return more self-confident, mature and independent.
In our year-end cover story, we focus on the rising popularity of gap year option, the advantages of taking a sabbatical, and the many learning resources — online and offline — available to gappers. The consensus of opinion among educators is that a structured gap year with equal measures of learning, travel, workplace experience, adult mentorship and quiet contemplation is the perfect mix for a sabbatical year. But they also caution that a gap year shouldn’t be wasted.
There’s much else in this information-packed issue of ParentsWorld. Check out the Early Childhood essay ‘Replace gadgets with toys’ in which child psychologists and pediatricians advise parents on ways and means to introduce youngest children to stimulating educational toys; and our Middle Years feature on Covid-19 transmission by children. Moreover, our highly-qualified columnists, the UK-based parenting expert Sue Atkins and well-known pediatrician Dr. Harika answer parents’ queries ranging from managing boomerang kids to weaning children off junk food.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!