Education in India: A Double Standard World

A very famous English newspaper which is read by a majority of sane Indians, and is regarded as a conveyer of quality news with good food for thought has started a ridiculous campaign.

It has apparently surveyed a number of schools in Mumbai and has come up with a merit list of the top most and best schools in Mumbai, region- wise. Initially I liked the concept and the fact that all the news related to the campaign appeared on page two of the main paper which in itself was a relief as education was somewhere made a priority in our country.

As the survey happened and the names of the schools appeared I was stunned.

All schools, mind you all of them, had some thing in common-Quality education.

What is their criterion of quality? Good infrastructure, well equipped classrooms, and as I noticed teachers in rich silk saris. Is that how you define a good school?

All these schools that topped the list were mostly IB, CBSE, IGCSE or what not? Board.

Irrespective of that, their fees ranged from one lakh to five lakh rupees a year, thus implying that only rich schools can dispense quality education. Coming from a middle class school with middle class students yet an excellent education there is no way I could second their thoughts.

I learnt Sanskrit not French, had benches that were a little rough with things scribbled on them, never learnt a chapter with a projector, nor did I have four uniforms in a week to wear…yet I sustained, and so well! And I bet there is no way I cannot compete with any of those students who call themselves a something –ITE!

My school was rich, we had a huge ground to play, we had a black board to decorate everyday especially on special occasions, my teachers seemed just like my mother, ordinary yet extremely giving and talented, my co students were extremely brilliant, all excelling in their respective fields today.

The point here is what kind of a world are we aiming for? The one which looks like Shanghai where people have a Dharavi mentality? Where men abuse women freely on roads and hardly follow laws? Even if we can make it Shanghai will it last long enough?

Another very important thing to note here is the rosy picture that we are painting for our children. They might feel at home or probably even better than that in these schools. But, what after that? Will they not have constricted mentalities?

We did have exams and the pressure. But we never killed ourselves. Just because a handful few aren’t competent enough or don’t want to take the pains to accept the hard work they need to put in, can we just remove exams? And does that imply removing stress? When I was a child I had never even realised that I could also be affected by a phenomena called stress!

I don’t want to justify the current prevailing education system at all .I agree it needs to change for the better. But the only question is- how to learn and what to learn should not be solely decided by us as elders.

Let children be exposed to different ventures, let them falter, make wrong decisions, have pressures and learn to deal with it and most importantly figure it out on their own.

We will no longer need self help books or counselors then…it’s high time we rethink this one!

Ankita Bhatkhande

Image Source [http://wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Higher-Education.jpg]