“Life, after all, isn’t a morning walk, it is a race and I’m here to win it”, this contorted version of a dialogue from a Bollywood movie aptly describes the state of affairs in most urban areas. People from small villages and towns flock to the apparently urbanized sectors to get more opportunities, to get better education and definitely to make more money. As a result, every service has been consumerised and the educational institutions are no exception. With the rise in suicide rates among students, we often land up watching and participating in of the most popular unresolved debates regarding the present educational system; that of whether there is too much stress, too much peer pressure on a child. Should the board exams be abolished? Will grading system bring any relief?A very important question also is, do our schools deliver what they should? While their only aim should be to harness young minds and make capable and good human beings, the schools of today seem to be interested in a lot more areas most of which do not benefit their students. Ideally speaking, a school – a supposed second home to the child – should provide every student with equal opportunities of growth, encourage slow learners and help students get out of their cocoons. However, an observation brings about a different picture. Most schools today, run by private organizations or public trusts of some kind, are too bothered about the “image” and “name” of their institutions, thus making them more focused on building an image for themselves rather than building personalities or characters.
The managements of schools seem to function with a different ideology than that of education providers. This is evident from the fact that many schools save money by keeping teachers on a contract basis, take donations in the name of development funds etc. However, the school does not seem to be bothered about the fact that the students might suffer if they chuck out the teacher in mid-session. Their primary aim remains of managing the school in a good budget. Moreover, the image factor has led to a superficial healthy competition among schools. As a result, every school wants to produce board toppers and a 100 per cent pass result, so that it may be pompously advertised.
To get a good result, the management pressurizes the teachers; the teachers in turn are left with no option but to push the students. Degradation from one section to another on not performing, taking back scholar batches on not maintaining consistent percentage are few ways adopted by most so-called “elite” schools to keep up their “good result”. The sad part is, the importance of “result” no longer remains an issue with just the Board classes. It has become a nationwide problem (if I may say so) as far as the student community is concerned – right from nursery to class twelfth.
Now, when teachers (who are mostly constrained by time) push students, parental help becomes more crucial. Yet sadly, most parents today are not caring enough to see if their child is capable of putting in as much effort and provide results as is being demanded. They just bother about the report card. All A’s, 90 per cent aggregate, perfect ECA – everything is desired. When an average child fails to be “a someone” better, he has to face the consequences in more ways than one. Indirect taunts from teachers and friends, disappointed parents and family is just of the things. A young child is made to feel guilty into trying harder. No one seems to appreciate the fact that he is just learning and trying to achieve something. We groom him/her to be a ‘result oriented’ human instead of making him/her something else, adding meaning to his/her life.
The viscious circle in this case at least is not yet too cyclic; a few changes here and there and we might just do better. The problem here does not just lie with the child. The problem, in fact, lies with the attitude of the school authorities and the parents. We say “our children are our future” and we let the future die in our present. We are at fault and we just need to admit it and change ourselves, rest will fall in place itself.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gargi/210105760/]