Saturday, October 15, 2005

Doubts

I was recently talking to a friend of mine and he just told me how useless he feels now that he is in his final year of graduation. "The whole degree is useless", he told me. And I replied, "You feel just three years were a waste, I feel the whole education system in India is a waste." Yup, that sums up my feelings towards the education system in India, a system I literally abhor and I really do not subscribe to.

..........and then I read This article in TOI. It really made me think.

MUMBAI: Three-and-a-half year old Annapurni is a bundle of life and energy who prattles away in four languages and loves reciting her favourite folk tale about a farmer who spills ghee on the grass. Her parents, die-hard environmentalists Ganesh Subramanium and Sarita Pungaliya, have not sent her to school.

Like a small but growing number of parents in the city, they have decided to skip the process of formal education, avoiding the paranoia of school admissions, college entrances and the education rat race. Sampat and Vidya Shetty, parents of a bright four-year-old girl, Sanskriti, are also staunch believers in home-schooling.

"The current education system is more about stress, pressure and rote learning, less about knowledge," says Sampat. "Education today is all about mass-producing clones. With the high level of competition children lose their originality altogether."

The Shettys have both been journalists who in the course of their careers discovered how corrupt the institutions of higher education actually are. Yashodhara Kundaji and Kanwarjit Nagi read up extensively on various systems of education before deciding against putting their six-year-old son Anant in uniform.

"I remember how traumatic my initial years at school were because I didn't want to be separated from my parents," says Yashodhara. "I didn't want to put Anant through it." Outside the structured confines of the classroom these parents have much more freedom to explore other means of education, such as travel.
Continued...

This article talks about how few set of parents in Mumbai who do not believe in the mainstream education system do not send their children to school and prefer schooling them from Home. They echo similar sentiments that I have in mind against the education system in India. They walk their talk, they practise what they preach.

I suddenly began wondering would I be ever as courageous as them. Disgust and contempt towards the current education system not withstanding, is it a right decision to not send your kid to school altogether? Will the child be psychologically affected if s/he doesn't undergo the traditional schooling method? I mean, I am all for alternative schooling and education methods. But is pulling the child out of school totally recommended?

I think whatever said and done, school is one of the most important areas of socialisation for a kid. Howbeneficial it would be for a child? I am just wondering.... There is a quote in the article which talks about how the current education system is a all about massproducing clones and how children loose their originality all together. Well, I believe when you subscribe to a particular system, one does tend to loose the orginality to a certain extent, not completely. It takes lot of guts to do something which goes against the tide but which is something you believe completely. I do not know. I salute these parents coz they are following a path that they believe in despite the obvious opposition. Just makes me glad that ideals still work in this world. However I have my doubts. Can a child be taught about various other things, skills in life while going to a regular school? if not, is taking a child off school completely a right thing to do? I don't know. In future, the child has to survive in this society. Would lack of schooling mean lack of development of social skills? There are just loads of questions inside my mind.

I am all for alternative methods of schooling. But I feel uncomfortable when I think about a child being schooled at home. Coz, the child then misses an important part of his/her socialisation, which is very very important.

16 comments:

Alex said...

Ur post sure sets those gray cells whirrring!!

Its really wierd but its almost like our whole existence rests on a single sheet of paper.

I mean isnt it wierd that your lifes education finally boils down to a couple of marksheets.

You could be an Einstein that chose not to go to school and read every book and grasped every theory there was to know. But yet for all practical purposes you would be illiterate coz you dont have those almighty certificates.

And then again how many companies would risk recruiting you?

But then again, I guess no matter how much we criticise formal education...it is bound to stay.

For one how many parents really have the time(even if they wanted to) to teach their children at home.

Second a home based education would never grant the child the social skills he could gain in a school.

What of course is needed is an overhaul of the current system....something that would be a different story in itself

Nakul Mandan said...

A very relevant post here.

I absolutely agree that the current education system that we have is all about stress and pressure and also that it tends to produce clones.

However, I also share your concerns about the affects of not sending the child to school altogether.
And the concerns aren't just about the socialization bit of it. At different stages of our lives, the school plays a different role in shaping us into the men and women that we become - I sure learnt my A-B-C-D at school but I also learnt about competition at school, and however bad the word might seem, it is a reality of our society today that we can't deny.

The school, at times, also gave me role models other than my parents.
At other times, it turned out to be a place where I first came across conflicts and learnt with varying degrees of success and failure of coping with conflicts.

But most importantly, the school gave me lifelong memories of my childhood. When I look back, I sure remember the times when I felt undue pressure on me, but I also recall some fun-filled, feel-good times, memories that still bring a smile on my face. And I wonder if home education with all its pluses can still match the overall school experience with all its minuses.

jammy said...

looks like 99% of all journalists blog....gone are the days when Journalists stepped into the office reeking of alcohol, typed in their pres report and went back to sleep over the desk..only to be woken up by the "pasting" department and shown the first print.

wormtongue said...

hmm.. :) rightly said.. although it seems to be a romantic path to take. to teach ones own child the ways of the world. and not push it into a rat race..
i also agree that a kid needs to learn to socialize!

Hiren said...

I totally agree with you on education producing clones. One of my blogs "Make your passion your profession" similarly exposes the inadequacies of the education system.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the socialization part..but I have met some very interesting people who were home-schooled..and meeting them made me think if its that bad after all!!..
hmm...

Ashwin

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Vidya said...

Homeschooling or not - the child is eventually going to be within the same social confines as every other child...

You hear of alot of home schooling here in Australia - for various reasons. Some reasons that are similar to the above, and another major reason being that schools can be kilometers away if you are leaving in the "aussie outback"

What things is particular about the indian education system annoy you? I hear that India has some of the best schools - but I guess the "good" schools are not assesible to all?

King Kong said...

I recently saw a documentry on 60 minutes about US educational system, In that documentry they showed that present generation of students is programmed, they follow a timetable, do this, do that all dictated by parents or teacher. It further says that this students lack originality and more over if you ask student, they just want to be team player none of them want to be leader.

I am under the impression that Indian education system is better than US ones at least till high school level, after that US universities take over.

drsankalp said...

Hi there
there are some good points and there are some bad points in both systems...
well we will evolve with time.
nice blog
c yaa
sankalp

Gemini Girl said...

I wont like schooling my child at home. I mean, what about all the fun and the human emotional part if he doesnt goes thru all that what goes on in a school/class where he does all the things that other kids of his age do and feel? One fine day, he grows up all set to enter the corporate world, and the first words from someone outside hurts him so much that he breaks down completely.... I mean, ofcourse s/he isnt totally covered frm the world outside if schooled at home. but still there are nuances..... I wud want my child to have all those gud and bad experiences which I had while schooling... though it was pretty bad most of the time, I didnt loose my originality and stuff.

NaiKutti said...

first time here... tnx for dropping by...

And I replied, "You feel just three years were a waste, I feel the whole education system in India is a waste." -- to realize that its a waste u had to go throught it... so there was definitely a purpose (in this case to realize and make a confident statement that its a waste) in going through this and hence this wasn't a waste :-)... without going through it, this would have been a statement without any essence...

now coming to the question of education system, yes, it definitely sucks... its become more of a business than actually teaching... the stress, pressure, coaching and tution classes will make the kids go nuts... and where are moral values thought these days??, its all about math, science, etc.,

schooling at home??... i think its not a good idea... to fight in the society (even to the minimal level) the current education has become a necessity and if not done, it would deprve the kid of various things like mixing with people, socieatal behavior, etc..what if the kid later asks the parents why did u let me go through the home schooling instead of the actual one and if the kid feels that home schooling has made his life miserable, parents wouldn't have any answer... while its right on the parents side to think that the current school education sucks, the same need not apply to everyone (including the kids)... so its important to go through the current eductaion system with constant effort to make the kid more knowledgeable about the education system and why it sucks and the kid would then make a consicous decision to switch if necessary (this decision might come as late a after college or as early as 10th or 12th std)...

the only way it should be changed is to make the concerned authorities aware of it and changes in india occurs slowly in things like these...

The current schooling is defined, experience it (though u don't quite agree with it) and not avoid it coz u don't agree wih it... after the experience prove it to others that it was not worth doing and thats the best way to change it... and eventually, newer generation will have a whole new education system and wouldn't have t experience the education system which prevails now...

sorry for the long comment :-)

Khushee said...

Hmm. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. But I agree with your point of view :)

Bacchu (Anirudh) said...

My views are similar to yours though I do think that "formal education" isn't as useless as we make it out to be. By the way, you've been linked.

Swathi said...

hey!
this is kinda late... but im jus going through your blog and loving it!
about this issue...
well...u pretty much said everything... what is the right choice? one cant be too sure... it depends on the way you think doesnt it?
a child wont be able to socialize if he/she doesnt get to be around other children... on the other hand our system of education has become all about the money...Schools and Colleges have become money making institutions...
it sure is a tough choice!

Lyandra D'souza said...

I think home schooling is a much better option for children rather than sending them to a school which just teaches them to be one more sheep in a herd.