I refrain from using Hindi words in an English language post. Not that I don’t like Hindi but I feel mixing the languages dilutes the impact, lowers the value. And yet, sometimes it is the only way you can describe the exact state of affairs, of life around you. ‘Ram Bharose’ is how I define it, aptly, precisely.
The current state of the knowledge that we feed our children through the temples of learning, the schools. Last week, I set out on a journey to know more about the indian education system. The more I explored, the more annoyed I felt about what the schools today think is important for the children. Or what they think lures the parents. Aren’t schools meant to allow children to explore their true selves? Not that they were doing that in the earlier times, but the way world is changing, the system, I was hoping, would take a turn for the better.
Right from turning basements into playgrounds to just having a single counselor for 2000 students, that too because the government says so, business is an apt term. They know that there is nothing wrong in commercializing and selling the agenda of education. Because the parents will anyways trickle in, the brand will grow, the branches will flourish. AC rooms –are they a requirement or a vast ground for the budding footballers? The exteriors are polished; they train the future gymnasts too. The fees, skyrocketing.
Then you come to the question for which you are willing to pay that humungous amount. You inquire about the methods of teaching, ‘Ma’m it is concept based. Not rote learning. Individual child attention’. You smile with relief. That’s what it is ‘On Paper’.
But in a hushed tone, if you can read between the lines, one size has to fit all. You cannot be a different fish; you have to grow the stripes, just like everyone else.
You have to fit in.
“Didn’t you say concept based? The child’s way of learning? A fish has to remain a fish and not turn into a zebra.” You turn around and ask. “But Ma’m, in effect, that’s how it has to be.”
That’s right. That’s what is needed at every level. And you are trained to do so; that’s individual child attention. You are trained to toe the line. Now, that’s what is missing in the old schools.
The old schools have prim buildings, large playgrounds, and open green fields but the methodology would put even the buried British to shame. With more than 50 students cramped in a room, does the teacher even remember the name of the back bencher? She writes and writes on the board because she has a target to complete, syllabus to finish. The students will go home, cram it and then spit it out on the exam paper.
Mission accomplished. In old and new alike.
We did that. Sadly, our children are doing the same. Unfortunately, the schools are focusing more on material than actually doing something to change. To make the children think beyond the curriculum, ahead of their time, allowing them to perceive the facts in their own individual manner.
Ram bharose, the children move from one class to another, knowing little about what and where to use what they are reading. If someone happens to be rapt in the class, he or she has more chances of growing big, the rest settle down and accept to be dwarfs. They are made to accept, if they don’t. Because old or new, only the methods have changed; the ideology remains the same. You have to be a diamond to begin with. They will dust you, a little polish and you are ready to face the world with your 3 Carat glow. But what happens to the raw carbons, needing a little heat, a little more nurturing, a potential of 8 Carat, perhaps? They simply suffocate in the rubble without a whimper. Some courageous ones find their calling after years and pave their way. But no one knows how many have died an untimely death in that rubble because the oxygen, the caring hand never reached out to them. Just because they couldn’t comprehend the workings of the world, the way rest of us did. The scenario hasn’t changed. The make-up is on; it looks beautiful. Still no one is ready to make the effort to find that ‘Extra’ to put in front of the ‘Ordinary’.