Indian Education in the dumps

Yes. the children are posing because I am shooting them as a tourist…

Village kids - Red Hills (Near Ooty in Tamilnadu India)

Village kids - Red Hills (Nr. Ooty Tamilnadu India)

But they look very happy. Don’t they? And what all we do to them in the name of education.

“A child’s abuse begins when a teacher’s intelligence doesn’t match the kid’s.”

This is how a recent article in Outlook India “summarizes” Corporal Punishment in Indian schools.  The case made headlines all over India so it’s natural for the magazine to put up a cover-story which says this -

[What’s the din all about, you ask—specially in a country where child rights have never been the focus of a national discussion? Well, for one, though corporal punishment is a crime punishable by law, and two judgments have expressly banned corporal punishment, it has taken the death of Rouvanjit Rawla, a Class VII student of La Martiniere School, Calcutta, to start a public debate on corporal punishment.]

Now here is a list (though I guess that the actual cases maybe infinitely more.. a million times, perhaps?)

  • In 2009, Shanno, a Class II student in a school in Bawana, Delhi, died of a heat stroke after she was made to squat in the sun.
  • Last year, Punita Singh, mother of a Class III student at St John’s High School, Chandigarh, complained to the state administration that a teacher had slapped her son several times. An inquiry found the teacher, Reema Talwar, guilty.
  • This May, Indu Bala, principal of the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, Chandigarh, slapped a Class XII student when she was talking to her friend during a free period. Bala, who was on deputation to Chandigarh from Haryana, was sent back to her parent cadre.
  • In October 2009, two Class III children of St Joseph English Medium School in Mydukur, Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh, were found speaking in Telugu. They were forced to wear a slate around their neck, declaring ‘I will never speak in Telugu’.
  • When a Class III teacher in a Hyderabad school hit a boy, his hand was so swollen that his parents took him for an X-ray which showed a fracture. The school just reprimanded the teacher.
  • In Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh, a bleeding child had to be rushed home after his teacher threw a duster at his head for talking in class. The teacher was suspended.
  • Earlier this year, Somesh, studying in a prestigious private school in Bangalore, was humiliated and caned by his teacher for not bringing colour pencils to school. The teacher also asked Somesh’s classmates to give him a rap on his thighs. Incidentally, it was the child’s birthday.
  • On June 19, Satish, a child from a government school in Chennapatna in Ramanagaram district, 60 km from Bangalore, was thrashed so harshly by a teacher that it left bruises on his hand and back. The teacher, Hemavathy, was suspended and arrested.
  • A year ago, in a government school in Annehalli of Mulbagal taluk of Kolar district, Karnataka, his teacher beat Umesh so hard that he had to be treated at nimhans, Bangalore, and continues to feel traumatised. The teacher, thankfully, was suspended.
  • In 2006, a Class VIII student from Guru Nanak High School, Sion Koliwada, Mumbai, died a day after being beaten and made to climb three flights of stairs on his knees for being late to school.
  • A Class VIII student from St Francis High School, Vasai, Mumbai, was beaten with a metal ruler by a teacher for causing commotion. It left Nirmal with bruises on his upper back, shoulder and left arm and cuts on his forehead.
  • In early 2008, eight-year-old Rohit Kumar Sakpal of Sangli, Maharashtra, was beaten to death by his headmaster.
  • Last year, Tinha, a Class VII student at Little Angels High School, Sion, Mumbai, had to undergo humiliation because her hands had mehendi designs that she and her friends had done for Id. She was made to sit outside the principal’s office on the floor facing a toilet for over six hours, for two successive days.

Has anyone in the Indian Government bothered to read these letters & complaints?

Source: Outlook – Towards A Kinder Garten

Closer home at Mumbai, just recently there was a news item regarding Goregaon’s Vibgyor High School.

I see from this there is nothing like compliance of laws by the school here. Even RIGHT TO EDUCATION, literally looks like an unjustified set of rights here, that too in cities….who knows what’s happening in the villages out there?

“The schools are supposed to provide quality education to one and to all, irrespective of the social class etc. Only then we are bound to have an Educated India. Isn’t that the vision of India,the upcoming superpower?

There are these huge schools that I pass by when going around the Mumbai city, which have fees of 5 to 10 lacs per year. I am not saying that these schools don’t teach, or they are bad, all I say is that these are not schools opened for imparting knowledge but are merely “minting agencies“.

There are brainy children in the rural areas as well, they know no
English but they can understand the complexities of geometry that I hadn’t understood during my school days. And.. What about people with less resources. What about educating them ?

I fear that the number of such money making institutions are exceeding by the day leaving middle-class parents clueless about the education of their children.

In the Goregaon case I mentioned before the High Court has intervened and said to the child  to find another school for your own good. Wow, Isn’t it ?

Coming across a variety of  such articles almost everyday, I feel that India’s education system needs a total revamp.  For my child, I feel that homeschooling is going to be the best option.

As a side note, have a look at these relatively small news articles in Mumbai Mirror  -

I would have been better, says contender
Dr A D Sawant, former pro-vice chancellor of Mumbai University, wrote a letter to the governor raising objections against his competitor’s selection. This is the first time a candidate has questioned the selection process. Sawant, the Vice-Chancellor of Rajasthan University, alleged Welukar did not have the credentials for the top varsity job. He said, “The coveted post can be filled only by a strong visionary and researcher with experience in guiding students at the doctoral level. He should have published several papers and established his reputation internationally. He should be at least of professor’s rank.” Sawant said Welukar did not fulfill these requirements. He added, “If such candidates are selected as vice-chancellors, I am really concerned about the future of higher education in the country.”

What do I say to this ? You know how all the setup in the government sector is biased. Everything in our country is favoured. I guess it’s not about the well-being of the students that these hypocrites are worried about rather it’s about their so called chancellorship, that they desperately want. No and they don’t want to take the responsibility of the students when they commit suicides, and they don’t take responsibility when the fee hikes, all they want is this.

Tell me why I should not be against the formal system of education because of such instances. What does a good teacher have to do with how many papers he/she’s published? You may be a complete misfit though you have the qualifications, but what we need in the system now is not theory, we need practicality. Students need to be interacted with, guided not ruled upon, and made to look like slaves. So it doesn’t matter what you wear or what you talk or what you’ve published or which position you’ve held, students don’t like preachers they want friends they can open up to.

Related to the above is the article praising the new vice chancellor

It’s time for some practical learning
Rajan Welukar, 51, the new vice chancellor of Mumbai University, intends to take students from the realm of the theoretical to that of the practical. The director of Sydenham College, who took charge as head of the 153-year-old University, said, “In the corporate world, it is often said that Mumbai University graduates have only theoretical knowledge. It will be my challenge to bring in experimental and practical learning in the curriculum.”

Tall claims, don’t you think? Let’s see what the new vice-chancellor has to offer to the poor burden laden students….every time an oath is taken but never fulfilled. In fact you get to hear every year that exam papers were found in the local trains etc. Parents, teachers, peer pressure makes a child study harder, to achieve what? A lost answer sheet in the train…wow!!! Why can’t we have a computerized examination in a proper manner? That’s easier.

With a billion nationals we as Indians haven’t progressed in terms of education. Without mincing my words I say that any kind of laws including RTE are a joke. Amendments won’t be made, policies to comply with the growing student population will never be made, but chancellors will be elected!

This happens only in India.The problem of poverty and population which is a cyclical process can be eradicated by education alone. But not of this kind.

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3 thoughts on “Indian Education in the dumps

  1. Hi

    I am a mom of a 5 yr old and am homeschooling him in Chennai. Would like to add your blog to my blog list and would also like to know if I can leave the URL for my blog on yours, so that I don’t have to write down everything again twice! So do check it out and let me know. Would love to share thoughts, ideas and comments too.

    My blog is : http://people-for-change.blogspot.com

    Priya

  2. Hi,
    I studied in St. Johns Senior Secondary School in Chennai, and the some teachers there (though not all) have no mercy at all.
    They beat children really badly and treat them with utmost disrespect. I am a 2001 pass out and i don’t know how they are now.
    But nevertheless some teachers are really heartless they beat and abuse kids a lot.
    – Yaseen

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