Homeschool legal in India ?

Today morning since my Times had not yet come by seven, by chance I got to read yesterday’s Mumbai Mirror an came across an article on problems with today’s education.

There are hundreds of such articles since the last few years but my yesterday’s efforts of finding about homeschooling concept in India led me to google it and read it in detail. Here are some excerpts-

‘Schools need to understand why a student fails’
Opinions of Dr Padma M Sarangapani,
Professor, Centre for Studies in Sociology of Education, TISS
Mumbai Mirror Link

[We need to understand why a student fails and in what ways schools and their working contribute to this. If a child attends school regularly then why wouldn’t s/he pass? Schools need to review their working and then enable a child to pass.]

[Currently, most schools do not have clarity on what they expect a child to be able to do when s/he completes a grade. Schools must spend time in planning how they can resolve such issues rather than just picking up the text and teaching.]

[We need to get out of the culture of celebrating toppers. But people think that by giving up the merit list, the competitive edge will be lost. Instead, we need to study the performance of the entire cohort and how it is improving over the years. This is the kind of analysis which will contribute to raising the overall standards of the education system.]

Now reading this, I thought about Homeschooling. I mean if the system doesn’t improve, we need to improve it or get out of the system, right? ( I remember some of the Education articles I saw on this blog called Antidote by Sauvik Chakraverti)

This lead to re-reading of the articles in Indian Express by Chinki Sinha, I found them yesterday through the Alt-Ed-India Yahoo Group, extracts of which I am putting below –

Article 1

Plea dismissed, but homeschooling still a grey area
Chinki Sinha Mon May 31 2010

[…

Now, with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, which stipulates eight years of formal education for all children, parents in favour of homeschooling are confused about whether the Act has scope for the mode of education.

A writ petition to this effect was filed in the Delhi High Court in March this year by 12-year-old Delhi girl Shreya Sahai, who decided to go for homeschooling as it would allow her more flexibility to pursue her interests — music, photography and painting.

…]

Read the whole article to know about the current position of Homeschooling with respect to the Indian Government.

Article 2

We don’t need no education
Chinki Sinha Thu Jun 03 2010

[….

There is a reason why a tiny fraction of parents, dissatisfied with the state of formal education in India, didn’t figure in the larger context of the Act. There aren’t many parents who homeschool their children in the country — conservative estimates put the number anywhere between 500 to 1,000 children In many cases, it is disabled children who are homeschooled because the education system is not geared to provide special education to all disabled children.

….

…that the Delhi region IIT-JEE topper, the 14-year-old Sahal Kaushik, was homeschooled, and that shows homeschooling is not just a fad. The modern-day American homeschooling movement began in 1969 ……In India, it is more of a reaction rather than a well-thought out option.

….That’s where homeschooling is in India today. The desire in a country that is teeming with millions who can brandish degrees is to stand apart. India needs to have to evolve the regulatory mechanisms that exist in other countries where homeschooling has been successful. Besides, even the worst of schools have their advantages. Growing up together teaches a child how to compete, yet work in a team.

]

The second article is like an opinion piece and lists out the best and worst of homeschooling and also as to how small or “unique” the concept is in India (Did you know Wikipedia lists several countries under Homeschooling but not India?)

Is the article trying to say that only gifted children or exceptionally qualified should be home-schooled? Or for that matter – only special children? What about normal children ? And how do you define normal ?

I have a lot to explore and learn as to how I should adopt homeschooling for my son if I decide to go ahead. Since he is yet to be two, I hope the situation regarding legal & procedural issues of homeschooling gets cleared by then, and he can have “whatever kind of education” he wants.

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