Following the trend of recent times, I see my students spending around 6 hours in school, 2 hours in the journey to and fro, and then they have extra-curricular activities, studying from their private tutor and doing their homework. Amidst all this they are deprived of the time for themselves –time to play, time for self study, time to spend with their family.
Does your child paint? Does he write –anything gibberish, but totally his own? I don’t see kids doing that nowadays. They behave like robots – learning by heart the suggestions given by the teachers, playing on computer or mobile. Sometimes I feel we are losing our children to technology. It feels like they are being rushed forward in an endless parade, never stopping, never looking around. Does the 21st century child enjoy the novelties of childhood?
What concerns me more is the method the educationalists have chosen to impart the education in. Surely I am not an expert on the subject, but I can take the liberty of comparing the method of teaching when we were kids with that of the present times. We had started with learning to make small sentences, the parts of speech etc. I see my students of class-I preparing Q/A of 6 or 7 chapters for their examinations. They can’t write a single answer themselves. It is wrong to expect them to do so. What they do is mug up all the answers. Developing such a habit which stays with them forever, never writing their own answers, scribbling thoughts of other people on their answer sheets, storing the same in their mind, never developing a perspective of his own is such a sad thing.
Is it really essential to introduce history, geography, computer so early in life? Can’t the study of information wait a little longer while we concentrate on teaching them language and mathematics; so that they can express themselves, so that they can express their own feelings and not depend on a loaned vocabulary or a loaned idea.
One more practice that I find disturbing is the CCE pattern of examination. Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation or the CCE is the exam pattern we all are familiar with. It is a set of 6 sets of exam spanned throughout the academic year. So it is quite clear that one who studies throughout the year will excel in it. It’s definitely a good scheme to ensure that a student is in touch with his studies throughout the year. But let’s make a quick calculation – a year has 365 days, 52 weeks. Let’s subtract Saturdays and Sundays as the schools are closed on those days. Subtracting 104 from 365 gives us 261 days. The Summer Vacation spans 30 days, Winter Vacation, Puja Vacation and other national holidays make up another 30 days of vacation. Subtracting these days we get a total of 201 days of school. Supposing 6 sets of exam in each of the 10 subjects, the children have exam once in every 3 days approximately.
Considering one subject is taught for one period each day, is two periods sufficient to study a particular topic, understand it, and eliminate all doubts so as to schedule the test for the 3rd day? What about the boy who could not attend school for a month for being sick? Will he ever catch up? Will we even give him the opportunity to do so? Even if we have 2 or 4 sets of exam a year, will there not be a difference in the marks scored by a regular student and one who studies just a day before the exam? Then what is the utility of this rigorous process? Can we force someone unwilling to study, and mend their ways by this method? What about your child? Is he faring well- doing his homework, extra-curricular work yet studying for one test and revising for the 2nd one? Is he a child? Or is he a slave- driven by your expectation, the standards set by the society? Is he really being educated or is being trained?