When I think of my education, I think 3 things made it worthwhile for me:
- Teachers who gave me space to learn at my own pace
- Curriculum (NCERT)that aroused curiosity and provided means to satisfy it
- Mentors and guides who taught without teaching – teachers, parents, seniors, friends, well-wishers
When I look at my child’s education, I find all 3 are missing:
- Teachers are under too much stress to complete the prescribed curriculum in the midst of myriad of activities a modern school gets involved in (song and dance competitions, events to generate PR, programmes to woe new ‘customers’) for a classroom with 40-60 students!
- Curriculum is replaced by content of mediocre quality (at least in lower classes) and misplaced focus on grades and competitive exams of all kinds (there are more olympiads in Indian schools than you can count)!
- Social connect with people is shrinking so much that there is no opportunity anymore to interact and learn, from your neighbor’s dad, your doodhwala or rickshaw-wala, ever-enthusiastic dadaji, or that ‘bhaiya who studies in IIT’!
So what am I doing about it? Nothing I guess.
- I haven’t tried to find a school for my kids which can give them space (assuming such a school exists)
- I haven’t argued enough with the school authorities about quality of book and lesson plans.
- I am still pursuing my career goals and don’t have the same amount of time for my kids that my dad had for me
I am letting the education eco-system fail for the next generation. I guess I am not the only one doing so, but that doesn’t change a thing. Education is dying as this eco-system fails – slowly first, then rapidly.
15 years hence, when my daughter writes about her experience of her education, I wonder what she will write.