May 22, 2015
Have you ever noticed what happens to the rank students in later years? And why? How many of the rank students get rank repeatedly? May be just 5% of them. Why those 95% of the rank student fail to get repeated rank in the later stages of their studies if they are above the rest? Do you know that most of our students may not be in a position to identify an object kept in front of them of which they scored 100% in theory! Have you ever tried to find out what happens at tuition centres? Have you surveyed the demand / supply ratio at the job market before selecting the options for further studies? If not we will discuss in this article.
We are experts in doing things blindly. Mass blind followers. Particularly so in the field of education. Every parent wants their children to become a doctor an engineer as if only these two professions can give us money and recognition. Look at your surroundings. The answer you may find is a big NO. It was the situation two decades back, not anymore. Then why this blind craze in us?
The competition from kindergarten level itself is huge. Every other parent sends their children for tuition. So we need to follow them too. Have you ever noticed who teaches them? How differently they teach than at the school? Many promise individual attention beside so many other things. Have you ever thought how can they do it? They too put as many as students to earn more money. Visit those tuition classes once and you may find that the same repetition of process is going on as it was in the class room. And they just teach only one hour per day. It is very clear that individual attention is highly not possible in that short span. Many of the parents do not want their children at home, so they drive them out in the name of coaching. Many of the famous tuition institutions now don’t admit low scoring students. Because they don’t have time to focus on low scoring students and spoil their market value. So best thing is to admit good students and canvass about how many students from their institute got admitted to engineering and medical colleges.
I know from my native place an IIT (Mumbai) student; a MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA) and an IIT (Kanpur) student; they never received any rank in their student life, were relatively unknown till they finish 12th and entered IIT. From where they came all of a suddenly, overtook everyone and entered the top colleges?
Where is the problem then? The reason is we press on only numbers. No one is interested in developing reasoning ability in children. Memorise, vomit on the paper in 3 hours time and celebrate. Post big photos of those students at the road side hoardings to market and attract more students. Have we ever thought about these students whose photos now displayed on big screens at the roadside? Can they handle it positively? Is it not a false claim of having super brain? If not why these students fail to progress as they advance further and remain as an ordinary engineer or a doctor? How many of them actually becomes doctors? How many get merit seat! Have we ever analysed why do they fade away? Most shockingly almost every high school level institutions also started displaying this type of advertising.
Aren’t we putting these students under pressure? When a few institutions were doing it, it was a unique selling point. Now every corner of the village also we can find these displays. Is this necessary?
I do quiz competitions and have participated in many in the past. I observe generally the quiz master as well as guests praise the winners beyond limits about their intelligence during prize distribution ceremony. Many times I cautioned them not to do so. It is because there is no IQ involved in these types of competitions; the winners are generally avid readers. Thats all. We should learn to reward in a suitable manner considering many things particularly age since they may not be in a position to handle such praise positively.
One of my known person (home tutor) told me recently that on one of such advertising board he could find one of his students photo and he was shocked. The reason is, this particular student was not a member of that tuition centre at all. Since the students got good marks, one of the teachers from that coaching institute known to the student gave him 10grams gold and using the students name to market his coaching centre!!
Have we ever thought what these students do once they finish graduation? The job opportunities and the pay scale they are getting? Even today after all these inputs about career choices, majority of these parents/students opt for medical and engineering categories, just for title sake! And they are not hiding it also! An engineer is easily available in the market but not a Bsc (PCM) graduate!! You can get a software engineer easily but not a civil engineer! Now there is a demand for civil engineers in the market because during the burst of software industry two decades back, everyone went after computer engineering. As a result in many engineering colleges there was a lack of students for civil engineering studies and many colleges shut down civil department altogether . In one of my friend’s office in Dubai (MNC,senior accountant) a software engineer from India is also working with same pay scale (as accountants!). A science graduate today is earning more than the MBBS/BDS title holder! We are blindly following a two decade old market demand even now. We have not understood the changed scenario nationally and internationally.
One of my Malayalee colleagues wanted his son to be a doctor. His son did not have a merit seat either in MBBS or BDS. So just for title sake they purchased a BDS (Dental) seat and now struck badly. Because supply is more than demand, every corner there is a dental surgeon and further study (MDS) is very expensive, without merit and they can’t afford! The boy is cursing parents because it is their force he opted for it. Recently when I was in India while doing an evening walk I saw a dental surgeons clinic I am very sure it is also one more case like this considering the locality of the clinic!!
I am not against rank students, but the false glorification of it. I believe that a student who is capable of scoring 80% is capable of scoring 100% also and comes under the bracket of rank holders. Similarly a student who scores just 35% can be prepared to get 80%. Many of these students fail to make it big later on if their marks were built on memorization and vomiting. At the same time a student who builds his academic process on reasoning and problem solving ability reaches the top. They may not be shining initially but they win the race.
This is what we need to provide our children. Unfortunately we think it is the responsibility of the others (school). So we run after those schools and tuition classes. Hardly we believe that it is the home that makes or breaks a student. Consider a school setting and observe properly. For a rank, distinction, average and poorly performing student; all the parameters are same like school, teachers, books, syllabus and the total school environment. The only difference is home and parents. It is different for different student. Very few parents provide the right environment and hence very few actual performers.
If you want your children to excel in studies create a conducive environment at home that propels the child. Do not blame external circumstances. Remember the fact; the difference between students in a class is directly proportional to the quality of the parents of individual student and the environment at home. The formative years for any student as far as academics is concerned, is from age 10 to 16. During this period the the “academic DNA” is formed.
Parents play an important role not (only) the schools during this formative age. Instead of watching repeated telecasts of dirty family drams on the TV spend such useful time with children’s education. Don’t drive them out in the name of tuitions and you glue to TV sets. As long as you watch Color, Star Plus etc channels, no one, no school or institution can lift your child. Instead watch NGC or Discovery etc you may develop positive taste of watching and may get some insights to groom your child in the right direction.
During one of my conversation with a known person recently (because of which I wrote this article) the person questioned me why we need to study certain chapters in mathematics which is not at all helping in our daily lives. Unfortunately we have failed to understand the basic purpose of what actually we study. That varies from subject to subject. Maths is not to count how many pieces of vegetable or meat we made in the kitchen room. Like language subjects are there to increase our linguistic skills Mathematics is for increasing our reasoning ability, problem solving ability or to increase our rational capability. Harder is the subject more will be the effort needed to solve it, there by increasing our reasoning ability in multiple folds. This in tern helps us solve complex challenges we face in life, in science and space. Whatever we have achieved scientifically is due to our ability to reason, that helped build on failures when we encountered a problem that blocked our progress. Maths is not (only) for kitchen room!!
The biggest draw back we face in Indian school system is we haven’t backed our theory classes by practical sessions. The ratio is marginal. If we can improve this ratio by implementing practical that backs the theory classes the problem is solved to a large extent. Because of this lacking in our education system, we have created intelligence clerks rather efficient inventors. And this drawback may be eradicated quite easily if we think a little beyond the boundary of ordinary thoughts. We don’t do that instead continue blaming because it’s an easy way out.
The theory based system is so strongly implemented; most of our students may not be in a situation to recognise an object kept in front of them in which they have scored 100% marks in theory!! You may laugh but this is the hard reality. One of my known person was blaming school for this. Agreed to a certain extent. The person who was blaming school for this is a science graduate and definitely in a position to wipe out this drawback at home itself if the effort is made. Our problem is we think once we send kids to school and tuitions classes our job is done. After that it is schools responsibility and our only job is watching TV and criticising schools or teachers. If we do not think that children are our primary responsibility why does a school think so? That too when education is highly commercialised? If we do not feed the kid mentally, what they need why someone else should? If the competition is healthy, institutions wouldn’t have commercialised to this extent, but it is too fierce that everyone started advertising like this at the cost of students well being.
Stop blaming others for our fault. Knowledge and solutions to any problem is at our finger tip. We need to click the right button or to tap the right resources. Our problem is mind has eaten rust and stopped thinking either due to laziness or we do not want to sacrifice our little time. Easy way out is blaming other circumstances.
Look at any academic success stories or facts we find or read around; even those who perform under extreme poverty and lack of education among the parents, talk about their parental support under extremely trying circumstances. On the other side those parents having everything; look at others to support their child!
Dear students/parents, the time has come for year 2015 to make the right choice that can dictate your life and happiness forever. Don't go after false prestige pushing the wrong button and land up in depression later on. Make the right choices and be happy forever.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the above article are solely those of the author.
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