Choosing schools for their children is giving many parents I know sleepless nights. Among the many challenges of motherhood, selecting a school which will not only ensure a good education but also help in the overall development of the child is crucial. There are so many factors to consider – the board of education, teaching method, curriculum, safety standards, travel distance, extra-curricular activities and so on; the list is endless. The admissions applications are never-ending for the handful of top pre-schools and full-fledged schools, and the waiting lists are even longer. The teaching method is however a factor that most parents are taking into consideration and pushing to the top of their priority list.
We can all agree that the education landscape in India is constantly evolving. Times are changing and the way children are being taught is new and unique compared to even a few years ago when the teaching methods were traditional and text book based; some would even call them outdated. Each board of education is unique in its’ own way and it is up to us parents to decide which board their children will be best suited to. Parents along with the schools are now focusing on changing what they want their children to grow up learning. The focus is less on WHAT they learn but rather on HOW they learn.
I happened to watch an eye-opening movie yesterday which was being shown as a part of the Mumbai Film Festival, called ‘Rough Book’. The movie centers around providing an insight into the Indian educational system at the university level and the problems that we face even in contemporary India. In the movie, the university classes consist of 4 sections – A, B, C, D; section D comprising of students who are behind in their learning and grasp concepts at a slower pace compared to the Section A, B & C students.
The university however, evaluates the knowledge of students based solely on exams, with the management including the school principal paying the least attention to section D. Their sole focus is meeting targets as the board members have invested millions into the university and they expect a certain number of board exam toppers. Along comes Ms. Santhoshi who is a teacher looking to scale the walls and break all rules of traditional education; her aim being to introduce modern methods of education in an increasingly backward education system. The Principal recruits a teacher to conduct tuitions, within the university campus itself for students who need help with the learning material.
Ms. Santhoshi questions the tuitions and goes on to teach the section D students, concepts, in new and improved ways to help them understand better; teaching a dancer through dance, a sportsman through sports and so on. She strives to unclog the outdated mentality the university exhibits in contemporary India. She fights for her students by explaining that the knowledge and understanding of concepts cannot be tested by exams. This movie was an inspiring and thought-provoking one which I would recommend all parents to watch because the reality is that this is not only the situation at the university level, but at the pre-school, middle and high school levels as well.
There are schools with a similar process, where unique and improved methods of education are side-lined with many teachers not willing to explore newer methods of teaching and testing. There are also those teachers who are different and wanting to approach learning material with a unique approach, but are not given the opportunity to do so.
What is our role as parents to ensure that our children get the education they deserve in today’s education landscape in India? Newer boards of education have emerged over the last few years which are making a mark and promise to take the overall development of our children to a whole new level. At the same time, choosing a school which is best suited for our children and not us, is key. After all, we are not going to be studying, they are.
It is easy to lean towards a school which your friends may have chosen for their children but this is where we need to gain perspective. Each child is different; some children are better suited to schools which are more text-book based and heavily structured while there are some who need schools with a more hands-on approach, enabling them to nurture their imagination and creativity. I have seen this with my elder son who is 3 years old and learns best through the creative methods by which concepts are taught to him; at a school which does not give text books to the children to learn. For example, whenever he comes home from school and informs me that they learned a new alphabet that day, he demonstrates his knowledge of words starting with that alphabet, through a song they were taught. However, this may not work for some children who need more structure to grasp information. There is no one board of education that is right for every child.
As parents, we can only do our best to not force a glass ceiling on our children consciously or unconsciously, thereby limiting their potential.
This Article Is A Part Of #BlogChallenge #ConfusedParent - The Education Landscape in India – What Works for Your Child Best?