(Published in Daijiworld TV & media network in 2018).
Have you ever noticed what happens to the rank students in later years? And why? How many of the rank students get rank repeatedly? Maybe just 5% of them. Why do 95% of the ranked students 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 able 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 centers? Have you surveyed the demand/supply ratio at the job market before selecting the options for further studies? If not, we will discuss this 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 will 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; no more exists now. Then why this blind craze in us?
The competition from the kinder garden level itself is enormous. 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 besides so many other things. Have you ever thought about how they can do it? They too put as many as students to earn more money. Visit those tuition classes once, and you may find that the exact repetition of the process is going on as it was in the classroom.
Moreover, they teach only one hour per day. 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 do not admit low-scoring students. Because they do not have time to focus on low-scoring students and spoil their market value. So the 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, an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), and an IIT (Kanpur) student; they never received any rank in their student life, relatively unknown till they finish 12th and enter IIT. From where they came all of a sudden, overtook everyone and entered the top most colleges?
Where is the problem then? The reason is we press on only numbers. No one is interested in developing reasoning ability in children. Memorize, vomit on the paper in 3 hours and celebrate. Post big photos of those students at the roadside 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 a super brain? If not, why do these students fail to progress as they advance further and remain an ordinary engineer or a doctor? How many of them become doctors? How many get merit seats! Have we ever analyzed why do they fade away? Most shockingly, almost every high school level institution 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 participated in many in the past. I generally observe the quizmaster and guests praise the winners beyond limits about their intelligence during the prize distribution ceremony. Many times I cautioned not to do so. There is no IQ involved in these types of competitions; the winners are generally vivid readers. That is 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 people (home tutor) told me recently that he could find one of his students’ photos on one such advertising board and was shocked. The reason is, this particular student was not a member of that tuition center at all. Since the students got good marks, one of the teachers from that coaching institute known to the student gave him 10grams of gold and using the student’s name to market his coaching center.
Have we ever thought about 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, most of these parents/students opt for medical and engineering categories, just for title sake! Moreover, they are not hiding it also! An engineer is readily available in the market but not a BSc (PCM) graduate. You can get a software engineer quickly but not a civil engineer! There is a demand for civil engineers in the market because, during the burst of the software industry two decades back, everyone went after computer engineering. As a result, there was a lack of students for civil engineering studies in many engineering colleges, and many colleges shut down the civil department altogether. In one of my friend’s offices in Dubai (MNC, senior accountant), a software engineer from India works with the same pay scale (as accountants!). A science graduate today is earning more than the MBBS/BDS titleholder! 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 poorly struck. Because supply is more than demand, every corner there is a dental surgeon, and further study (MDS) is costly, without merit, and cannot afford it! The boy is cursing his parents because it is their force. He opted for it. When I was in India while doing an evening walk, I saw a dental surgeon’s 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 capable of scoring 80% can score 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 if their marks were built on memorization and vomiting. At the same time, a student who builds his educational 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 have we believed 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 a school, teachers, books, syllabus, and the total school environment. The only difference is home and parents. It is different for a different student. Very few parents provide the right environment, and hence very few actual performers.
If you want your children to excel in their 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 students and the environment at home.
For any student, as far as academics are concerned, the formative years are from age 10 to 16. During this period the the “academic DNA” is formed.
Parents play an essential role not (only) the schools during this formative age. Instead of watching repeated telecasts of dirty family drams on TV, spend valuable time with children’s education. Do not drive them out in the name of tuitions, and 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 an upbeat taste of watching and may get some insights to groom your child in the right direction.
During one of my conversations with a known person recently (because I wrote this article), the person questioned me why we need to study specific chapters in mathematics, which is not helping our daily lives. Unfortunately, we have failed to understand the fundamental purpose of what we study. That varies from subject to subject. Maths is not to count how many pieces of vegetables 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 analytical capability. Harder is the subject; more will be the effort needed to solve it, increasing our reasoning ability in multiple folds. This intention helps us solve complex challenges we face in life, in science, and in space. Whatever we have achieved scientifically is our ability to reason, which helped build on failures when we encountered a problem that blocked our progress. Math’s is not (only) for the kitchen room.
The biggest drawback we face in the Indian school system is that we have not backed our theory classes with practical sessions. The ratio is marginal. If we can improve this ratio by implementing practical that backs the theory classes, the problem is mainly solved. Because of this lacking in our education system, we have created intelligent clerks, relatively efficient inventors. Moreover, this drawback may be eradicated quite easily if we think a little beyond the boundary of ordinary thoughts. We do not do that; instead, continue blaming because it is an easy way out.
The theory-based system is so vigorously implemented; most of our students may not be in a situation to recognize 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 people was blaming the school for this. We are agreed to a certain extent. The person who was blaming the school for this is a science graduate and able to wipe out this drawback at home itself if the effort is made. We think once we send kids to school and tuition classes, our job is done. After that, it is school responsibility, and our only job is to watch TV and criticize 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 commercialized? If we do not feed the kid mentally, what they need, why should someone else? If the competition is healthy, institutions would not have commercialized to this extent. However, 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 are at our fingertips. We need to click the right button or tap the right resources. Our mind has eaten rust and stopped thinking either due to laziness, or we do not want to sacrifice our little time. The 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 the year 2015 to make the right choice that can dictate your life and happiness forever. Do not go after false prestige, pushing the wrong button, and land up in depression later on. Make the right choices and be happy forever.
By Vincent D’sa, Dubai. Published in the year 2015.