Saturday, 25 June 2011

School versus Education...


I have always believed that school is an interface which nurtures a child’s innate desire to be independent in thinking and doing, no matter what learning style they adopt or posses, but it should give the child the freedom to explore and learn about their world around them without leaving any scars in their tender minds.
But a few instances of schools out here in the Guwahati city has left some concerned parents fearing more about their child’s future in such schools. My friend got a shock of her life when she heard her 10 year old daughter making queries about “cheque bounce”. And when she asked her daughter as to why she is asking about cheque bounce, the reply she got from her daughter left her completely shell shocked.
Her daughter had come to know about that very word from her class teacher whence one of her friend was admonished by the teacher as the cheque that her parents deposited in the bank for school fees got dishonoured. She also overheard her class teacher telling her friend that her friend’s marks for her assessments will also be deducted due to the fault of the parents. This is indeed a very astonishing and un-teacher like behaviour from a teacher of a reputed convent located in the heart of the city.
Dear parents, do we all get complacent about children’s future once we put them in a reputed or so called branded school? Do we take pains to know what our kids are learning these days from their teachers in schools? For we are all aware that, a very small instance learnt in school can change their entire life forever. This is the biggest fear that my sister is going through these days. Her daughter is studying in such a school which is not only one of the reputed convents in the city but is also one of the oldest missionary schools too.
Out of concern she also shared an issue with me which is prevalent in that school. Being a missionary school the school authorities have this tradition of collecting charity from the students for the poor and needy. But sadly they keep this as one of the inter class competitions as to which class can bring in the largest collection of money. This means that, the larger amount a class collects makes it the winner and they get prizes for their contribution. This is in itself a very unhealthy competition and invariably can lead the students to form a mentality to flaunt their rich parents’ money, which is not in order as every child should be made to feel equal, irrespective of their parents’ financial background which is in turn one of the virtues of real education.
And as I had already mentioned about the case where if a student’s parents fail to pay her school fees on time, he/she is warned in front of all the other students in her class, saying that if her parents do not pay her school fees on time she will be barred from appearing in her examinations. This kind of actions taken by a school authority is very detrimental and could be avoided by informing the parents directly rather than leaving a scar in the poor child’s tender brain by telling her about her parents’ folly, which at most of the times are not intentional.
And this is not all; schools also goes on the record to keep fetes/fairs in the school for the kids where the school authorities put stalls of various eatables for the students, where they sell an item for almost double the market price. This is again a very wrong paradigm set in front of the students as the students follow their teachers more than any one else at home.
Here I fail to understand as to why no parent has voiced their objections to such things happening in various schools till now? Why no parents have brought their objections towards such things to the school administration’s knowledge? I asked the same questions to my friend only to find spontaneity in her response wherein she outbursts at me saying that if they raise any objections to the school authority regarding such things, the child’s future in the school will be affected accordingly. Their main fear is that a strong case might as well be taken against the child to warn the parents to keep them away from taking such course of actions in future. In such cases I don’t see any chances of the child to develop any personality to voice their opinion in future as a responsible citizen (which should be the main aim of a school rather than to nurture irresponsible future doctors or engineers) of our nation.
The Montessori ethos (“away with chalk, let us talk”) aims at protecting and nurturing the RIGHTFUL development of the child by promoting his education beyond the realm of the class room to the community in which he or she lives encouraging a strong but non-materialistic partnership between parents, carers and teachers, with the child as the epicentre. Our main concern should be an all round development of the child and that the child should not be exposed to anything that steals their innocence from their childhood.

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