Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

'Showy' Schools

There are loads of writeups already floating around about the huge short-comings of educational institutions especially with respect to schools. I have also made a post touching upon teachers' attitude in handling students here. Though capitation fee may be on top of the misfortunes, what I would like to highlight upon here is the filtering of students based on their learning prowess.

Schools, as far as I know, are institutions to impart knowledge and discipline. Period! But the situation today shatters the very basic morale of running a school. Capitation fee, in a way, maybe justified quoting reason that a school needs money to run. Thats fine if the school is able to balance students who can afford to pay capitation fees and students who cannot. But what is worse is - in a pursuit to keep up its name and fame - most schools resort to handpicking the so called 'bright' students and mercilessly rejecting or dropping out those who do not fall into their desired category.

The ads race which follow soon after the 10th/12th public exam results are also means to attract the new batch of students. "100% pass results" was the norm initially, now adding to these phrases are more glamourous captions like "100% pass for 10 successive years", "100% pass with all first class", "100% with all distinction".

Its a common theory that people's IQ levels are not the same. Infact some grasp things much faster than others. But given the right guidance even the not-so-quick graspers can catch up with the rest - ofcourse with some extra time and effort. Infact, in order not to discourage the so called not-so-quick-learners, the phrase "dull students" has been replaced with "slow learners".
The amount of discouragement such students are subject to is a known story but how worse can it get when that happens in a school! - the very institution where s/he can hope to see some light.

Students who have been associated with a school right from Kinder Garten are dropped post 10th standard or 9th standard owing to their poor performance or just because the school authorities feel they might not fit into their "desired category" and their continuance could jeopardise their so called "remarkable" results.

So what if a school does not achieve 100% results? So what if a school has more slow learners? Wouldn't the worthiness of a school be evident when they are able to pull through such students? Imagine the mental turmoil of the parents who can't even imagine getting admission for the wards just because schools shy away from such students just to safeguard their pride.
Even worse is interviewing a probable L.K.G candidate? How funnier can it get?

A few years back, I remember an interview on TV with the principal of a leading State Board school in Chennai when the school bagged quite a few top ranks in the state. She said "Right from the beginning of 11th standard, we identify the bright students and give them special coaching". I was taken aback. Shouldn't this be done more importantly for the slow learners? Or perhaps were all the so called slow learners dropped post 10th exams?

No point in blaming the schools entirely. What is that the parents look for? If the schools are able to achieve results at any cost - even if it means pressurising their own wards - its fine. What we look for is only the end result!

Time and again, people have been voicing concerns over the educational system especially its grading methodology which negatively segregates students. I am sure there is a way out. Lets hope it happens soon.