Saturday, 1 April 2017

The Admission Raucous

Image: Google
Last week I came across quite a few instances where parents let down their children, setting them up for failure in the future. The first case in point was that of parents who applied for admission of their three year old to some 30 odd schools across the capital. The toddler was selected in none. Not in the first list, not in the second list, (and I thought the lists needed to be waded in college. Clearly, I was out of tune with current times.) Now the fault here obviously lay with the parents in their inability to gauge their levels of intelligence and refrain from producing another of the kind, or in the fact that they could not produce a girl who could have secured alumni points at the mother’s alma mater. The husband is new to the capital.
The second case was that of parents who had alumni and sibling points for their three year old’s admission to big school. Unfortunately, the little one did not know her colours, and was recommended to repeat PreNursery at her play school. Who cares the little one could voice the phonic sounds made by 13 alphabets of the English language, could count till 10 and could identify basic mathematical shapes as well. But she did not know colours, you see. Another goof up by parents in their lack of ability to gauge their foetus’ grey matter. What a waste of points for admission.
The third case in point was the Jat agitation for reservation. Now that made sense cause the three year olds will become big and be left with no other saving grace but reservation.
Last but definitely not the least was the career help question that was floating on WhatsApp. The question was asked by a concerned father for his offspring entering standard five. Which institute was best for his child keeping in mind the child’s goal of entering one of the IITs in a reasonably distant future. The response was rather sarcastic. But desperate times call for desperate measures, dear Counsellor.
Now, as a mother of a three year old, should I laugh or cry?

Sarcasm aside, clearly something is wrong with our education system. As a mother, my grievance starts at:
There being no clear starting point for formal education. Some schools start at Pre-Nursery, some at Nursery and others at KG. Then there are day cares that take in children as early as 6 months of age and like the behaviourist theory, repeatedly display to the child colours, alphabets, numbers. Over 3 years of repetition, the kids seem to identify the text more than they get the idea of exploration, the world outside and free play. Kids who don’t go to day cares/preschools since 6 months of age fall behind this curriculum, but are better with exploration, play and social awareness. Unfortunately, there is a difference in prerequisite knowledge at starting point instigated by over achieving day cares/preschools. Thus, causing parents to start running the marathon at a child’s early age. The mad race never ends. Eventually, children replace parents, killing passions, talents and differences in their wake.
Second, there is either a shortage of schools or good schools. If parents have to apply to 30 - 40 schools and still be rejected, there is most definitely a shortage of supply. We need to make sure our government schools come up to standard and people are not rushing, sending 3 year olds as far as 40 Kms one way to that one good or even not-so-great school where they could manage to secure precious admission.
Third, in higher education again, the focus needs to be on building skills that are employable. The top most universities and institutes will remain, that’s the reward for hard work. But what if my child does not hit that extremely rare layer, there needs to be a second layer that is not too far below the top most one. Institutes at this and lower layers need to empower students with skills that are employable. Ultimately, all adults need to work and earn a living. Institutes, universities and the government need to ensure appropriate skills imparted to this vast majority of students who cannot make it to the top most layer. Else, they will all need reservation.

Of course, we need employment opportunities and lesser population would definitely help. But that’s a different topic. For now, this mother of a three year old is worried whether her child will enter Nursery, ever at all.

© 2017 by Donna Abraham

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