Thursday, November 10, 2005

Is it really necessary?

When I went to India last year for my wedding I visited one of my family members. They have a 11 year old daughter who is studying in 6th standard in an esteemed school in Trivandrum. I went there at around 6 pm and I was expecting her to be back from school.

But to my surprise, her father told me that she had gone for tuition. I was curious and asked him what the subject was and he told me it was Social Studies (History and Geography). He went on to explain that she has tuitions for all subjects and for Math she is being tutored at two places!! Her mother was telling me that she used to stand first in her class and now her rank is only 3rd. So they decided to give her more tuition. She wants her daughter to be "a doctor or at least an engineer" (This was the same phrase used by that girl's mother).

The girl's schedule is like this on a working day. She has tuition from 6.00 am to 8.00 am on all weekdays. Her school bus comes at 8.30 am. She is back from school at 4.30 pm and her tuition starts again at 5 pm.

At around 7.10 pm the girl comes home after tuition. Her mother immediately orders "Take bath and study".

While driving back from her house so many thoughts went through my mind. "Are her parents fair on her?", "Is it necessary to burden kids like this at a young age?", "Will this serve any desired purpose?”” Are they denied their childhood pleasures?”... My thoughts went on and on...

At this point I looked back to myself as to what a kid I was. I completed my 10th standard with 90% marks, plus two with 80% and secured a merit seat in an engineering college (those were the times when only 8 engineering colleges were there... not like today where you have engineering colleges at all bus stops). I could successfully complete my BTech, could do MS in US and now PhD.

I NEVER IN MY LIFE GOT A FIRST RANK IN ANY CLASS. In fact during my school days in Christ Nagar the highest rank I ever got was 21 in a class of 50. My range was always between 25 and 35. My parents used to ask me to "Study" but never had they expected me to get a 1st rank.

Instead of putting pressure on the kids to get a rank and come first in class, what the parents should do is help their kid see the world. The parents should help develop the overall personality of the kid. They should teach them what is right and what is wrong. They should teach them how to be compassionate to their fellow beings. They should tell them the importance and power of learning.

If the parents teach their kid the value of life, he/she will scale new heights and be successful in life. On the other hand if the only thing the parents tell their kid is "u should be an engineer or doctor", there is a very high chance of the kid ruining his future.

Parents - Teach your kids how to see the world and how to become a good human being and not how to “somehow” stand first in the class
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

good thought......

November 29, 2005 10:26 PM  
Blogger Ram said...

This is true. I think most of this is vicarious, in the sense that the parent wants the child to achieve what they could not - become first in everything. So they assign all these tuitions and stuff.

A lot of it is due to peer pressure. School competition can be vicious, and students themselves want to compete and go to all these damn tuitions.

At the end of the day, its not about marks at all. People can get 95% and be dumb. And people can get 75% and be smart and succesfull.

November 29, 2005 10:42 PM  
Blogger Anand said...

Well...should say this problem is prevalent since our days (1997-)only has assumed greater proportions now. To give you another (lighter) view point...I sort of enjoyed this lifestyle(!) Dont get me wrong...I was never the bookworm nor was I naturally endowed with inherent intellect. I had coaching classes for IIT in the evenings after school.
My higher secondary school was in the IIT campus Chennai and besides being renowned for obvious reasons...IIT campus also provided great venues to play cricket.
Our coaching classes were usually from 6pm-9 and school got over at 2.30. We used to go home and get back by 4 and play to our heart's content till class started!! The prof used to think we were coming from far off and barely made it on time to class and hence the sweat!

Well on a more serious note...I do second what Ram has said. Peer pressure and general social outlook are the primary reasons for this problem and being an average student myself and having achieved the very little I have thus far shows marks are not everything...well lets think and do something to change this...put on ur thinking caps.

November 29, 2005 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My parents used to ask me to "Study" but never had they expected me to get a 1st rank."

Thats because ur parents were so sure, that u will have a future,[ there are many reasons for such a belief, thats a totally different topic],

not every body is like that in a country of a billion people, competition will be there[aka Darwin survival of fittest], our country is not a place where u can study some arts course and lead a decent life, its tough, TOUGH...

Now we have IT boom and what not, occupied by percentage of people who according to me account only for statistical error percentages.

With our big population and less number of oppurtunities and staggerging poverty levels, this push of kids will continue in our country for a long time to come.

It probably may not happen any more in high income/class societies [read as 10% ?? of our population, so ...]

I agree its bad, and stuff, and also agree that at the end, the marks literally do not matter, but tht push matters to an extent.

November 30, 2005 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Padma said...

Whatever you said is correct. Our education system puts emphasis on math and science which is good. But the important thing that gets left out is the development of leadership and sports skills. Our political system and sports are an excellent example.
Your comments about 8 engineering is slightly misplaced in the sense that there are more people these days aiming to get into these institutions than it was 10 years back.

November 30, 2005 1:21 AM  
Blogger Thanu said...

When I was in 6th grade, used to come home and play till it was dark then took shower and did HW. I turned out fine. I have never had a tution my whole life, but I guess times are different now.

Finished 12th in 1997


November 30, 2005 3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been tuition-ed. For classes 10,11 and 12.More out of nervousness from part of my folks rather than the real need to be tutored. But then there is a point where one needs to draw a line.
Totally agree with you - making a child's life miserable with excessive education will only breed contempt and hatred towards acads - rather than appreciation of the beauty and the true significance of education.


PS : Btw , I was always first in class, throughout school and +2 - both with and without tuition.Didn't make it very great in life, though.

November 30, 2005 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gud bhaaya look the souroundind in diff manner

January 21, 2006 12:54 PM  
Blogger Umesh said...

My little brother who is in 11th grade does not have any time for himself. All he can find time is tuition. I feel that there is immense peer pressure to academically excel in Kerala. We limit our children from being well rounded individuals. Sad but true.

February 18, 2006 3:46 PM  
Blogger flutteringeyes said...

I so agree with u!!!

The pressure on indian kids is just ridiculous!!!

all indian parents want their kids to be either a doctor or a engineer

I have pressures though specially coz my family is full of smarties...and my parents expect me to do even better because they didnt do it when their parents told them too....but I bet the case for indian kids is worse!!!
no wonder india has one of hte highest rate of suicides among teenagers

February 21, 2006 11:05 PM  
Blogger Dilip Joy Mampilly said...

Very true.

May 20, 2011 4:31 PM  

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