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When my daughters were younger, I struggled to identify the right school and then I struggled with the admission process.
We were extremely lucky to find a school which imparts the kind of education we believed in and they didn’t find it a struggle in the early years. Our girls grew up exploring, experiencing, and enjoying (well, most of the time) their education. But now as they entire high school, the long tentacles of the formal education system, the ‘board exams’, the subject-package choices, and the college entrance systems are closing in.
My elder daughter took her board exams last year and is gearing up for the next set in the coming year. Now this is a struggle and watching her takes me back to ‘my days’.
It’s almost been a quarter of a century since then and it is still the same system— the one which we keep blaming the British for; the one which we haven’t done anything to change; the one which we ‘dealt with’ in our own ways.
We slogged and spat out reams of content which we would hardly use in the ‘real’ world. And in the real world we struggled again and slogged again to pick up skills which we should have learnt way back in school.
The current syllabi used by most education boards in India make it more like a dementor, sucking out all the happiness and joy out of the childhood years, teaching our children little else but to slog and score marks. Shouldn’t education be more about learning what we actually need to learn, about questioning, about discovery, and about fun?
Since I couldn’t think of any way to change the system, I thought I would just start writing about my own memories of that time in the next set of posts—about the struggle I faced, the challenges I felt and the mistakes I made. And hope that somehow as parents, educators, policy influencers and students we can question the system, bring about some changes somewhere. They are needed so badly— right from the stage of nursery admissions to high-school, to college admissions and beyond.
What do you think we can do-to make schooling a better experience, a more useful experience, a happier experience?