India’s Education Emergency

In Surat, I got talking to Bhavana’s niece on her school. She is in the 8th standard. She begins her day with school from 7 am to 2 pm. She comes back home and then after some time at home doing – what else – homework, she is off for tuition from 4:30-7:30 pm. After returning home, she has dinner, and more homework – this time from the tuition teacher. This is the story everyday.

I looked at her textbooks. She is the ICSE programme. The textbooks couldn’t have been more unexciting – detailed and depressing.  Yes, they had a lot more pictures since the time I used them 30 years ago, but….

There were 45 students in her school class, and 30 in her tuition class. Her comment was that there is more individual attention given in the tuition class than in school. The school teacher just rushes through the lessons, while the tuition teacher makes sure everyone understands it. In her school class, 44 out of 45 take tuitions.

If this is not an emergency in India, I don’t know what is. What kind of childhood are we giving our children? What kind of education are we giving them? What kind of adults will they grow up to be? Even leaving aside the ones we don’t educate, look at what we are doing to the ones we educate.

PS: Also read Atanu’s post on the same topic – he wrote it after I sent him an SMS about my conversation with Bhavana’s niece.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.