The Indian Education System is in a frightening race against itself. And like an inward bound spiral that can find rest and solace only at infinity which it would forever strive to but never really achieve, I fear that it would self-destruct in the process. And yet, being the optimist that I am, I hope that someday light from the skies would dawn on someone (someone who can do something about it, who is not a helpless creature like me) to halt the spiral in its mid spin, take it apart and see it for what it is, and really do something to straighten it.
But by then, my son would have crossed the back-breaking hurdles of Kindergarten (at the completion of which he is expected to master the reading of three-letter English words and probably a good deal of Hindi and arithmetic), School (the syllabus of which I am terrified to even take a look at, it probably involves Calculus in first or second standard) and maybe Entrance exam coaching classes (which are inward bound spirals in themselves, with the classes starting a half hour earlier every year – this year it is 5AM. When would we stop making castles in the air about Medical/Engineering careers and start accepting other professions as respectable ones as well?).
I have never given much thought to the fact that English (and related languages) have Capital and lower case alphabets. When my son writes a tiny ‘B‘ in his book and asks, “isn’t this small B?” I have no clue how to explain what is meant by upper case and lower case. I silently thank God that Hindi and other Indian languages do not have the upper/lower case styles. But once he has mastered the concept in English, it would be probably more difficult to explain why Hindi does not have this. When I was at school, as far as I remember (oh it wasn’t too long ago) we were given one language at a time. There was a gap of two or more years between the introduction of each language. (Okay, so we have to learn English, Hindi and Mother tongue. Harrowing, indeed. Which is why I thunk this profound thought when I did.)
I go dizzy every time I ask myself, is this the best way of teaching little children? As all other parents have already wondered, do we really need to fill in their little heads with all the stuff; are they ready to handle this?
The most fantastic outcome of this all is, that the little ones master it (grumbling and groaning nonetheless) beautifully at the end.
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