(This article is a series of Educational Mafia, which talks about the tough educational circumstances in India)
Education these days, is an expensive affair in India. School fees are on steady rise and keep increasing day by day. Schools never leave an opportunity to charge their students hefty amount on the basis of different reasons.
The moment a student takes admission in school, the school asks the parents to pay donation amount upfront, which is termed as Deposit. Earlier, some school took this amount only by cash and refused to give any receipt for the same. The Supreme Court, through its judgment has directed that the schools, cannot demand for donation, but seldom do any parents, talk against the same, because at the end of the day, we all want our children to be admitted in the best schools.
The schools, boast of state of art infrastructure and spend immense amount on the same, yet they fail miserably to pay their teachers and other staff on time. Education today, is more like a business rather than services. Year after year teachers are given a task to zero down on students, who are a little weak and then forcibly fail them in an academic year. Despite the rule states that children until 8th grade cannot be forced repeat a class (until and unless they do not achieve a particular milestone that is set). I had heard about the same and was tough for me to believe until I experienced the same first hand.
I had enrolled my son, who is born on 7th October,2014 in Nursery, in the academic year 2017-18. He was underage by only 7 days. Initially the school, which was a SSC Board did a lot of drama saying that the child is very much underage, I said he will pick up things later. From the month on October, that year, I was constantly called by the teacher and said that we may have to repeat his class because he is not capable. I checked with other friends and cousins about the syllabus. Either ways for me this was more of a temporary solution as I wanted to put him in a school, which would require him to travel a bit after a couple of years.
I tried my level best to teach him. Yet at the end of the year, I was called by the Principal, along with some 10 parents and told that your children are incapable to read and write and therefore they need to repeat NURSERY. These children are around 3 and half to 4 and half years. According to her, the way to deal with such children was either to send them for tuitions or to hit the child or bend their fingers when they refuse to write. Mind you, there were 80 students in his class and 1 single teacher handling all of them.
We send our children to schools to study, if the school wants to outsource that job to tuition classes, what is left for the school to do? I checked with other schools around and they also required him to repeat his class due to age issues. I made the mistake of making my poor child suffer for one more year in that disastrous school but the attitude of the school hadn’t changed. The only reason I remained in the same school was because his teacher was good and she had developed my child a lot overall. Last year in October, I had got him admitted to another school after 2 hours of counselling and interaction. There were no issues, neither did anyone point out that he was underage or that he is under developed. They asked him questions in play way and he answered them like what he likes to eat, which is his favourite cartoon, which is his favourite book, toy etc.
At present, I am at my maiden home for holidays. My mother takes tuitions for pre-primary students. Parents these days are so obsessed in pressurizing their children to excel, that they forget to teach them to survive in the first place. There is a school nearby to my house, where in exams were going on, when I came here. One fine day, I say a huge crowd of parents and students, sitting in the corridor of the school and presumed that they had come for admissions and interview of the next academic year. It was only later in the evening that day, that I came to know from one of the neighbours, that they were doing the same thing what my son’s school did to him. Calling parents, threatening them to repeat their child in the same year.
Irony is the schools are not doing this because they care for their child or they are worried about their record. They are doing this because they want to earn some extra money from the parents. Taking Donations directly is banned and therefore, they resort to these dirty tricks these days.
Even bigger Irony is that the school mentioned in Incidence 1 is the same school, wherein my husband completed his education and school mentioned in Incidence 2 is the same school from where my brother completed his education. At one point of time, these were the schools, which were very famous for the quality education.
The second article in the series is about how schools waste most of the resources. Click here to read the article.