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The Joy of Schooling LOST!

AUTHOR: Gurjeet Singh Dahri

(Mentor-in-chief, The Philology and School Counselor, Vivek High School)

Admission time for my son and it brought back memories of my own school days. It was with pleasure I thought about my teachers. It is surprising the amount of influence teachers have in our life. Being in a transferable job dad would be posted every couple of years so naturally the school would also change. But what amazes me most is that I remember almost every teacher that touched my life. Even though I did not get to develop long relationships with any of them it is truly great that I still fondly hold dear what little time I got. 

Working my memory back to the class my son was seeking admission (class 11), I recollected my own two years in +1and 2. My physics, chemistry and biology teachers all had distinct methods of teaching and our discussions usually continued beyond school hours. There was no concept of tuition, so whatever doubts we had they would be taken care of after school. One could approach any of the teachers on finding them free and they would be extremely happy to spend time with you. Recently on a holiday I went to my old school and was pleasantly surprised to find two of my old teachers still there. Though I had spent only two years with them, it was astonishing to realize they remembered me. 

Just as I was reflecting on all this the receptionist of the school where I had come for my son’s admission approached. She handed me a piece of paper with two fee structures. On it were the names of two coaching centers and amounts next to it. Looking at the perplexed look on my face she quickly pointed out that for these classes especially in the science sections the school doesn’t have any faculty but have outsourced the entire activity to a private entity. The fee mentioned is for the academy and the school will take their share from the academy. 

I was taken aback and left this particular school and tried several others over the next few days. In most of the schools there was such an arrangement either optional or compulsory. Where is the nurturing aspect or schooling gone, I wondered and what has the morality and honesty of a child teacher relationship been replaced with? A commercial outsourced teaching staff only concerned with syllabus completion. 

This led me to the next question. Are we reaching a stage where tuition centers will be responsible for the school curriculum in class 11 & 12, for science, whether optional or not? Tuition should necessarily be an out of school activity and this commercialization of schools for these classes should be disallowed. It is not just up to authorities but also, we parents who should insist on school and coaching being two separate activities. I agree that competition is very severe but let’s not reach a stage that every child regardless of his or her career goals is pushed to invariably study for a competitive exam that may not be relevant. 

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