The Cult of Exams


I read today’s The Hindu Op-Ed ‘Beyond the Pass-Fail Binary‘ with interest. It talks about why discussing No-Detention Policy in isolation is a disservice to RTE act, and what the real problem is.

A paragraph there hit me particularly hard:

[…] Exams have a tendency to become the only motivation for learning. All educated Indians are thoroughly conditioned to believe that “no exams, no learning”. This belief is easily transferred to children in a system that has almost no idea of the joy of learning in itself.

My elder daughter wanted to skip the school today, many of the students had done the same the day before in her class. We refused, and she was visibly unhappy.It is exam time in her school, and everyone in her class is preparing for it, and she wants to do the same by skipping school!  Continue reading “The Cult of Exams”

Education is dying, and I am letting it die.

When I think of my education, I think 3 things made it worthwhile for me:

  1. Teachers who gave me space to learn at my own pace
  2. Curriculum (NCERT)that aroused curiosity and provided means to satisfy it
  3. Mentors and guides who taught without teaching – teachers, parents, seniors, friends, well-wishers

When I look at my child’s education, I find all 3 are missing:

  1. Teachers are under too much stress to complete the prescribed curriculum in the midst of myriad of activities a modern school gets involved in (song and dance competitions, events to generate PR, programmes to woe new ‘customers’) for a classroom with 40-60 students!
  2. Curriculum is replaced by content of mediocre quality (at least in lower classes) and misplaced focus on grades and competitive exams of all kinds (there are more olympiads in Indian schools than you can count)!
  3. Social connect with people is shrinking so much that there is no opportunity anymore to interact and learn, from your neighbor’s dad, your doodhwala or rickshaw-wala, ever-enthusiastic dadaji, or that ‘bhaiya who studies in IIT’!

Continue reading “Education is dying, and I am letting it die.”

Giving Back to Society

Full-text of the post on venturewoods about what can be the effective means of creating a non-profit which will help in solving some problems (like education) and still can sustain itself without depending too much on fund-raising and corporate sponsorship. ——————— Every once in a while, the question about giving back to the society pops up in my mind and in my friend’s circle, but we end up dropping it and continuing to do what we have been doing: earn more money. Howver, so many things have been happening around about me on this topic recently that I am inclined … Continue reading Giving Back to Society