I woke up with a smile this morning, gently slapped away the mosquito singing the morning raga in my ears. As I stretched out like a cat or so I thought I managed to topple a few jars on my bedside table. I didn’t fret and no I didn’t frown either. There was a spring in my step, a silly grin pasted on my face as I tottered to the kitchen. Today is special, Tee finishes her exams.
For days I have been bubbling with excitement. Even before my daughter’s exams could finish, I went out with my girlie gang to raise a toast to liberation which was just around the corner. The bistro was brimming with women, the mall jam packed with even more women – all of them wide eyed, excited, celebrating their reunion with freedom with gusto.
When your progeny sits for the exams, it’s the Mum who breaks into a sweat. Tee doesn’t get too bothered about such trivialities; she outsources all her worries to her Mum. True, she has to bear with me in my truly annoying avatar. It’s 10 in the morning, are you still in bed!! (Insert eyes popping out, horrified expression) Do you really have to watch Castle.....can’t you miss a single episode of Las Vegas!! Gosh are you sleeping again! When will you study? (My voice pitch is touching the 10th floor now)....It’s two in the morning when will you sleep! (A mix between desperation and air of resignation)
I hate how the exam fever dents my chilled out Mom image! But what to do, my Tee makes up for all the sleep she lost in the year, during her exams. And whenever she finds time between sleeping and entertaining herself, she deigns to pick up her books and studies.
Secretly I do not blame her. One look at her books and you know that it is enough to put even a confirmed insomniac to sleep. The language is stuffy and unimaginative. Imagine describing the big bang theory as a small dot that exploded! If Stephen Hawking reads it, he will be banging his head in frustration. NCERT books have this magical quality of making even the most interesting subject sound mundane.
Sadly, our students are saddled with a curriculum so dull that it actually discourages creative thinking. At the root of it is an archaic colonial education system, which has not kept pace with emerging social needs. It is still fixated to the doctor-engineer mindset. In today’s world where we have so many exciting avenues like sustainable development, green energy, film making..... How are we preparing our children for it! Rather than giving them choices, we are limiting them. We are caught in a framework which overloads kids with information but no knowledge... a system that does not equip them with skills, the ability to think and create.
So, it is up to the teacher to unravel those tricky concepts, to make those lessons come alive, to encourage the child to think, to question and go beyond the text book. We want good teachers for our kids but how many of us encourage our kids to become that teacher?
When the ministry of HRD implemented the much needed reforms in the examination system by introducing grading system and making class X boards optional, it was met with much scepticism. In class X despite the much hyped changes, Social Studies still has 52 chapters and students are expected to mug up names like Dien Bien Phu, Sun Yat Sen, Ngo Dinh Diem. How does the new scheme of things provide deliverance from the agony of having to remember dates and places of every single Congress session held since 1916! How does it equip the child for life beyond the class room? I couldn’t agree more with a friend’s opinion that our education system is creating morons with memory.
As parents we cannot absolve ourselves from our responsibilities either. It lies with us to make sure that the children know the opportunities and possibilities around them. It is up to us to give our child the confidence to tackle peer pressure.
People often ask me whether I’d like to relive my school days and my answer is always a vehement ‘No!’ I cannot make myself sigh and say ohh to be sixteen again! I do not want to relive those days when we were free yet tied down by expectations. We were happy, yet had to face the unbearable pressure of doing well. You could not question, you just had to accept. Do you realize how de-motivating it is for the child to be judged on the basis of marks! And haven’t all of us been guilty of it at point of time?
When Tee throws up her hands in despair and says she can’t take it anymore. I just give her a warm hug and say....be patient my child, there will be better things in life. So study for the sake of the dreams you dream, this will be your ticket to a good life.