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Missing: Childhood and Innocence

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In today’s competitive society, it is a dream for every parent to impart the best education to their children. But that dream tends to go hay way if the child on whom the parents have full faith does not deliver as per their wish. Who is to be held responsible for such a mindset?

Things have changed from what it used to be a few years back. Take for example the current education system – in terms of the teaching methods used to the course curriculum introduced, it has undergone a big change. Adapting to this change are the parents who need to make sure that they get accustomed to the system that is completely new for them and understand it thoroughly before they finally impart the same to their kids. As a member of this society, it is imperative for us to accept such changes, but like one gentleman I met once in train told me that these changes should be such that we get accustomed to them easily and do not question our age-old beliefs.

However the new millennium is an exception. Right after the birth of a child, the parents take upon themselves as a big responsibility to rear him/her as the perfect person with a good personality and most importantly give the best education possible by admitting him/her to the best school in town. But very often this responsibility turns into an obligation and then into a societal challenge for parents and the wish to see their child as an all-rounder often gets him/her dragged into the maddening cat & rat race that today’s society has become so well aware of. The child has to then keep running at a pace that would prevent any other kid to overtake him and if surpassed by a smarter kid, it can have dire consequences on the child’s career.

In the midst of all this, what the child is losing is his innocence and his childhood, which even the parents are ignorant of.

Pressure on the child…

The adage “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” does not hold true today anymore. Gone are the days when we used to have ample time to play during evenings after coming back from school, but at the same time we made sure that our studies does not get hampered. But this is not the case anymore. A child’s first priority is always his assignments, his tuitions and only when he is able to manage little time after that can he go out to play. He is taught to grow no worse than a machine and is in turn jeopardizing both his mental and physical growth.
Along with the child, the parents feel equally over pressured with the current system. It becomes especially very hectic when both the parents are working.

“It becomes very hectic for me to manage my office work, my 6 year old son’s homework and rest of my household chores, all at the same time,” says Neha Aggarwal, an HR consultant with a reputed IT firm. “The kind of assignments given to the kids at school demand lot of assistance from parents. If you are not able to devote sufficient time to make your kid do his homework, unless very intelligent would never be able to do it on his own. Sometimes I feel that schools give this kind of work merely to test the patience and IQ level of parents.”

Vacations earlier, both summer and winter were meant to be enjoyed in our times. But the notion nowadays in schools is to coerce the student with as elaborate assignments as possible, so that the child does not have any time to do any other activities but only study.

So To what extent should schools be held responsible?

The School as an institution has always been considered pious, next to any place of worship. It is the place where our roots of learning are sown, our formative years of our life are spent and after spending close to 10-12 years, it bears the fruits of success that further helps in shaping us up for the future. It is also the place where a child undergoes an all round development in terms of both physical and mental growth. Considering that both the parents are working today in most cases, they ensure that they start sending their child to school as they he/she attains the age of 2 -3.

Today’s schools, apart from charging exorbitant fees (simply by adding ‘Global’ or ‘International’ to their names) for taking a kid in wants everyone of them to excel in their studies and at least in one of the extra-curricular activities. While doing so, they happen to forget that not every child is the same; if a child is good in studies he may not be that good in some other activities and vice versa. The psychology of the child is hardly taken into consideration.

“We try as much as possible to understand a child’s capability and intelligence level. But it does not solely rest on the teachers of how a child can be moulded both intellectually and aesthetically. There are loopholes in our system today that builds lot of pressure on the teacher to bring out the best in every child so that he/she does not lack behind in life later. Just look to what level competition has reached today; nobody wants to be left behind in this race for success. We are helpless when we are faced with such a situation,” says a teacher from a Delhi school under anonymity.

Pressure, both parental and school often leads a child to nowhere and at some point in their life they happen to go into depression. Unlike in other countries, where a child has the liberty to choose essentially his/her interests and subsequently the profession, it is never so in India. Here a child is faced with only 3 options – Engineering, Medical and if he does not choose any of these, he is considered a mediocre and the child is made to feel forlorn with no hope in life. If not for other reasons, but the general perception is that it is costly to be a mediocre in India.
This stereotype has to change if we want to see a change in our lives!

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