School days are unforgettable, inerasable and the inseparable experiences a person who has received the formal education lives with. You may forget your old colleagues, your previous job and the boss, but the enchanted memories of the school remain preserved in one of the corners of the mind.
Previously I assigned a task – that of writing school experience to an education expert. When it was ready I realized that it presented a mature outlook and reflected the opinion and the vision of the expert and not the immaturity and innocence of the child. It was then I started interacting with children to find out what it means to be at the school. This excerpt presents a 360-degree view of the same.
School days are different for students in different classes. A child in third standard sees school differently than a seventh grade student. There are but some elements that are repeated by most of the children and students in different standards.
A child in primary school wakes up early in the morning and is not very happy to go to the school. School for most is the confined area where children are forced by their parents to receive the formal education. This is the idea that prevails largely in the Indian subcontinent. Right now, we do not intend to go into the discussions as what makes the child feel imprisoned and caged in the classroom.
The treatment received by the students is differential and depends on a lot of factors, the prime being the kind of school. In India there are primary two kinds of schools, based on the administration. There are government schools, run by the state governments and there are private schools.
Private and Government Schools
Private schools are generally considered to be the better as the facilities are much better than those of government run schools. Private schools demand a high education fee and the popular the school the more is the fee structure. Affordability determines as what kind of education the child would ultimately receive. For high-income families, their children happen to be enrolled in the prime schools of India. Low-income families prefer their children to be taught in government schools.
“We Don’t Like It”
The child, whether it’s the one who goes to the elite school in the vicinity or the one who goes to the government school, both are unwilling to go to the school. It is worst for the former ones. The rules, regulations, competition, mentoring and more puts too much stress on the child. The classrooms present the stillness and the dullness in life. Instructions are given to the children in a tight and strict framework that can never be questioned by the child. The freedom of child is often impaired and the child is made to feel subordinate to the supreme authority – the school.
It is very hard, but children often do not complain. There is more than a smile when the final bell rings – may be it is the salvation.
School Picnic is a Different Story
However things are quite different when it is ‘no working day’. On picnics, events and celebrations the same child will be twice happy and overjoyed to be at school. There are many other extra curricular activities, but compared to the routine daily working days, they are much too less.
My Social Arena
The school is the complimentary of the neighbourhood so far as socializing is considered. Students usually mix up with few selected classmates and teammates. These small groups often have a number of things in common. As they grow together, they tend to assimilate more or less the same social values.
Children who study in private schools and those studying in the government schools often share feelings of status complex and dominance. The children studying in private schools generally feel themselves to be superior to those of government schools. This is a general observation marked through out India. Children are aware of this status differentiation.
All Those Ponderous School Walks
The school timings are from early morning 08 a.m. or 09 a.m. to late afternoon 02.30 p.m. or 03 p.m. On any morning you will find the children in neat and clean uniforms rushing with more than 4 kilo bags clinging on their backs. The best time during the whole exercise for the children is the recesses or the lunchtime.
One can argue that the schools and the adopted education system is not child friendly at all. The curriculum has been designed, especially for secondary and higher secondary classes and very little has been changed in the last so many decades.
Hindi, English and Hinglish
One another major issue is the language. Indian education system has stressed on the use of different languages for receiving the instructions. The language therefore becomes the medium and the children have to learn these languages. English has been approved to be the second language, which in fact has completely replaced the position of the first, which is Hindi. In private schools particularly, the medium is the English.
The dichotomy creates a problem at two stages; first during the education itself and second after the completion of the education.
The School Syllabi
The syllabus for secondary school examinations is fixed for all and is issued by the State Board or the Central Board of School Examinations. The syllabus more or less favours the students studying in the English medium schools. Since the medium of instruction is different, the child from private school, where English is given preference, faces no difficulty in the comprehension and examinations.
At professional level also, English is considered to be an asset. In cities and city centers where a lot of industries and service providers recruit candidates, the one who has a hold on English language has better prospects. Also, foreign agencies based in India make it compulsory for the employee to be able to understand and speak English.