Each child is born with beautiful senses. Watch a child, when they look at something it is completely absorbed. When a child is playing with toys, it is totally engrossed . A child running after a butterfly in the garden, so fascinated; with such tremendous energy and without any effort does this all. See a child collecting seashells on the beach as if collecting diamonds. Everything is precious to a child in their world, everything is clear and the senses are alive.
Day 1
In this country, where sand and mountains are landmarks , is he/she enjoying being a child? I hope so! Waking up early at about 5.30 am, to get dressed and run to a school by school bus or parentbs car, to be dropped at the dawn of day light is nothing but a hectic task. A breakfast can be a piece of toast pushed into kids mouth or bowl of cereals half left untouched, in hurry burry. In school they are happy with being around friends, their routine study, librariesb, art class and sports activities. Afternoon, its again mad rush back home, in scorching heat of 40 to 45 degree, where the lunch ,waiting to be heated . A sandwich, self made, mostly with peanut butter or handy veggies that does not need much cutting and cooking, like a tomato, cabbage, lettuce or cucumber, with a slice of salami or ready to be heated rice and curry. Some parents have no other option but have a packed lunch also to be dropped while they pick and drop their kid home. Desperation/ Shortcoming of being a working parentb&.alas!! Heated food, mostly eaten in front of the TV or with the company of play station. Evenings are exclusively for the forced routine of bcleaning the roomb (or else the threat of bno play station CD on weekendb looming over) and home works. The afternoons have another hazard or rather forced task of bTuitionsb. Travel to tuitions can be a walk/cycle ride/pick up drop/ and by evening you feel dead in bmind and body b.Tuition classes are for climbing the mark ladder and is like competition by itself. Back home by evenings, for bath and a changing clothes, which was worn since 5.30 am. A quick brush through the class work and homework if any, Getting ready for the next day school at night again. Timetable, next day uniform and checking on nails and hair which gets inspected unexpectedly and sometimes on preplanned days. Finally dinner table, where all the family meet up to bshareb the news , scoops and scandals of each otherbs daily routine. By 10 pm, in bed with a simple bthanks to the almightyb, again due to ba small shout or screamb by parents from the other room. Day 1 ends.
The Teachers
Students and teachers should have a very approachable relationship .Many schools have adopted positive methods to have more interactions towards kids, on a friendly bone- to- oneb basis. The conversations earlier years were mostly one sided. A teacher taking up the role of a bmentorb for a set of 15 students and he/she playing the role of a friend, guide and counselor is a much welcomed rule as far as kids are concerned. The month of March comes after much long waiting; the most decisive month, for parents and kids. The final year exams and the promotions to the next class always fall in March for Oman Indian schools. The percentage of marks have many optional advantages of adding marks to your progress card, with best behaviors , dress code, interactions. That rule plays an additional interest to have a good behavior, instead of the bold school of thoughts with bamboos sticks and rulersb for discipline.
The Parents
What kind of role does parent play in moulding the child to face the tests and exams during school years? Dr. Abraham, a Neuro-Linguist Program trainer, from Trivandrum, Kerala, who conducts stress buster sessions for students as well as teachers in schools and colleges , India and abroad thinks b mothers need to take it easy and not pressurize the kids. Make life as happy as possible and let them believe in themselves and help the child to do the best that they canb .This theory works and helps the kids more in a practical sense. When we think from the parents perspective, tension about kids and their studies, -is 100 % right. But parents must be bthe coolest onesb, in the current age and trends; even during the exam they should never evade living their life. Acting and behaving normal , in fact helps the kids to relax. generally people stop watching TV and going out, become anti social for that period of Examsb. The climate at home, is as though they are fighting an epidemic. When the kids feel that the parents are confident in them and about their ability to get good grades/marks, they develop a constructive energy and confidence level improves a great deal.
The Kids
Kids now-a-days are so much more aware of the pros and cons and more exposed to the consequence of their actions, like bthey know how much they need work to reach their goals . But in Indian system, we put a lot of weight on academic achievements. it seems to be more in the Gulf In fact we tend to over protect kids here; everything is taken care for the kids from a very small age. In reality some parents live their life through their kids. Each and every minute is spent catering to kids needs, taking them out for endless number of tuitions. So exam time for kids is like their own exams. It can even lead to a competitive experience between parents. Why the parents donbt give the children the liberty to choose their career interests? Why is it being decided for them? There are many whybs for which we can find simple answers, by just introspection. These are some of the expressions that come out of childbs own conversationsb bcome on ma, chill! Will you!! , My God, dude (father) you are awesome, hey bro (to dad not brother)b&b&.b
Think of a story, of an uneducated mother in a remote village who wants her kids to get good education. Think about the sufferings she goes through, not able to help the child to study , find previous years question papers, make comparison study of your friendsb kids and the first rank holders. Even those kids study and grow up to reputable heights in life. Hence, with all these advantages and facilities, we take undue stress for the kidbs studies.
Beena Poduval from Qatar is working as a senior management person in a US based international school. She is basically involved in setting up new schools. She says bUS schools donbt have final exams. They have a continuous assessment. Well, we stress a lot on interactive education; this curriculum doesnbt follow bshoot in the middleb approach. Instead we really emphasize on differentiated learning methods in the class room, catering to each studentbs individual needsb. Beena further expands bas a management committee, we ensure that maximum capacity of a classroom is around 20. Teachers are provided with lots of resource materials .It is important that children are assessed according to their ability to learn. Some of the students are more of a visual learner, some are kinesthic learners. Even the text books are designed in order to cater to these two levels on the same topic. The school ensures that the studentbs assessments are based on their individual capacity and study pattern.
Susan Thomas, a mother from US comments: byes, they do go through some stress in studies in schools here too, but not as much as I have seen in India! Elementary and middle schools are really easy years for children. The serious study starts in high school level. Now, trying to get into colleges is a different game altogetherb. There is stress and tension in all types of schools but not like in India. In elementary and middle schools there are no final exams, mostly, so that is a big relief. Once you start high school then comes the stress. Taking advance placement classes, etc, you have to be an all rounder to get into a good college; means you have to do sports and some kind of arts, which is again an added advantage while you are studying. The level of stress for kids outside the Indian curriculum study has many added advantages like these.
The Options
Later on in life, the same child will look at reality as if hidden behind a darkened glass. Much smoke and dust have gathered on the glass. Because of this, everything looks dull and dead. You hear a song, but there is no appeal in it because your ears are dull. You will not be able to appreciate it, because your intelligence is dull.
The Indian system of education has come out with many alternative ideas and implemented a few already into the current system. The main goal is to bring our students to an international standard of educations which is more or career oriented. Top Schools of India are best known for their world class infrastructure and educational facilities. The CBSE from the 2010-2011 academic year, decided to introduce an International Curriculum for schools .The pilot project will be introduced in classes 1 and 9. The new system will help prepare young generation for changes taking place in society. The new system would considerably reduce anxiety and stress in children, since competition would give way to cooperation. It will also help students work together as a team rather than compete with each other. However, the parents have a great role to play in making the system a success. bMost of the schools request all parents to give the new system a chance to succeed. In addition, the parents were invited for a thorough presentation of the new CBSE system, with the teachers, to face the facts and direct discussionsb. The parents were assured that bthis is for the overall development of your child. This will not only promote your childbs academic development but also their total personality to compete with international standards of career interviews and opportunities,b
bMillions of Indians have come in Gulf and many have improved their living conditions and knowledge, unquestionably. we have to be conscious that we are part of this country. The countrybs bliss fabricate our happiness and its troubles are our problems too. So disadvantages can be there, but we need to improvise them within our limited limitations. We should conclude by saying bEvery leaf of a tree, under which we seek a shelter, is sacred to usb.
Aazhchavattom US Malayalee Newspaper.