Let’s work for change in Indian Education system #LearnNotEducate #BlogchatterProjects

“The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things.”

Jean Piaget

 

#LearnNotEducate was something that was born out of the general apathy towards education system that I saw and felt in the young generation.

Let’s Learn not just Educate is a way to highlight satisfying alternative careers and busting myths related to traditional safe careers that will help the future generation choose wisely

A time when they should be brimming with ideas, discussing thoughts that could change the world or just be dreaming big, they were generally stressed, clue-less about the future or too worried about it not being mainstream. This just didn’t feel right.

Just then #BlogchatterProjects was announced and I took that as an opportunity to spread the word and ask for inputs for the idea of #LearnNotEducate.

From my end I looked for alternative careers that were satisfying and feeding the soul. I encouraged people to register for the same, so that I could bring in more stories about how the youth can follow their dreams and be successful too!

Response to Campaign

I did not expect the response that I got!

3,59,307 impressions in just 20 days with over 50 people talking about it!

More than 3,00,000 impressions for the #LearnNotEducate in just 20 days

I understand its nowhere near revolutionizing education in India, but the whole fact that so many people are interested in talking about it and have similar thoughts is encouraging! I as a Mom of two and a freelancer didn’t think my voice mattered, but this was definitely something that I found comforting.

Twitter poll to understand how people feel

A simple question – Do you believe there should be a change in the education system in India brought about some interesting answers and thoughts.

Many people had many voices and it was interesting to see their perspective

Varadarajan Ramesh – Education should be made affordable. These days running a school is a profitable business. Institutions charge preposterous fees for even Montessori. This should change pronto.

Deepa Gandhi  – There are is a need for a bigger change not only in the education system but mentality of people in our country towards it.

Varsha Bagadia – Absolutely! We need a more practical-based approach. Children who have an inclination towards specific subjects should be allowed to pursue only them.

Vikram Kamboj The education in #India should be made intellectually challenging and should questions assumptions rather than based on the rote memorization technique and orthodoxy.

This is just part one! I will be doing a similar round up about my project, and the way I see the future in 1st week of Jan, so stay tuned!

read the other articles from #LearnNotEducate

Shubha Surendra- A culinary artist

Vasudha Gokhale – A counselor and pediatric physiotherapist

Priti Talwalkar – A classical Singer

Snehal Pradhan – A cricketer

I am continuing with #LearnNotEducate series and those who wish to share their alternative careers with the world, please fill in this Google Form and I will get back to you

Music as a promising career – Interview with Priti Talwalkar #BlogchatterProjects

Singing or music has come into limelight with all the numerous singing competitions that have the capability of making someone a star overnight, however what goes behind the success is what we are here to see today.

I met up with Mrs. Priti Talwalkar, a professional classical and light music vocalist to understand what it takes to be a singer! Having a great voice is just half of the picture. Read this interview to understand the passion and the effort required to be a trained singer. An alternative career, that if followed with passion and dedication can give you money and fame.

Aachievements of Priti

When did you start learning singing?

I started learning music in 6th std from Mrs. Swarada Sathe. After Visharad I started learning Jaipur-atrauli gharana gayaki from Smt. Manik Bhide (senior disciple of Smt. Kishori Amonkar and a great singer of jaipur Atrauli gharana). I completed sangeet alankar under guidance of manik tai and smt. Mukta Bhide. Presently I am learning from pt. Bhalchandra Tilak, another stalwart of jaipur gayaki.

When did you decide to make it your career?

I always liked classical music the most and after 10th I decided to pursue music besides my college studies. I opted for arts so that I could focus on music properly.

Are there any professional degrees or exams for being a well-trained singer?

There are graduation, post graduation degree exams at the university level. One can do PhD after M.A in music. There are institutions like Gandharv Mahavidyalay where these exams can be given externally.

What are the future prospects in this field?

Future prospects in this field :

  • Job as a Music teacher in schools, university.
  • Private tutions or teaching in private institutes.
  • Performing artist in classical, light music.
  • There are other opportunities like playback singing, singing for albums, jingles, etc.


What are your tips for the parents of such students?

Parents should realize the ability of the kids and encourage them to acquire proper training. Help them get over the stage fright by making them sing whenever there are opportunities. Parents should treat this career equally important as any other career like doctor, engineer, etc.

What should a student keep in mind when choosing singing as a career?

According to me one should like singing very much and be passionate about it. With the help of the guru (teacher) try to find out whether you are ready to become a singer. Competitions, exams, singing in front of the audience will help to improve.  This can be a full time career. Proper training and riyaz are the most important things to become successful in this field.

If you follow an alternative career or know someone who does, fill up this google form

I will be glad to feature you in my upcoming series

Hindi Medium – A reality check for parent? My review

I recently went to watch Hindi Medium. I didn’t have many expectations as I expected the movie to just glorify Hindi Medium education and be all preachy. But I was in for a surprise. The movie focuses on a lot of core issues that the new age parents are facing, when it comes to their children’s education.

Hindi Medium starts with the most common worry that every parent of a 3 year old undergoes – Getting their ward admitted to one of the best schools in the locality. The movie beautifully showcases the parent’s good intent of ensuring that their child get’s the best that they can offer, however it can be over zealous at times. As the movie is putting forth a thought, they ensure that the movie remains light and humorous while focusing on the core issues that the parents face when it comes to school admission. It touches upon many societal perspectives that we can easily identify around us, one of them being, ‘English communication is directly proportional to your status in society.’

The casting is perfect with Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar being the financially well-off, struggling with English parents. The movie is a situational comedy and it nails the many ugly truths related to education in our current society. Mithu (Saba Qamar) reads about the “list of top 5 schools in Delhi” and is obsessed about putting her daughter there. The probable ridicule, embarrassment and social stigma that she might have faced is left to the viewer’s imagination through various subtle indications like when she convinces her husband (Irrfan) that their daughter should be educated in the most prominent English School, or when she comes face to face with her ex-college mate who is an alumni of a famous school in Delhi.

Another useful point that the movie makes is, ‘how education has been turned into a money making business.’ Right from counselors who will help groom the child and their parents for the interview, to professional writers who will fill forms and fashion designers who will help pick the right clothes for the school interview. “Schools don’t prefer children of shopkeepers” is another dialogue that portrays the current admission criteria where the school screens the applications based on many unwritten conditions. Being financially well off to pay the school fees is not good enough, the parents and their professional background too is expected to be meeting expectations.

Though the second half of the movie is typical and preachy, it hits the right notes when it comes to putting forth the current problems. It also showcases the other end of the spectrum with RTE quota’s , its misuse and how the RTE children end up being a misfit in schools that are carefully crafting their image of being a school for future leaders of India. Do watch this family entertainer. A refreshing movie which makes each one of us introspect.

India and its obsession with 90 percent score

A few days back the results of 10th and 12th Std students were declared, across all boards. In one of the boards (eg: Karnataka State Board) exam, the student scored 625/625 and hence was the topper in the state. But this is not the story of a single state. Almost all states had numerous students with above 90% scores. While everybody congratulated the toppers, some lamented about the failures. There were many articles, urging students who failed, to take it positively, not take any drastic steps and work towards clearing the exams in the next attempt. While all this is good, nobody seemed to have spared a thought for the students who scored 60, 70 or even 80%. You might wonder what is there to worry about. Congratulate them, tell them to perform better in future and move on!

Let me break this up for all the non-Indian parents reading. India is a country with 1.25 billion people. In 2016 alone there were over 25 lakh students who appeared for 10th and 12th exams, opting for CBSE syllabus alone. Apart from this there is state board, ICSE board, IB board etc. So with these numbers stacked against them, the children are pressurized to perform well in these exams. Only if they score well in these exams they might have a chance of getting admitted into their preferred course or college. There is hardly any room for error, especially students who fall under general/open category. They have nothing, except their scores to take them through.

With this grim background, now think of students who scored 60-70-80%. With the high number of pass percent and high scores, in recent years these students won’t get seats anywhere. Atleast, not in any of the good colleges. There have been reports where even small town colleges have a cut-off percent of 90% So, where does a child scoring average and above average percentage go?

He can’t repeat the exams as he hasn’t failed. He can’t get admissions in his choice of college or even his preferred subject, so what next? He might think the easy way out is ending his life! While not everybody will take the extreme step, some might go to a less preferred college; if they get the subject of their choice, while some will have to change their preference. All these changes will further diminish their chances of opting for a preferred career course and thereby result in an adult who is dejected and frustrated with his situation, and life in general.  As a lesson from his mistake, he will pressure his child to focus on scoring only 90 and above. Nothing short of 90% will do! And thus the paranoia continues.

 

high score

Image Credit- All Poster

 

What I fail to understand is that after more than 60 years of independence and many such deject stories, how can we still depend on rote method of education? Shouldn’t our education system develop and enhance the creativity in English or any other language that the child studies? Same goes for reasoning in Science, fundamentals and quick thinking in Maths, Practical Knowledge in Geography and deep love for past stories in History.

Until we nurture this how can the children can go beyond the thought of a good paying job? If we want innovators and creators, we need to teach them to be fearless. We don’t need a system which cushions the child from every challenge, rather a system that helps them raise up to every challenge and that can happen, not with roting, but by acclimatizing them with real world challenges. Why do we need exams with MCQ? Why can’t the children be exposed to the many career options available right from middle school with some practical exposures so that they can make informed decisions when they reach high school. It might help many children to look beyond Engineering and Medicine, thereby creating an inclusive and thriving environment.