Sunday, November 8, 2015

Setting ideals

There have been happenings around the globe that are inconsiderate and require immediate attention. One such incident that took place in America a few days back has left the world aghast. It was about a child firing a gun shot at his friend and killing her only because he just wanted to touch the pet and his friend did not allow him to do so. Attitude of complacency and intolerance among the teenagers is making the world around, a pandemonium and an unfriendly place to live in. The episodes of teenagers hitting each other and the students over-reacting to situations, is worsening day by day. This is one such crucial subject that needs to be addressed urgently and if not done so, will certainly become devastating for the society in the coming years. Another episode of a student of class ninth hitting one of his classmates, in one of the schools, in which the latter boy succumbed to death, was also alarming. Unfortunately, all that happened within minutes and by the time the teachers on duty approached, the victim had already collapsed. This act was actually a reaction of the student who could not tolerate the other students’ mischief, as a result lost his own life. The question that arises here is of the attitude of patience and tolerance in today’s generation. Are we making our children less tolerant or protecting them to the extent that they think their actions are justified even if they are not! Or are we teaching them rebelliousness in the name of self-defence?
 Psychologists say that as the children grow, they learn from their surroundings, their parents, grandparents and teachers. Every act of others around is copied by the child being unaware of its righteousness. Although this is a proven fact yet the elders seem to be indifferent towards it and are moving far from the idealistic standards. Least do they realize that the children tend to emulate them in everything that they do. Parents merely laugh at the ‘innovative’ acts of the child, whereby, the child thinks it to be right and tries to amuse them more often. All this gradually turns into habit, seeking further acknowledgement from parents. To consider them the victims of  changing scenario more amount of freedom than should actually be given, is granted to the child, without even estimating the upshots. Now, this becomes lethal. A combination of indiscriminate freedom, unnecessary appreciation and less indulgence of parents lead to disintegrated personality of the child. As the child grows up, he/she finds it difficult to cope up with the existing challenges and hence is stressed. The positive and negative stress is much talked about these days, as a new term ‘eustress’ has evolved for good stress. Negative stress drains one’s energy and there are mental as well as physical problems because of it. Whereas,  eustress improves the performance by motivating and focussing the energy in the right direction.
It is a general feeling that the result is always good in challenging circumstances as the person strives to do the best in a little stress. It might yield a positive result. Nevertheless, if someone has a sense of urgency to complete a task, this becomes a short term stress and is a positive stress. But, if one is stressed on account of incompetency, feels over burdened and is bogged down by the hindrances, he may feel distressed and have a negative impact on his capabilities. All these feelings are also formed at the tender age of childhood. Again the same reference should be taken into consideration that a child absorbs everything right from infancy and in his mind, dwell the childhood experiences. So, whether the stress taken by him/her is distress or eustress, is the learning of the individual in the nascent years. It is said that a healthy mind dwells in a healthy body, hitherto, impressions become indelible.
We recently had our Annual Day celebrations. The themes of our Annual Day’s are based on morals and ethics. “Shashwat Satya” as it was titled meaning thereby- pure and pristine truth, was surfaced with extremely candid questions of a child of class five. The entire play was a dance drama on famous personalities of the past and present like Kabirdas, Lord Krishna, Ram Prasad Bismil, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Lata Mangeshkar, who with their dauntless courage and commitment enthused perseverance and patriotism in posterity. At the climax of the show, this small child asks a few thought provoking questions to the audience, which left them contemplating to the core of their hearts. His query was that if the adults keep two or more mobile phones and talk indiscriminately whereas if a child even plays with it, why is he considered to be incorrigible? As it is the parents’ who provide the mobile to the child. Similarly, if an excuse is made by the adults to shun any responsibility, it is justified but what if the same is done by a child, why is he labelled as a liar? They teach the lesson of punctuality in life and work, however, do they practice it themselves? The manner in which the adults speak with their parents, is very blatant and harsh, still why is their demeanour never objected? Parents are the ideals not only in words but also in deeds to their children and they need to inculcate all those values and virtues that they expect their children to follow.  Be it Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel or Mahatma Gandhi, the friendship between Lord Krishna and Sudama, the sacrifice of Ram Prasad Bismil and his intense patriotism, all these feelings should be poured unto the students like nectar. If the thoughtless actions of adults are reasonable, then why all the emulations of the child are unjustified? We adults might not realize the shift of our behaviour from morally correct to socially defiant as this transition is effortless and common. Adding to the misery, the aspirations of parents for IIT and other degrees of repute in one of the big cities, popularly known as ‘education hub’, is taking a toll on the lives of the students. Perhaps the student does not realize its serious repercussions, so the parent will have to take the lead to make him understand and also should give him the confidence to succeed. Though, success might have a different definition for some. We need to understand and critically analyse our own actions at the first place and then preach the children about right and wrong. The immense potential our kids and teenagers have, has to be recognised and channelized. Unless this is done, the adult demeanour will always be an apple of discord. In this case, the onus lies with the family members, other adults and teachers, to mould the primitive years of children in a prudent manner so that the same can come handy to them later in their lives. Freedom given should also be discreet so that the child comprehends his rights and duties. Patience at home, school or work also has to be taught in order to create a peaceful society. Home and school i.e; the parents and teachers will have to share this responsibility collectively.
Media is indispensable today and a major role is played by the media in such circumstances. Only if the role is one of ‘responsibility’, media with the power of pen can transform lives. It has been done in many cases a number of times.  Putting the negatives on a back burner and promoting the good in the society so that the children can learn, understand and follow it, is the real role.    
It is my request to the readers to view this subject earnestly and ponder upon it. The visibly hidden traits will be discovered at an individual level by introspection and analysis of our acts. What we as parents, teachers, elders and responsible citizens can kindle is, that our words and deeds should match.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Judiciary and Education

Education is the right of every child away from the boundaries of being rural or urban, rich or poor, marginalized or migrants.  The RTE since its implementation has also made its way through the country. The subject that I wish to share with the readers here pertains to the recent decision taken by Allahabad court which has raised an alarm especially in the clan of government employees. The employees now will have to admit their children in government schools only, failing which the government will extort the same amount that goes as fees of private schools, from their salary. It was so prudent on their part to have thought of such an imposition in the benefit of the children. Undoubtedly, this will improve the deplorable condition of the schools and also enhance the quality of education. Private schools that have seen a boom in the last decade and a half, became the choice of the elite on account of the facilities, quality of education and state-of-the-art infrastructure provided to the learner which further satisfied the parent who readily shelled out the required fee from their pockets. However, the government schools are unable to meet those investments and expenses, hence the deterioration. Kudos to the policies of liberalisation, that the people started withdrawing their wards from government schools to be admitted in private schools, which led to a major reduction in the number of students in government schools. Moreover, people also pondered about the exposure given in private schools that made their children globally more competent and self-reliant. In any case, a parent whether employed with government or private, will want every facility to be extended to his child. As a result these schools flourished and the other schools remained in the era of darkness. The staff too took all the advantage of such a condition of neglect. Absence from school or signing and moving out to complete personal errands, using the resources of the school and taking undue advantage of the same, no teaching spree, are some of the issues that necessitates to be addressed strongly, but the apathy of government is unable to curb and control all this clutter as their coffers remain filled. Consequently, even the rustics now are interested in sending their wards to private schools so that they become akin to the city dwellers. Not forgetting to mention that education bridges the gap, minimizing disparities.
Nevertheless, the persisting nagging question is about the interference of judiciary in this outlandish decision. Unfortunately, in our country the rules are made but never enforced, so the same happen with the above mentioned case and all of it went down the drain. It is relieving to note that the judiciary is concerned about the upliftment of the government school but on the other hand they are also putting the private schools under a strange scrutiny by not allowing them to increase the fee structure along with admissions under RTE being mandatory. This is like burning the candle at both ends, as the private schools do not compromise on the quality of education, infrastructure or facilities and much to their helplessness they also can not increase the fee to meet the recurring expenditures. Hence, there should be some justice for them so that they are able to meet the expenses, maintaining the benchmark.
Another point to ponder is the statutory decision of admission privilege to an RBSE student over a CBSE student by the government of Rajasthan, even when the RBSE one scores much less than the CBSE candidate. Besides that, there is an RBSE quota or reservation in refined terms. The case of a student scoring 86% in stream of humanities in CBSE was denied admission in a state college, whereas an RBSE with 64% was given the admission. This new percentile formula is indeed a blessing in disguise for the Rajasthan board students but has become a curse for the CBSE students. The reported number of admissions has drastically decreased in the colleges of the state as a result and the CBSE students are migrating to other states seeking admission in colleges of repute. This is clearly a case of alienation; a student of the state is not given admission only because he studied in Central Board. Ironically, the text books, curriculum and even the pattern of examination in both the education boards, is just the same. Now when there is no difference here, then why should the state government be so insensitive to the other board students’. The CBSE student is forced to migrate from his own state to the other which is causing brain drain or brain migration. Is it in any case justified? Why should we then expect these students to have empathy, affinity or any connection with the state? It is again a very arbitrary decision on the part of policy makers.
To add to this, the recent decision of some of the newspapers about not highlighting the news of achievements of private school students also has left everyone baffled. Whereas, the achievements of government school students, even if they are trivial, will be highlighted. This discrimination may be uninspiring for those zealous children private school students’ and their accomplishments will lie latent. Though the students will continue to reach their milestones and achieve success but if they are appreciated through a media, it will give them more motivation to seek further success as it will be justified to recognise their honest efforts. The implementation of such drastic decisions have there own implications and oppositions. Education is a fundamental right that can not be denied. Hence, the need of the hour is to bring about an awareness in the citizens who are also the stakeholders to persuade the policy makers for a more suitable path taking into consideration the pros and cons of such impulsive decision which might be challenging for a few, as every parent can not afford an undergraduate degree for his child from another state. There can be many more areas of genuine concern like eradication of illiteracy from the state, social upliftment of the underprivileged, controlling price hike etc; which require greater attention. The teachers and parents can voice their opinion in this regard and prevent the migration of hundreds of genius brains, who will certainly do good for the state.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Respect creation by helping others

A question was asked by somebody about not reacting to something wrong happening around us? But at the same time criticize a lot sitting in the drawing rooms or disparaging during the day. The question was more in reference to specific things happening in the city, state, country or the world. Many examples were cited by the concerned person like an old man wanting to cross the road and not many people bother about the same. Due to an accident somebody got injured and crying for the help and most of the people are in hurry so they do not extend any help. Some people fighting with some body and the onlookers do not intervene. There are thousands of such examples which should make us feel ashamed. This is more so in case of our country and the situation is getting worse day by day leading to rampant hooliganism. There can be a small crowd of 5-10 people and they can spread the ruckus in the area and nobody would react to the situation. We have celebrated 69th independence on 15th August 2015 and paid tribute to the forefathers who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the country. This has been 68 years since independence and the country has progressed a lot in almost all areas of life. The literacy rate has gone up, and in this the participation and contribution of the women has also been quite noteworthy. The number of schools, colleges and universities has gone up manifold. The green revolution and white revolution have helped improving the health of people. The hospitals and industries have grown quite significantly and the country is in the process of becoming the medical destination for the people of world. The roads, rail, air transport has also improved considerably in comparison to the state of affairs at the time of independence. The status of living has gone up for majority and the rate of improvement is picking every year. The youth of the country has got its presence registered and recognized all over the world. The individual contributions have also been significant. Our scientists, mathematicians and entrepreneurs are well known for their intelligence and acumen. Our teachers of the schools and colleges are still considered to be among the best. The people of Indian origin working in other countries are contributing for the country they are living in as well as for their own country. But one area where we seem to have lost track is our strength of togetherness. The concept of first feeding the person living in the neighborhood and then eating self is somewhere forgotten in the process of progressing in other areas. The concept of the people sharing their happiness and the sorrows is eluding now and probably this is the reason some people have realized that our people have become selfish due to which we tend to ignore to react to the problems faced by others.
Our children are born innocent and they imbibe the things happening around them. The adults will have to play a proactive role in changing the mindset and make all happy as far as possible. We all know it so well that if somebody in the family falls sick then he/she is looked after very well. The same should be extended to the people living in the neighborhood and city. If this happens then most of the problems of the society will be solved.
If we can think of ‘We’ and ‘Us’ instead of ‘I’ and ‘Me’ then nobody will be left on the road crying for the help and nobody will sleep hungry around us. Development and progress are vital and unavoidable but at the same time family, society and the nation cannot exist without a balanced blend between these sides of a coin. We must celebrate our progress but at the same time try to help those who need and bring the last person of the society forward so that we all could work together for the benefit of the people because even if one person is left behind that is also a grim facet on the progress sheet of the nation. Planet earth is the most beautiful and happening planet which has given birth to thousand of species and the human beings have been the most intelligent ones, who can think and act in the field of development.
If I talk in context of our country only, there are numerous examples in which it is proved that the people chose the path of pain to make others happy. If an individual feels pained due to some problem to his own then he would definitely react in the similar way in other situation. But the real problem is that many parents have assumed the progress of their kids of getting good marks or the grades in their academic performance. They push the children so much into it that the kids do not get time to interact with the parents, grandparents or any other family member. They are taught not to waste time in sitting with someone who might be sick and just concentrate on their work. The mothers would not let the daughter help her in the kitchen or household work because she wants her to top in the class or in some competitive examination. This may be right on their part because every parent wants his/her child to be relaxed and get more time for studies but they should understand that life skills are also equally important for the kids to learn and the same cannot be taught but imbibed in our day to day life. If the children sit with their grandparents and help them in some way then this makes them to empathize towards elders. One parent told that his son inculcated the habit of reading because in the childhood he used to read the stories to his grandfather who was not well and was not able to move. The child used to fetch glass of water or medicine for him and that made him learn to help the ones in the need of help. Hence, parents should not consider this as the waste of time but a great opportunity of learning the life skills.
Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi very rightly mentioned in his speech that the children have taken the cleanliness campaign more seriously than the adults. They are the ones who check the parents or other people in the family not to litter here and there. The children get confused when they find the adults fighting with each other on almost no issue. They want to be happy and friendly with everyone and we the adults unknowingly teach them something else. Let this planet earth be more beautiful not only with its nature and resources but also with the positive thoughts which we all possess. Let us seek freedom from negative thoughts towards others and that will be the real progress which will help all the people around us. Let the sorrow of my neighbour make me sad so that they do not feel alone when they need us the most. Let us try to think for the society then only for self which will make life more beautiful.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Skilled youth - empowered youth

The Indian government has been debating on the new education policy to be placed in place by making required changes in the existing pattern. The prime minister has been advocating and motivating the citizens and custodians to focus on skill development. The whole purpose of education should be to enable and make people realize their potential and create something new for their own good and the good of the society. The children of the day are exposed to abundance of knowledge and they at times find themselves in difficult situation to decide what to acquire and what to leave. Most of the times the conflicting views are shared by many people with them directly or indirectly. This is healthy to have such views but our children should be skilled enough to understand the difference and what would be good for them. I am of the opinion that the children be exposed to age appropriate challenges of the life and given an opportunity to find the solution themselves with the indirect support of the adults wherever needed. This can be achieved with some efforts on the part of the teachers and the parents. The government and the educational bodies will have to play more active and considerably significant role in this. Skill development would not mean by marks or the grades obtained by the students in the examination but to develop all faculties of one’s personality. In this the schools should take the responsibility of making children intelligent not only academically but emotionally as well. Emotional intelligence has been an important subject in the last four- five decades but now seems to be left behind in the race of artificial intelligence. Indian history has been full of the stories of the music, dance and art work. All the kings and rulers were the enthusiast promoter of such performing arts and skills required for that. They promoted this not only for their interest in such things but also because they found themselves relaxed by getting exposed to such arts and better prepared to perform their duty of ruling the states more effectively than what they could have done otherwise. The most cruel or hated kings were also fond of such art and most of them promoted such skills in their own way.
I have written all this to construct my point that skill development should not be linked directly with the idea that it would enable a person to earn but also make him happy and better prepared to perform the acts which will enable him to earn more for self and the family. When a person is relaxed and happy, then the possibility of achieving something new is more. These performing art skills definitely help people relax and that is why such things should be given same importance and preference in the schools as academic subjects are given. The parents must also realize that they do not force children with books and notebooks only but allow and motivate them to pursue the skills and the art of their choice. The performing art skills will help the children learn the habit of creating new things and new ideas. When I say that these skills are very important that does not mean that other skills are not so but my intention is that these skills will lead to learning and performing other skills more effectively and in a better way. The children should be taught that these subjects are not forced upon them to obtain some grade in the progress report of the schools or the colleges but enable to become more confident and creative person who will be skilled to do something new in future. We learn multiple skills in the schools which is fondly termed as multiple intelligence and that should be explored as much as possible by the parents and the teachers.
The schools should ensure to develop these faculties and the teachers teaching music, arts, theater, health and physical education should be given the same type of treatment and respect as the teachers teaching physics, history or any other such subject. In India many people consider such teachers as activity teachers which place them some way in a different category than the subject teachers. Though in the last few decades the things have changed for the good but still a lot is to be done if we have to realize the vision of the prime minister to have skilled youth, enabled to exploit his potential to the maximum. The skilled youth will be equipped with all the knowledge required to face the challenges of the future. We should try to understand the overlapping in the meaning of the two words ‘skill’ and ‘vocational’. Skill will definitely enable a person to be vocationally trained but vocational training alone may not lead to skill meaning thereby skill definitely leads to vocational competences but vice versa may not be necessarily true. This also shows the importance of skills and a very thin line of difference between the two words, skill and vocation. Unfortunately, we still find many teachers and parents telling children that they were wasting their time which is heart breaking to the children and in the process the adults have deprived the world of the wonderful things which such children would have enjoyed in their life. The children who spend some time on doing things of their choice tend to perform better in those areas also in which they might not have been good or comfortable. The performing arts, games and sports must be given due importance and place in the school curriculum so that the children do not need specialized skill training programs and they come out of the schools and college with their skills thoroughly developed. The teachers who teach such subjects should also be given the same kind of respect and opportunities as other teachers in the institution (this is happening in many institutions now). The physical education teachers should not limit themselves to have been playing only the ‘discipline In charge’ role. They can teach the skills of surviving in difficult situations and take victory or defeat in the same manner. The children do not get depressed very soon and their participation and involvement in games and sports would make them stronger not only physically but also mentally and emotionally, which is very important particularly in today`s world of tough competition.