Thursday, April 28, 2011

Examination-A test for parents and children alike

There is serious discussion taking place in the field of examination reforms. Last few years have seen many changes proposed and implemented.But that is mostly confined to school education and the higher education in the country remains almost unaffected by these changes. Many  people think that the policy makers should not treat this in isolation but a comprehensive approach is required if proper positive results are to be achieved.The policies say that no child will be detained or failed up to class VIII and in classes IX and X also the pattern of the question papers is such that almost all children should pass the so called examination. What happens in class XI when all of sudden the syllabus becomes elaborate and also the students have to pass in the examination.Will the children be ready for the exam when they had not be taking them very seriously in the lower classes? Naturally the people have their own opinion in this case also but in spite of trying to be ideal only the real situation should also be looked into seriously.
I can remember , twenty years back when the children were unsuccessful in class X and also in class XII  examinations and the family and the students used to take in the right perspective and there was no panic anywhere. It was rare that people came across any extreme step taken by the children. But so called reforms adopted by the progressive board made things such(in the name of making children stress free) that marks obtained by the children were not the real indicator of the learning done by the child.In our country marks are the indicators of the learning of a child which is not always right(rather false in most of the cases). The children started getting hundred marks in different subjects and even in languages as well.  Due to this, the students from other boards were at disadvantage so they also devised a new method of having internal marks in board examination and as expected the result improved and more number of the children were successful and accordingly it was thought that the stress of the children has reduced. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Even after taking this growth step, the number of cases reported taking extreme steps or going into depression have increased. One more important question asked is that more students  pass but does it really indicate that they have learnt better than what the children were learning before.Examination reforms alone may not improve the situation.Policy makers should think beyond and the syllabus and the teaching methodology should be redesigned and corrective measure to be taken.
Evey year during the months from March to May and June the school children have to face many examinations which include school based exam, board exams and the competitive examination conducted by government as well as private bodies. Look at the plight of these children and you will realise how much stress they are being through despite all the efforts made by the people who show concern for them. Having no stress up to class VIII and then all of a sudden  stress in the form of these exams might disturb children more than ever before. An example will be appropriate in this context. The children prepare for two to four years for one of the most prestigious entrance examination and that is IIT. They come to examination centres at eight o' clock in the morning and will have to go through the pain of writing the answer of the questions which  decide their eligibility to get admission in IITs . The agony they have to go through for the whole day because the exam is in two sessions on the same day is bothersome. It is not understood why this exam cannot be conducted on two different days so that the children are not under that much pressure.There are number of such examination and if the names of all competitive examinations are written then the article will be too lengthy ,so I leave it to you to deliberate more on this.
The board examinations are over in almost all the states and now the parents teachers and the students are waiting anxiously about the result. After the declaration of the result many will be happy and many will not be satisfied due to different reasons.In this case the parents should understand and make the children also to realise that whatever is the result, it should be taken in the right spirit and they should not be depressed or disheartened because this is not the only result which proves whether the child is progressive and successful. Passing board exam or for that matter any exam is not necessarily the proof of your being intelligent or not because most of our exam test knowledge and not the intelligence.The example of a mother can be quoted here, whose daughter was tensed and stressed on account of the forthcoming result. The daughter is a child with basic human virtues and looks after her grandparents,does the household chores and is also held in esteem by the relatives.When the mother noticed that the girl was tense she consoled her by saying that this result of being an ideal daughter is the actual result for us and not the result which will be declared by the board, thereby supporting the daughter morally.
The other example is of a parent whose son had appeared in IIT entrance exam and they were waiting for the result. The father one day had told the child that they would go out to have dinner on the day the result would be declared. On 16th June the result was declared and the child did not qualify. The parents themselves told their friends about this and told the child not to worry and as decided would go to have dinner outside with his friends. The child was surprised for a second but could understand that his parents had never forced him to get or achieve something extraordinary under pressure. The environment at the home was as normal as it could have been on the days when no result was to be declared.
In both the cases, it is clear that the parents can help their children the most. If they remain calm and look at other qualities of the child then this stress will automatically reduce and the children can decide the colour of skies on their own.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Excess of everything is bad

The people in business are told that the price of any commodity will depend upon the demand and supply and that seems to be absolutely true. This has been a regular feature in the recent past that if the price of something is to be hiked then a phobia is created that this particular item is in shortage. The prices of sugar, onion and vegetables keep on fluctuating depending upon the so called availability or shortage. These are extreme conditions and in both the situations people get affected most of the time negatively.
Another extreme is seen in the newspapers and on TV channels. If the Indian team does well one day then, so much of hype would be created so as to get a feeling that this team is the best and nobody can beat them ever and if unluckily they get defeated( which is natural) then the reports will make you feel as if there is no team worst than this. Not only this,a lot of negative will be written and spoken.This is another  example of an extreme and there are many more like this. Is this right and should our life and our actions be so imbalanced? I feel a balanced approach in any situation will be helpful to all and the human beings will be more happy, rather the right expression would be" really happy".
The world today is changing at a fast pace and there is no way you can stop that. But the question is that- Are all the changes taking place for the good of the people? Or the people ought to be careful while accepting or rejecting some of these changes? Once again this is not an easy question which has a universally accepted answer. The people differ in their opinion about this and rightly so.Most of the people expect that there should be a balance in everything and extremes should be avoided. Everyone is aware of the consequences of the extremism in the country and all over the world because excess of everything is not always good.
Fifteen- twenty years back the children at home and in the schools used to listen and obey the parents and teachers almost blindly but situation has changed now. Today they question for anything they feel uncomfortable with and at times, defy the parents and the teachers. This is becoming very common. In bigger cities parents and the teachers at times fear talking to their kids and they try to seek the help of each other and when both fail, the help of an outsider( mostly a counsellor)  is sought. Earlier the parents and teachers dominated but now it is vice-versa,the change is taking place where the children seem to be dominating. Once again this is another example of extreme.Neither the earlier situation was good nor the present situation is going to be good or helpful to the children.
In the past, girls were not considered  equal to the boys and were brought up in a different manner. Boys were always encouraged to study and given freedom to go out as and when they wanted to but there were many restrictions on the movement of the girls and in many cases they were denied the opportunity of getting education and go out with anybody. The best of everything,be it food, clothes,books or even education,was always given to the boys and the girls usually were kept away or ignored. So much so that the girls were interrogated for any mistake committed by them but the boys were pardoned,as if it was their right to commit mistakes. Now things have changed in this case also. The girls are treated in the same manner as the boys( may not be true in some cases) and that change happened for the betterment of women..Now the  girls have started doing certain things which only boys were expected to do. The girls are joining those areas which were meant only for boys. This is a good change but there are certain things which nature has made different in the boys and girls.  In the name of freedom and being equivalent to the  boys, they have started doing certain things which are not meant for them. A teacher was asked a question by a girl student that her brother is allowed to go out with his friends , then why was she not allowed? This was a very genuine question but to be answered very carefully. First, all should understand whether it is right what the boys do should also be done by the girls, even if whatever they are doing is not right. In the name of freedom or being equal or better than the boys or vice versa they should not do things against the law of the nature. The news regarding the involvement of the young girls in certain areas(which are bad for boys also) that are neither good for the health or otherwise, was startling . I have deliberately avoided mentioning them here because everyone is aware of the activities in which the girls are getting involved these days.

So, everyone should understand that excess of everything is bad and should try to be their own self,precisely what God has made them,in spite of being somebody else .The girls deserve all the appreciation and help and should be treated with dignity but they should remain girls and do not try to copy the boys in the name showing their status or position.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Let me study and learn in the class

The thrust of my thoughts has always been on the role played by the parents and the teachers in the life of a child. Some people ask if it is not the duty and responsibility of the children also to think about themselves, their future and the sensitivity towards others particularly their own peers who want to do well in life? Another question raised is, what is the right age up to which children are to be supported, guided and counselled and when are they expected to take their own decisions?
This is well known to everyone that the brain of the child develops maximum up to the age of five and the development is almost complete by the time the child is ten years old. Though  learning is a  life long journey which never ends till a person is alive but this usually takes place based on the desire and will power of an individual.Everyone keeps learning one thing or the other every moment. The children should be given freedom of doing things themselves from the age of five or six years and after ten or eleven years the children should be given responsibility to think and decide about their future. It means when the child is in class sixth, he/ she is expected to be able to think what is good and what is not good for self and also for others. But this positive or negative perception will depend upon the upbringing of the child by the time he/she is ten years old.
There have been questions asked by the parents of those children who are doing well in the school, but other children do not let them study or disturb the class.The genuine concern of such parents is ,why their children should suffer because of the behavioral problems of the other children? All should realise that the school has the responsibility to ensure that every child is looked after well and made to learn good things and at the same time to provide best possible environment to all children so that they exploit their potential to the optimum. Many a times parents and also the teachers want some action to be taken against such elements who disturb the harmony of the class.It is right that every child has a right to study without any disturbance but think about the parents of the children who may not be so fortunate as other parents are.No parent feel happy when he/she is called to the school and told about the negative behavior of their child. This does not mean that they should be allowed to disturb others but, at the same time such children need to be tackled with sympathy because whatever they are doing today is the result of the values or the learning they had in the first ten or eleven years of their being on this earth. Should only they be blamed and punished for that or we elders are also to share some responsibility?
The parents and teachers should analyse the situation and take remedial measure so that such children improve. In this the parents can play a very important role by helping the schools in their pursuit to improve the child.The other children(those who are keen to study in the class) should also understand that if the same case was with them then what would be their expectations from the school and other children`s parents? This is a difficult issue to be handled so easily but nobody has discussed about it in open seriously. Thanks to some of the students who asked this question to the principal of a school -why should they suffer in the class because of unruly behavior of some of the students in the class. The principal tried to advise them that the number of students who want to study should be much  more than that of those who disturb the class and they said yes it was exactly like that.Then ,why the majority of the children are being driven by the other individual or may be a group of children? If they do not support them, then no class will ever be disturbed but unfortunately in this country this has been the path shown by the elders to the children. Look at the society and you will realise exactly the same happens there also. Some negative element drive everything the way they want and so called positive thinkers keep discussing such issues in their drawing rooms only.                   
Let us come back to basic question ,what should be done for such students who are not interested to study. The habit of not studying may be due to certain reasons, but not letting others study does not have any justification. The teachers will have to work hard to make sure that there is no disturbance in the class and all the children learn. If it is not so at least those students who want to study, they should not be allowed to suffer due to the action of others. Sometimes it is observed that the teachers stop teaching if one or two children  try to disturb the class. This is not justified that just because of two children you make  others suffer.
There may be different reasons of such behavior .One of the major factor may be that mainly those children do such things who otherwise are not able to perform well in any scholastic or co-scholastic area in or outside the school. They want to be noticed by others and as this is not possible by achieving something good, hence they get involved in negatives. Sometimes it may be due to that the child has already studied that topic in the coaching class or knows that even if not understood here, can be discussed with the tuition teacher in the evening.
The other reason might be that the child has not been treated well either by the friends or the parents and the teachers.Sometimes the children know it well that their parents have all the resources and the power that they will get admission in any of the schools and the colleges or they might feel that degree may not be of any use to them because the father has already built an empire for him/ her. There can be many examples where the child was given a factory or a showroom even before he/she knew anything about that. .  Everybody must try to analyse the case and then take corrective measures.
All said and done but all should ensure that the children who come to school to learn should not be allowed to suffer because of a few students who do not want to learn good things in the school.Nobody should be given the liberty of disturbing others and this can happen only when the parents do not support the children inspite of knowing that their child is at fault. Punishment of any kind is no solution but the child should be made to realise and understand that he /she had done something wrong which disturbed the other children . All children have right to study and  learn, but they also have a duty to let others study and learn.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Teachers need to impart quality teaching.

While thinking to write more about the problems faced by the children at home and in the school ,I happen to read a quote in one of the books which gave me direction for the topic to be shared with you today. A child expresses his views in response to the parents desire or may be the teacher. And while doing so, he raises a very important issue. The conclusion drawn from the  statement is that every child wants to learn but may not be always wanting to be taught. It is a very important lesson to be learnt by all teachers and the parents. If a serious thought is given to day -to- day life at home and also in the school, it is noticed that children are forced to do so many things though they may not be wanting to do that. For example, the child has just come back from outside, may be from the playground or the coaching class or may be was with the friends for sometime. During this time the mother or father or somebody else must have been thinking about his/ her studies and that makes them to react in a manner which the child may not understand and if suddenly he/she is told to concentrate on his studies than wasting time outside, the child may sit in the chair having books opened in front of him but will not be able to concentrate. Then take the example of the class in which the children are keen to discuss certain problems related to a subject or a personal issues and the teachers are wanting them to focus on the studies and pay attention to the them only. In both the cases the child is not wanting to be taught but that does not mean that he does not want to learn. May be when he had come from outside he had something to share with somebody at home and learn something through that discussion. Why is it so that when somebody sits in the chair and seems to be serious than only learning is considered to be taking place?
All should understand that learning takes place in every situation. If the children are to be taught then then they should be prepared for such a learning. After all they are human beings and not the machines which can be made to work by pressing buttons.Here the emotional intelligence of the teachers come handy and they are the ones who can change the situation in such a way that the children enjoy the teaching and that will surely facilitate the learning as well. Emotionally intelligent parents and the teachers are the ones who are most sought after and the children wait to meet and talk to them. An example will make this aspect more clear.There is a class in which seven teachers teach different subjects and the students in that class are considered to be good. But after a few days, two teachers complain to the principal regarding the behavior of the children and are upset ,whereas with other teachers the children are really happy and want to learn as much as possible. Now try to understand why is it so because in both the cases the children are same but their behavior seems to be different? This is because in one case they do not want to be taught (that does not mean that they do not want to learn)  and in the second case they  want to be taught and eventually learn more. Now the two teachers in whose class the children do not want to be taught should try to understand the reason for the same. But most of the time they blame the children and never try to create an environment in which the children get ready to be taught. It is not an easy thing to do but nothing can be achieved without ensuring first that the children are ready to be taught.
Another example is of those parents who take pride in discussing about their child`s achievements or otherwise on all available opportunities.Once a couple was invited by their friend to dinner and they reached the house at appointed time. After formal welcome the host thought of discussing with guests regarding the studies of their daughter.After formal welcome and some discussions ,the host asked the guest ,what should be done so that their daughter performs well in a particular subject though she was doing very well in other subjects. The girl was probably studying in her study room and she could over hear the conversation going on and she all of a sudden shouts from inside that she was not good in any subject. Then the hosts forced the girl to come outside and sit with guests and learn something from them so that she improves in that particular subject also( the guest couple were teachers).The child was not keen to come out but came and sat quietly. The guest could understand the state of mind of the child and started talking to her related to the topics she was interested in. After some time she got involved in the talks and started discussing things so well that the guest felt very happy. But then again the father asked her to go inside and study for the next day`s test.
 Now in this situation when the child was studying she was forced to come and sit with someone she did not know very well and when she started learning something then she was made to go inside and do the thing which she was not immediately ready for. The example seem to be simple but it carries an important message for everyone.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Child marriage-Serious problem faced by the nation

The child marriage menace has been in this country for hundreds of years and despite the efforts made by the social activist, saints and the government not much improvement has been observed. There were reasons for this to begin with and eventually it became a kind of tradition to marry the children at early age. As per the scientist, doctors and researchers early marriages lead to complications and in most cases both the couple suffers. The appropriate age of marriage in our country is eighteen years for girls and twenty one years for the boys. There must have been some scientific and social thought behind this because marriage before this age may not be good as per the health reasons and also for psychological reasons.
When this problem of child marriage could not be handled at social level the government of India enacted a law against this.This act known as Sharda Act that has been in place for many years but not much improvement has been noted. Every year on the occasion of aksya tritiya or akha teez as it is popularly known, many children are forced by their parents to sit for the marriage ceremony which they do not understand at all. The administration does try to stop it but the social pressure is so much that at times they also find themselves helpless in a situation. This problem exists by and large all over the country but one state affected maximum by this is Rajasthan. The successive state governments have tried their level best to control but this continues. It is not only on  this day which was mentioned above but is even prevalent during the year on other auspicious days also.
There are many reasons for the cause and the government and the society should try to tackle those issues first.Initially these were the girls who were considered to be married at a very early age so that the Ghar Ki Laxmi is safe in in-laws house.And the reason of the same may be known to all who are interested in the history of the country. We are aware that when the invaders came to our country they did not take away only the gold, silver and other materialistic things  but also paid no respect to our mothers , sisters and the daughters ,particularly the unmarried girls. They spoiled their life by taking them away to the 'Harams' or even out of the country. The history is full of such incidents where the women of the country were taken away by the invaders as the object of entertainment. Our own people had tremendous respect towards the women folk of our country  in those days and anything wrong done by somebody to them was an insult and the torture to the parents and the family and also to the society. The invaders knew it well and at times they used it to terrorise the people to be on their side. It was then that the parents thought of marrying their daughters at an early age. If the girl was of the age ten or twelve years ,so the boy they would seek will be of nearly the same age.This tradition of child marriage continued even after the invaders were forced to leave the country.
When the government intervened and the social reformers tried to convince the people against child marriage, the average age of marriage went up and in the cities the situation improved. But unfortunately the condition in smaller places and the villages remained almost the same.The reason for that probably is lack of quality education and increased societal pressure. There the girl is still considered a burden on the parents, hence they want to do away with this as early as possible. Another reason cited by them is that if you delay the marriage of the children, then there are less chances of getting a suitable match for the child later. In many cases marriages are fixed by the elders when the children are just born so that you need not to search for that later on.Some of the parents fear that if their son or daughter grow in age then it becomes difficult to find the  match of the right age. The dowry problem also plays a negative role and the people want to be free of this responsibility (sometimes considered as the burden) as early as possible.
To stop it the best remedy may be quality education either free or on a very nominal cost which all can afford. Then there should be some guarantee of employment for all so that the people may not necessarily depend upon others.The expenditure on the marriage should be minimised and in this the wealthy people can play a significant role. The leaders and influencing people should lead by example and here it will be appropriate to mention the example of one of our chief minister's. The marriage ceremony of both his children was kept a low key affair and not many people even knew anything about the family of the in- laws of his children. Not only this he avoids attending those marriage where he feels a lot of money is on display in the form of the variety of food or dowry etc.If all do the same then poor people will not be forced by anybody in the name of the 'dignity'to worry about the money required for dowry or to be spent in the marriage of the child.The awareness campaign by the government and the NGO's can help  a lot in eradicating this system of early marriages.The individuals will have to understand the sanctity of the relationship and act accordingly so that the young couples live a happy and healthy life after the marriage.

All Pass- No Fail Policy

Quality education means that all the learners attain minimum level of learning.To achieve this level the students have to study and work hard.This also acts as the motivation  and helps an individual to try and reach this level.In everybody`s life there are goals and to achieve those goals they need the process the path and find out ways to reach the goal.If one does not have a goal to reach in the life, the life becomes dull and monotonous . All know it well that anything which is achieved by hard work and perseverance gives more and enduring satisfaction than the one achieved easily.
Education makes a person to discover self and exploit the potential possessed by the individual. Every country has an important place for its education system depending upon the requirement of the people and the nation. Though the basic aim of the education may be same but the teaching learning process and the evaluation have been quite different. The present Indian education system has been in place  from the time of Mr. Macaulay. Though several attempts were made in the past to bring some radical change in the system but not much could be done.There was no consensus on way of doing the things. The emphasis has been more on reducing the load of the bag or the syllabus but to improve the quality of the education.
The changes implemented by the present central government also have not been taken by the people in a serious manner but as if it  has been forced upon them. The whole concept of the CCE emphasizes on the method of evaluation though the logic given is that the burden of the children will be reduced by it. Most people have not responded to that positively and this can be understood from the fact that no other board except central board of secondary education has adopted the same but the state boards have said no to the proposal of having no public examination for class X ,on the other hand  many state board are conducting board exam at class VIII level also. The central government could not force them to follow what is done in CBSE affiliated schools.
The right to education act implemented by the government has come into force in which the thrust is on enrolling  all children who are of the age between six to fourteen so that everyone gets education. This is  a welcome step taken by the government.The government has set priorities and the time frame in which these are to be completed. The finance ministry has also done its bit by allocating more funds for the primary and secondary education.One very important point in the act is that no child will be detained in the same class for any reason even if the child has not achieved the minimum level prescribed for that particular class. CBSE had done it for up to class V and the people differed on whether it had done good to the children or not. Now no child will repeat any class up to VIII.
This brings two points in forefront and they are how to improve the quality of teaching and learning.This should be discussed seriously and efforts to be made for the same,so that no child needs this rule to get promoted to next class but does so on the basis of his meritorious performance .The idea of teacher eligibility test is good but can you have quality teachers without having quality teachers` training institute? Promoting every child to next may prove detrimental to quality of the education and also to the individual child as well. It may appear to be alright today but are we making the child dependent and handicapped to face the challenges of life? The surveys conducted by government agencies and NGO's reveal alarming data and information. As per these surveys in many states 30- 40% children do not reach to the level of the class they are studying in. There is a fear in the mind of the people that promoting every child may affect the teaching learning negatively because the children and in some cases even the teachers may not take it seriously when they know that  every child will be promoted to the next class.It is a debatable point and both the sides have strong view in favour or against this. I feel that the teaching learning methodology should be improved and focus should be on improving that.The end result will definitely improve and all will take pride in that in spite of feeling guilty of achieving something without working hard for it.Many people feel that this will make the children mentally weak and they may develop a habit of not accepting failures in life.
Another question which needs to be answered is that every child does not have an aptitude for all the things taught to him.Then why a choice should not be given to the children as per the liking in which they feel comfortable and accordingly the teachers can develop skills of the children in those areas. For example, some body might do well in games and sports and creative arts, then the child should be promoted in that particular area. The example of China is very relevant here. The sports remind of one important aspect and that is through sports children learn the lesson of winning and failure which helps an individual all through the life because winning and losing are the two sides of the same coin that is life.Nobody can win all the time and no one gets defeated all the times. The example of President Abraham Lincoln is worth mentioning here. He was exposed to very difficult situations in his childhood and that made him so strong. Many examples can be quoted from the history where the people who faced hardships in the childhood rose to do exceedingly well in the later life.
So education and the examination system should be such that it makes the child ready to face all odds. If the standard of teaching deteriorate in the schools, the existing menace of the coaching institute will flourish further and the children will be forced by the parents to join them so that they become capable of facing the competitive exams after class XII. We already have the coaching institute luring children and parents to join them right from class VI onwards for coaching of IIT.  As per a report published in one of the newspapers the parents are spending approximately 30-40% of the total expenditure( on education) on private tutions.In Bihar this is more in rural areas than the cities.
So this is very important that the quality of teachers and the standard of teaching are improved and the focus should be on child`s learning . The focus should not be examination or no examination because the basic objective of the exam is to test whether an individual has achieved that level which was expect of him . And if the quality of teaching learning is improved, then there will be no worry to fail or pass because in that case all the children will do well.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Girl child is precious- Save her

The recent reports in the newspapers regarding pre natal test conducted by some doctors in Haryana and other states are very disturbing to all.Though the government has banned such tests but these are still conducted by some greedy clinic/ hospital owners. The doctors are to be blamed for this but the ones who go to them and request or force them to get the test done should also not be spared rather the punishment given to them  should be more harsh. This is also true that very few cases are reported and there are so many which go unnoticed or unreported. Banning the test may not be an effective solution or cure for the serious problem the country is facing. The census 2011 should awake all the citizens of the country to take immediate corrective measures before the situation go out of control. The government alone can not do everything to remove wrong doing in the society rather the role of the society is very important if the social evils are to be uprooted completely  . In the name of some traditions we can not allow the girl child to be killed even before they are born.
At the same time we should try to understand the reason behind such killings and why does it happen only in the states that boasts of being among the most prosperous ones. This has been for centuries that the male child in India is considered to be the successor in the family and all the rights are given to them. This is the male child only who is expected to perform the last rites after the death of the mother or father and the girls are not supposed to do these rituals. So, if there is no male child in a family then the family curses itself and feels like they have done something wrong and this is the result of their sins.
Another tradition is that the male child is the one who owns the property of the parents and girls are considered to be "Paraya Dhan ". She is treated right from the birth as if she does not belong to this family but shall go away and be the part of the other family ,which is a universal truth. The people think that it is the male member of the family who will look after the parents and other elders when they grow old because the girl will not be staying with them and as per the traditions they are not supposed to be dependent on the daughters earnings and or her in- laws family. In addition to this another cause of concern is the menace of the dowry system in our society which contributes towards the serious problem being discussed. Not many parents want a girl child because they feel that their entire life`s earning will be required to marry their daughter when she is of the marriageable age.
Though the girls are in no way inferior in terms of education and earnings than the boys, but still this is the girl`s family which has to spend a lot of money in the name of dowry . Sometimes it is done by selling the property or taking loan from the banks or somewhere else which the family is not able to repay all through the life.The question has been asked a number of times that when marriage is considered as part of the two families coming together or getting in a relationship,  then why one family expects everything from the other family? Why do we have double standards that if I have a daughter then dowry is bad ,but if I have a son then dowry is alright? The people should answer this question and ensure whether it is male child or female child, both are equally important.In the name of showing the wealth, the extravagant shows should be stopped and marriage ceremony should be simple and a happy occasion for both the families. If this aspect is taken care of, you will observe a tremendous improvement in the sex ratio and there will be no need of any laws or legislation to be passed by the government because these are social issues and should be dealt with accordingly.
There is some important observation which all should know and try to understand. In the present era you come across many cases where the sons do not look after their parents when the parents need them the most despite the fact that the whole property is been inherited by them. The proof is that Rajasthan government was forced to enact a law in which there is a provision of some punishment, if the son/ sons do not look after the parents. I know of a case in which the parents did everything possible for their only son and the grand children. Not only that they had that so much confidence in the male members of the family that all property was transferred in the name of male members of the family well before the retirement of the father. Though the couple has daughters also but as the tradition is they were not entitled for the share in the property of the parents. Now when the couple has grown very old the male members who inherited the whole property have distanced themselves from the old couple but for the delight of the couple their daughters are not letting them feel alone and one of the daughters has done much more than what a son could have done without expecting anything in return. There are so many other cases where the daughters have looked after their own parents with empathy and done everything possible to make them happy and healthy.This is an example which should be an eye opener for those who still want the male child only.
 But things are changing for good now and there are cases where the couples who have single child who is a girl , still do not think of another child for the sake of having a male child but such people are  less in number.
So, if this severe problem is to be solved the government and the society will have to work together and the issue should be discussed and people to be made aware of the consequences. But nobody should get the impression that the male child is not important and everyone of them is not doing anything for their parents but the submission is that the girl child should not be ignored rather should be given all due regard and importance.It is because of them that there is human life on earth. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Save Earth- Save self

Every year, 22nd April  is celebrated as earth day and many programmes are organised all over the world and leaders and the ones who are in a position to take decisions promise lot many things to be done to save earth. It was way back in 1970 when an American senator initiated campaign to save earth and from then onward this is repeated every year on this day. So many conferences and meetings are held on this day and during the year but not much has been changed by that. It has been reported that in the last about 20 years the carbon dioxide emission has been increased by approximately 40%  which has resulted in the temperature increase by about 1%. Due to the increase in temperature the glaciers are melting at a  fast rate and if this continues , all glaciers will be depleted by year 2040. The level of sea water is rising every year and in the next 50-60 years many countries and the cities will become a history.I may not be the competent person to elaborate on the disastrous results of the man`s activity in the name of development but the way things are seen today and what the environmentalists and the scientists say it will be very be difficult for future generations to survive on the earth.
There are many factors responsible for this but this has been reported that the CO2 emission is primarily because of the consumption of the crude oil and the coil (which fortunately is likely to finish by 2050). Due to this the ozone layer is depleting very fast and this is another serious concern because the radiation which was blocked by this will reach the earth and cause serious diseases. There are already lot many chemicals which have made the fertile land on the earth polluted and that finally affects the health of the human beings and also the habitats of animals and the birds etc. are disturbed. The change  in climatic conditions is becoming a serious problem for everyone specially the farmers who do not know what should be the proper cycle of the production of crops.
Now if do not consider the measures taken by governments of different countries and try to understand what a common can do, I think that will be a great help to the states and the speed with which the earth is being destroyed will be reduced. The small steps taken by all can make significant contribution and the future generations will be able to live a happy and a healthy life. The citizens should reduce their dependency on the use of vehicles which consume petrol and diesel. The short distances should be covered either on foot or by bicycle because it has been observed that people use cars and scooters etc even if the distance to be covered is less than half a kilometre. The office going people can arrange the journey to and from the office in one car that transports four five people from the same area or on the same route i.e carpool. The use of the public transport will also help in reducing the use of individual vehicles. This will reduce the consumption of petrol and diesel.
 Other step taken is to consume electricity judiciously because the coal is used in the generation of electricity. All should ensure that the lights, fans, air conditioners and television etc. are switched off when not in use .The buildings should be constructed in a manner so that during day time their is enough sun light and the artificial light is not used. The use of unconventional sources of energy should be adopted. Solar water heaters, wind mills, ( whereever possible) solar cells can reduce the consumption of the coal and the crude oil upto a great extent.In India the government is giving subsidy on such measures if adopted by the people.
 The government should also take some strict measures like not allowing the production of the cars and two wheelers indiscriminately and limit the number of vehicle which can be produced and registered in a city and also all over the country.  The example by Singapore government and by some other countries have shown significant improvement and other countries should follow that.Indiscriminate use of the ground water resourses should also be controlled. There should be some laws framed and the people should be discouraged to dig bore wells as per their own requirement.Rainwater harvesting can solve this problem considerably. The water should also be conserved and in this all the citizens can play their role without much inconvenience.The schools and the colleges can contribute a lot in the conservation of water and electricity. The children should be taught and encouraged to ensure that water is precious and should not be wasted. Recycling plant in schools and hospitals and other big buildings can be another method of saving water.Why is it so important, because when the ground water is extracted,electricity is used and as known to all production of electricity consumes coal and the crude oil and the consumption of these increase the CO2 emission which ultimately is the cause of all the problems.
Hence, inspite of depending on the governments ,the people should take initiative to save earth and live a better life for self ,children and the posterity.  Some body has rightly said that when we try to save earth , we indirectly save our self.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Country of holidays

The new academic session started in most of the schools from 01 April and there would have been an enthusiasm among the students because they had moved from one class to a higher class. The parents must have also done quite a preparation. There are many children who go to a new school or for the first time and expect to be friendly with the schoolmates and the teachers.But unfortunately there have been a number of holidays in the last few days which disturb the routine of the schools and the planning of specific tasks get derailed. Many people will not agree with what is being shared but I always say these are my thoughts and I do discuss such issues with many people. This is true that not many parents and other people appreciate so many holidays but as these holidays have been decided by the government hence they expect the schools also to remain closed on these days.
One of the most respected educationist of the country mentioned sarcastically that the thrust is on enrollment of the children than the quality education.As per his information , the average number of working days in the schools nation wide is less than 200. It is surprising to know that when a survey was conducted , the number of working days were found to be less than 100 in few states due to different reasons. There are scheduled holidays and a few more are  because of climatic conditions. In the last few years it has been observed that the state governments follow each other in closing the schools due to extreme climatic conditions of the cold or heat waves. This is true that the children should not be exposed to unfavourable climatic conditions and all possible steps should be taken for the safety of the school going children ,but the local conditions should be taken into consideration. It has been found that the news of cold wave in Delhi alarms the people at other places also, though the whether there may be favourable but as the government of that state directs the schools to be closed ,hence the other states follow the same.Sometimes, it has been observed that the days when it was cold the schools were working and were closed when there was no need.The correct approach would be that it should be left to the local administration if they feel and deem it necessary ,they should close the schools accordingly, evaluating the extreme climatic conditions.
In the sixth pay commission report the suggestion was to reduce the number of holidays which many people had endorsed but due to reasons unknown that was not considered and the number of holidays remained same rather a few more were added.The country had the same holidays before adopting the five days a week culture(which has resulted in addition fifty two holidays) .The suggestion of having only three national holidays should be seriously considered and implemented. The number of holidays in many developed countries are much less than India. Take the case of USA, Spain,England, France and the list is quite long. These countries have progressed because of  their work culture and the sincerity towards the work.The news paper reports suggest contrary to that in our country.Rightly said by somebody that the countries do not progress when the people search for occasions to be on leave but when they seek for more opportunities to work.
 The right to education act has come into force and it mandates minimum number of working days in the schools and that is more than 200 days. To achieve that target the number of unplanned holidays should be curtailed. The school calender can be rescheduled as it has been observed in last few years that the severe cold is during first and second week of January and  the cold in the last week of December is tolerable. But as per the calender the winter break is in the last week of Dec.only and every year in many of the states the winter break is extended by a few days due to severe cold.
It is believed that in the schools the children not only study the subjects and take part in extra curricular activities but learn the lesson of the life and whatever they imbibe into them during the school years develops their attitude towards life and they act and perform accordingly in future.All the great people in whose name we celebrate the holidays (not really their birthdays) never advocated less work rather they worked more than anybody else. If they are to be honoured the countrymen should follow their deeds and actions rather than enjoying their birthdays as holidays.It becomes more  important for school children that some programmes are organised in the schools on these days and they are told and taught more about our great leaders.These great men are revered and respected irrespective of their religion,caste or clan.The children will learn better about them and definitely many of them will follow the path shown by our great ancestors.
The government should give a serious consideration to reduce the number of holidays and the citizens of the country should support this for the sake of the country`s progress.
Some people may feel offended by what has been written in this article but it is not to hurt anyone and this should be understood with a right perspective.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dignity of labour

The father of the nation , who is appreciated and followed by the people around the globe , had many qualities which made him so popular and different from others.Non- violence or as popularly termed "Ahimsa" is most talked about and discussed. But the other very important quality which people do talk but in the recent past has not been heard of much ,was extremely significant in the life of Gandhiji and that was 'dignity of labour'.
He used to do all his daily work himself and advocated the same to his followers. Gandhiji took pride in cleaning his room or doing other such work and did not allow himself to be helped by others. According to him no work for him was below his dignity.This was so because he was aware that everyone is important and should be respected irrespective of his caste,creed,religion,race ,profession or any other classification. He knew it well that it could not be possible by lectures or passing laws ,but by examples. He showed us the path that if all do their work themselves then all would be seen with dignity and nobody will labelled low or otherwise.
If we talk about schooling ,a few decades ago, there were many schools in which the children were taught the lesson of doing most of the work self or in groups.The students were given the responsibility of cleaning the classrooms on rotation basis. During any function or celebration most of the work was done by the students and the teachers. The most important thing is that the children and their parents used to take pride in doing such work.The parents of the school going children share such incidents and suggest that the same system should be revived in the schools.Later on a new  word called SUPW was coined in the curriculum which is elaborated as socially useful productive work and the same was functional in the schools for quite some time. Unfortunately, this word and the activity involved is also forgotten by most of the schools and people. CBSE does mention in the syllabus but ground reality is different.
The question is why has this change come? The people need it more today because it has been observed that most of the youth who migrate to cities for jobs have to do a lot of daily chores themselves because not many helping hands are available in big cities.Even if it is not so the children must be taught the lessons of the dignity of labour. If the situation of an affluent family is analysed ,it is found that there are more number of helpers than the family members i.e. driver, maid to cook food, other person to clean the house, one to wash the cars and other vehicles and someone to wash clothes etc. A new trend has been observed that the helper or the maid kept to look after the small child also goes along with the family to attend functions or even during the holidays when the couple go out to any hotel etc. The children are left in the custody of the maid when the parents enjoy their outing. At times it is difficult to understand who is the real mother of the child.
 When the child grows then also in many families they do not get opportunity to learn to do their work themselves because there are a number of helping hands available to them.
In the schools and specially the so called big schools the children do not get chance to learn this important lesson of dignity of labour. Earlier schools used to have at least one period in which all children were involved to clean the classrooms or the school campus. The torn papers or the candy wrappers lying here and there were picked -up by the children and thrown in the dustbins and the surroundings were made clean.  If this was done ,then all of them were so conscious of not throwing the garbage anywhere but in the designated area only. Most of the parents agree that the children are not doing their daily work themselves. Some people object to the school which try to take initiative in this regard but something has got to be done otherwise giving lectures mentioning the qualities of the father of nation does not make any sense.
The beginning should be done from home and small steps can be taken in that direction. For example, the children should make their bed themselves, polish their shoes, place the clothes at proper place, set their bags, pick-up their used plates after the meals and put them in  the dish washing area etc. This should be a regular feature even if there are servants for that work at home .In the schools also small tasks can be undertaken by the children and the parents are expected to support the school.. The class which remain most clean, the children of that class should be appreciated in the school assemblies. The schools can have hobby classes like wood craft, clay modelling,gardening  etc .There are schools in which minor repairing tasks are done by the students.In some of the residential schools the children help the people in the dining hall for the cleaning of the dining hall etc.The class monitors and the class teachers can set examples by taking initiative. This way the children will not only be able to do a lot of their work on their own but also they will learn to appreciate the importance of the people who usually do not hesistate to do any such work. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

School hostel-Need or compulsion

Our country has the tradition of having Gurukuls where the children from all families would go and get education for life.Even the kings` and Shanshss` children were sent to the Gurus and Maulvis to learn the lessons of life. Gurukuls used to be away from the cities where the pupil were supposed to remain cut off from the general public.They were not only taught academics but also other life skills. There are many examples in the ancient books in which the all children were treated at par and they used to almost everything all by themselves. There were no helpers for anything and everything was to be done by them only. Whether it was to collect the wood or things required to cook food the responsibility was on the children.The wife of the Guru was addressed as Guru Maa, meaning thereby that she was treated as the mother of the pupil. Then over a period of time the gurukuls changed to 'Paathshalas' and education became more formal and structured.When the British empire took over the reins of the country they found it difficult to get their children educated along with other children. Also the weather conditions of the country were such that they thought of setting residential schools at the places which were climatically favourable and away from the approach of the common people. You may find many such schools functioning even today. The Indian people also realised the importance of education and the industrialist like G.D Birla Ji  thought of setting up schools for the benefit of the common people of the country and many more followed.Now there are a number of boarding schools which have come up in the last few decades. Some are within the reach of the common people and many are for a particular class.
Here we can try to analyse the need and importance of the residential schools. In the ancient time these were deliberately set up in the form of Gurkuls because the parents really wanted their children to be acquainted with all the facets of the life and not only the lavish life full of comforts they would enjoy at home. Later on new boarding school were opened because smaller places either did not have any schools or the quality of the schools was not good. The children were sent away for the sake of quality education. A time came when there were many schools available in the neighbourhood but still the children were sent to boarding schools and the main reason was that the families were big and due to that some children were drifting away from disciplined life so they were sent to hostel to  learn a disciplined life. This is true upto some extent even as on  today. Though this is not the only reason for the parents to send their children to boarding schools but the quality of education is a serious concern. Another serious factor is that many children are exposed to so many facilities at home that they rarely learn the importance of the hard work put in by the parents to achieve those things.
The exposure to TV and advertisements tempt the children and add to this misery and menace. The routine of the parents is such that the children go to sleep after 11 pm and they have to go to school early in the morning ,they hardly get sound and proper sleep. For parents it might be all right because they can afford to get up late.It has been observed that many children do not take the most important part of diet i.e; a proper breakfast  and at times do not get time for their routine jobs  because they are forced by the parents to get ready for the school otherwise they will be late for the school. If the children come in this state of mind ,will they be able to concentrate and learn what the teachers would be teaching? Other important factor is that the children are getting exposed to a lot of junk food which is not helping them to possess a sound mind and a healthy body .The companies which are promoting their  products should also realize this and take all measures to supply better food options as this is affecting the children of the cities more but now has started having its impact on smaller cities also. Somebody mentioned this fact which is ironical ,that in the villages milk is sold by the families to the dairy owners and soft drinks are served to the children.Though for such habits parents are to be held responsible and by the time they realise it the damage is already done.
Another problem  harming the children is lack of playgrounds in the neighbourhood and also in most of the schools. Consider a school which is built in one or two acres (In big cities you will find many of this size) how much play area is available. Even those schools where the play area is sufficient most of the children are not able to make use of that. There are two periods in a week which does not help the remain physically fit. To me this is imperative that if the children remain fit then only they will be able to do something for themselves , their family and the country.
 So, the residential schools have to play a significant role in making the children worthy and healthy citizen of the country. They are the ones who learn doing their work themselves and live disciplined life. They also learn to help each other and develop healthy food habits because there is no individual choice for anyone of them.
There may be some drawbacks of these schools but considering today`s situation advantages are more than disadvantages and the government has also realised the importance of residential schools that is why so many Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas were set up.Undoubtedly,an ideal school hostel that fulfills all the needs of its pupils becomes 'a home away from home' for them .

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Major cause of stress among children

Change is inevitable and it does not happen without inconvenience.Many people think that  the children nowadays mature before time. In most cases, people feel good about it but when it comes to friendship with opposite sex, not many are comfortable with it.The counsellors and psychologists are serious about such immature relationships.The major problem in our society is that we feel shy of discussing such issues in public.I also took quite long before deciding to write something which is affecting our children because they are not guided or advised properly by elders.There was a debate few years back to make sex education as a part of school curriculum but there was  a lot of opposition from many corners. People both in favour and against had their point of view but they agree that something needs to be done in that direction so that our children do not go off the track.
It has been found in many cases that the problem between two teenagers was because they liked the same person. There have been examples where the child attempted something abnormal because the one whom he/she wanted to be friendly with did not respond favourably.Earlier it used to be so when the children were of the age group of 15 to 18 years but now this starts well before that age. It may be shocking to many people that the children of age 10 to 11 years have started falling in this category.The point of discussion here would not be whether this is right or wrong but my worry as a teacher is to save the child from getting into depression due to such problems because that will hamper the progress of the child in any field.The elders should pay attention towards this issue.The kids should be counselled and guided properly in spite of scolding and threatening them. Two extreme reactions have been observed of the parents.In one case the parents stop interacting with the kids once they suspect such issues. In other case they put so many restrictions on them that the children fell suffocated and become rebellion.Both the reactions have adverse effect on the children.
All must understand that the children are exposed to so much information available to them through media and the Internet and they tend to get influenced by that. The outdoor activities for the children is a rare commodity nowadays. The nuclear family system has greatly multiplied the problem. The houses have  become big due to which the distance between parents and the children has increased. Most of the time the children do not find parents at home when they need to share certain problems with them.The lack of communication between the two has drifted the children away from parents and they find a place with friends and out of that also mostly friends from opposite sex. It starts from infatuation and finally turns into obsession towards the other person.Many people will be surprised to know that to have a friend from opposite sex has become a fashion and someone not having one is considered inferior.Also at times they are considered to be outcaste by their own peer group.I shall avoid elaborating on the same but this is a fact which can not be denied.The parents and the teachers are the ones who should help the children. It is not that the children were not affected by this natural phenomenon earlier but the impact was not very serious as it is today because there were many people who used to be the friends of the child at home.
When a child is not able to do well in different activities and appears to be withdrawing self, the parents and teachers should pay attention and try to understand the reason for the same. It may be any reason like the health or studies or stress. But this aspect of the problem should also be looked into.The children should not be doubted on their being friend with a girl or a boy, but they should be told the meaning of the friendship.If the parents and teachers find it difficult then the help of the counsellors should be sought and then they should act accordingly.

Such kind of behavior of the children should be taken as normal but not to be allowed to the extent so that the children tend to be depressed. All should try to understand the problem and find the solution which may be different for different children. The teachers should be very careful not to discuss such things even with their colleagues, if the child has confided his problems in them. Because such talks will not help the child but put more pressure on him/her.We may not talk of the sex education publicaly but, there should be someone to guide the children even before they fall into this stage and discuss about the problems and  its  after effects. If the children are guided well at the right time they will be saved from a difficult situation they might fall into because of the ignorance of parents and teachers.This will not only enable them to become confident but also help them to counter their stress and fear.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stress and tension- Two major cause of concern

The youth of today is often found complaining of the stress and the pressure in which they are working today. Prominent news reports of fat packages lure children to get a placement in an organisation which pays them the most. This is very natural but should it be the money only which is to be a considered or the liking and the interest in a particular task undertaken by individuals. Young people keep talking that though they have means but do not have time to make use of those means. Some people keep working for months together and do not get time to purchase essential things of daily use.The work pressure is so much they hardly get any time to think of their family.There are so many young people specially in big cities who do not wish to get married because they consider it to be a hurdle in their progress. Those who get married do not want to have children because they feel that they will not be able to do justice to the kids.Staying alone away from the family do not make things better for them. Late marriages are becoming common which will result in having children in advanced age.This is proven medically that the appropriate age for having kids is between 23 years to 30 years. Beyond 30 years there may arise health complications to the mother as well as the child.This is the scenario of as  many young people as you come across.
The young children are also going through stressful life due to various factors.The cases of the children taking extremes steps are on increase. Some of them leave home because they were scolded by someone at home or were not allowed to purchase something which they wished for, in their interest. The report in the cover story of one of the newspapers which revealed that a child took extreme step because he was not provided some item he has asked for,was shocking. In most of the cases parents are not able to understand what to do. The children will do what they have learnt through different sources. Is this on account of the education system which has made them like this or the actions and environment at home or in the school.Few years back a child shot at his classmate when he was of the around 12-13 years and hailed from a good family background. Why have the children become so impatient and react so negatively?
The stress among the children is cause of concern for all but ,how to tackle it is very important. The steps taken to reduce should not prove to be counterproductive. Reducing syllabus and changing the pattern of evaluation may not have much effect.Reducing quality and not letting the children face any hardship will also not help them rather will make them weak. Having no examination is also no solution because we face trials and tribulations every day and every moment in our lives.The children cannot achieve without working hard themselves.Rightly said by somebody that the steps should be taken to make teaching - learning a joyful exercise for the children than focusing on evaluation only. Scientific advisor to the prime minister rightly mentioned that the country seems to have only the examination system and no education system. Evaluation and  assessment is an integral part of education.Education prepares everybody to face the challenges of the life.Examinations are not the only reason for the children to do something extreme because there are many other factors also responsible for that.
Those factors should also be identified and corrective measures should be taken at the earliest.Once when Swami Vivekanand Ji went to his Paramhans Ji and asked how could he see and meet God. His Guru took him to sea shore and made him to go into deep water and left. Vivekand Ji had to fight himself for his life.The guru told him that when you reach to that extreme desire of achieving something you will get that yourself and not by the help of the parents or Guru. They can suggest you the path rest is to be taken care of ,by you! In today`s world the children are much aware of their rights ,courtesy media and NGOs and the information given by the schools and the parents. But one thing that is seriously wrong is that in this process nobody is talking about their duties towards the elders and themselves. The habit of the parents to arrange for everything before the child completes his/her request.Providing help for any small thing is making children more dependent on the parents and teachers. And if it happens for long time then they become habitual of eating from a silver platter. Elders should be very careful to understand the difference between  guidance and help.
Let the children be allowed to find solution of any problem they face and the elders should intervene only when they are really required. This will teach the children lessons of self dependence. This will also make them learn how to take failure in life because success and failure are the two sides of the coin. If this is done the stress and the tension will automatically be taken care of.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Safety of the children

The newspaper reports regarding child abuse in different forms are disturbing to everybody specially the parents and teachers. One or the other case or the problems faced by the children,  who suffer in silence, are reported almost every day. This number should be of the cases reported by the parents and  they would have lodged an FIR. A number of cases go unreported even if the parents knew about the incident. In many cases even the parents would not be aware of any abuse because most of the children do not share everything with the parents.Some organisations have attempted to carry out survey regrading child abuse in the country and the results are shocking. The psychiatrist and educationist have been suggesting the methods of preventing this menace but the result is not encouraging.
Child abuse can be of different nature due to which a child is psychologically disturbed. It has been observed that some children who have been very active in the school as well as at home, become quiet all of a sudden.There may be different reasons for that but the teachers and the parents should not ignore it and any significant change in the behavior of the child should be looked into seriously . This may be due to some health problem or some other problem in the school related to studies, the child ignored by the teacher or the friends and the classmates.But also this can be the problem due to some kind of intimidation by somebody. The reports of the molestation of the children in any form are major causes for the abnormal behavior. To write explicitly might disturb many of the readers ,but  molestation refers to almost all the kinds of inhuman behaviour meted out on children.
 Earlier in the joint family system the children used to be in the company of many people all through the time and it was rare that they were left alone because of which chances of any mishaps were minimum. Nowadays most of the families are nuclear and most parents working, the children are alone or in the company of one or two persons and many a times they are the caretakers appointed for the children. The news regarding maid servant of a family where she was supposed to look after the child and feed him with milk and other food, it was found that she used to eat  most of the things and the child was left hungry.This could be known because the parents of the child could notice some change in child`s health and behavior and they decided to check it with the help of CCTV in kitchen. Yet another example of an innocent infant been given to roadside beggars in rags, by the maid servant,to earn an extra Rs 100 per day,also is heart rendering .The child abuse cases which have been reported force us  to think and we must act so that the children are not subjected to any humiliation which might have a life long impact on him.
 Child abuse can be of different forms.The parents and teachers must communicate with their children and make them aware of the things which they should resist and report to them . Though it is unfortunate but true that in most of the cases of the child abuse, near relatives or some one well known to the child are involved. It is not to accuse every known person of that nature but there may be some people with perturbed mentality that makes to indulge in such things.
 Now the question arises,what should the parents do? The most important preventive method would be to ensure that the children are not left alone until they are very sure of the nature of the person they are leaving him to be with the children. The communication with the children is very important and in some cases where the child is so small to understand anything he/she should not be left alone with the servants and caretakers.The tuition culture in which children either go to some tutors house or the tutor comes to child`s home may also cause some problem .It is suggested that the antecedents of the person engaged should be verified and no unknown person should be engaged in this task. The seating place should be such that it should not be absolutely isolated. The children should be made aware that they do not accept anything like chocolate etc from any unknown person specially in the absence of the parents.
The most important thing is frequent and effective communication with the children. They should be guided and counselled regarding the problems and possible abuses in such a manner that they do not get frightened but become confident to face such situations. Communication with school and the teachers is another way of checking such things. The neighbourhood and the society can also play an important role in curbing this menace which is affecting the young and the innocent alike.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Importance of media

The recent happenings in middle east which gave fresh hopes to the people to voice their views could be possible largely due to the role played by media.The support which the movement of Sh.Anna Ji got was again possible on account of the media. In today`s world the newspapers, magazines and TV news channels have become an integral part of everybody`s life. TV and newspapers have contributed immensely in bringing the people of the world close to each other. Then why the media is criticised by many people?
There must be some genuine reasons for that ,but to blame media for everything happening wrong is not the right approach.It has been observed that many of those people who criticise media do not miss any opportunity to gain mileage by the same media.Lot many things are spoken about some wrong being done in rare cases, but who promotes that . A few months back a particular newspaper reporter declined so called gift offer by a government department on the occasion of some celebrations. For this offer, should the media be blamed or the individuals or the group or the organisation responsible for influencing the media? There have been cases which might not have become  public when people try to use their influence of barring  a news which might be against them. Why should it be done? There may be problems with some people in media but media as a whole and the role played by it should not be undermined.
Some people argue that media reports and  projects what the public want. But if you try to analyse the contents of newspapers and the TV channels, then it would be found that there is so much good available for every reader or viewer. This argument that you'll get  what you desire ,seems to have some logic. Because if in a newspaper there is some obscene picture, then do not pay attention to it because there is so much positive in the same newspaper on other pages. Every body is mature enough to choose from available things what they want.
Our newspapers and TV channels might have  some influence of the foreign media but think about national channels of Doordarshan and ask a question to those who criticise the other channels and say good about Doordarshan but rarely switch doordarshan channel on. The kind of programmes telecast on doordarshan including National,DD Bharti, DD urdu, DD news,DD Sports and many more are worth seeing by a family together but unfortunately the people who have access to other channels rarely watch DD.
 The media is like the energy of the youth.If used in the proper direction can be a blessing and if not ,can be dangerous also and all this depends upon the mind set of the people.
The media has played a very significant role in bringing out the scandals which otherwise people of the country would not have come to know. The question usually asked is why should media play the role of investigating agency ? True, but when enforcement agencies fail to act then media has to resort to such methods. All the scams in the recent past could come in the public domain ,courtesy media only. The people in power did admit the wrong done by them or others. If today they admit and promise to take action against the guilty ,media has played its role so effectively. There are many news reports in the interest of the public that the civil courts also take notice of the same.
There has been some damage done to the credibility of media due to the Radia tape episode in connection to 2G spectrum and other issues and it was shocking to many people, but nobody knows what were the circumstances in which that happened  except those who are suspected. But here also the question why those who are in power let the journalists get involved in those things which are not the part of their duty as journalist. If the public perception is correct who allowed them to act as agents and informers of some powerful people. Certainly it can not happen without selfish motive of those who are involved in that.
The media should also introspect if there is scope of doing things in a better way. Media should earnestly endeavour to regain the same respected image in the eyes of the public which they had and rightfully deserve. Many newspapers and the TV channels have announced  that if there is something wrong published or printed the public can register their views and action will be taken to rectify it.Hence,this becomes a universal truth that media is a very powerful tool for the people of the country and everyone should use it to the optimum for the good of the country and not to fulfill selfish motives.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Can moral values be taught ?

Newspapers and the magazines cover many stories related to moral degradation in the society. This is suggested that if the values are to be inculcated then this  should be done right from the childhood. The family and the school, play a very important role in this.A number of books have been written on this topic . The series of moral science books are in abundance in the market. The schools think of doing great by introducing such books to the children and consider it as they have done their duty.Many people argue that morals can not be taught through the text or by lectures but by actions and examples.Very rightly mentioned by somebody in a talk show on TV that the elders specially the parents and teachers ask the children not to fight but they fight among themselves, at times in the presence of the kids and also grown up children. If a child is rude to somebody due to some reason the elders advise him not to be so but many times they themselves are rude to the children while advising them not to be so.The children have confined in their teachers the kind of discussion the parents have at home. It has been observed that sometimes even the teachers discuss with their colleagues certain things against some body while standing near the door of the classroom or in the staffroom without realising that the students are watching and listening to them.Once a student told her teacher the kind of language used by her mother for her sister- in -law and mother- in -law.Now this child is confused between the lecture given and the action taken by the parents. One child had openly said that there is nothing wrong in speaking certain words which the teacher said are not to be used because the helper or the driver at home used that language so often. Not only that ,even the parents some times forget that the children are observing them very closely. This is certain that the parents and teachers do not do it intentionally but the child is unable to understand their state of mind.
Most of the people argue that books can not teach morals. They may act as the catalyst but the initial reaction will come from day to day experience of the children. If the teachers and parents tell their children that honesty is the best policy then this should not be for the sake of saying but they should have faith in this saying because until an individual has belief, he/she can not convince the others . There is no need of being diplomatic in front of the children. Be straight forward  and they will understand things better.One Example will make this more clear. A student who used to stay in the hostel of a school was very much impressed by his house master who was responsible for the well being of the students under his charge.The housemaster used to discuss the stories of great men and women who were honest to the core of their heart and more importantly the HM himself was following the same and had complete faith in the saying and the examples he quoted. Till the time child was 12-13 years of age he took the things the way he was told. But after his class X exam when he stayed with the parents for long time , he closely noticed a few manipulations  done by manager of his father`s business . He asked his father the reason for the same. The father very casually said that if you have to progress in business such things are to be done and this is the part of the system.The child argued with the father but could not be satisfied by the answer given and as generally happens he was asked to concentrate on studies and  not to think about such things now. When the child came back to school he asked his house master , when business can not flourish without indulging in some unfair means then why the teacher was teaching him the lessons of honesty. The child narrated the whole story to the teacher. The teacher was shocked and for some time was unable to answer the child.Though he tried to convince him that he can do well without doing anything against the established norms also but the child did not agree.Ultimately the teacher had to tell him that even if he had to do something against the norms he would at least realise that doing this is wrong. The teacher said that he would have achieved his goal if the child would realise his mistake though he may be forced by the system to do certain things which he did not like.The teacher is still struggling to find a convincing answer to the question of his  student. And today when he is a grown up person ,he might be feeling that his teacher was not right because there are so many cases of corruption coming to surface.
So ,the conclusion is that ,if the values are to be inculcated then the elders and the society as a whole will have to follow the right path which may be difficult but the goal achieved will be pious.The books and lectures alone will not do any good because morals are not taught but are imbibed by the children from the elders.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Salute to all the citizens of the nation

Last few days have seen something which not many people had even thought in their dreams.One man , who has devoted his entire life for the cause of the people, could make the whole nation awake. The dark days of the last few months which witnessed so much revelation of corruption by the people who were directly or indirectly elected by the people of the country. The disclosures of different episodes of corruption had pushed the general public to a situation where they stopped having any faith in the system. Every body was in a state of shock and depression with little hope of improvement. The word  corruption  had become synonymous to cat. The children had started learning 'C' for corruption instead of the traditional 'C' for cat.Many people thought that no one is capable of bringing this country out of the grim state of affairs.  The progress made by the country and discussion about that was over shadowed by the menace of corruption. The high courts and also the supreme court expressed their concern in uncertain words, direction and the judgement.But unfortunately no serious efforts were made to curb or solve this problem of corruption which is consuming this country.The number of scandals which came out in the public in the last two to three years have made the earlier cases of corruption too small.
 But this great soul known to every one in the country and outside as Anna has given a ray of hope to those who have been suffering in silence. We thought that the youth of the country was more for self and the country was in their priority list. But it was a pleasant surprise to each one that the youth of the country is very much concerned for the cause of their nation.When respected Anna Hazare Ji sent letters to the prime minister and other cabinet ministers requesting for transparent draft committee panel for Lokpal bill, which no government earlier has taken in earnest .As reported in the newspapers the government even did not respond to these letters and of course action was not taken. This was three months back and after waiting for this, Anna Ji thought of doing what our father of nation taught and practiced. Initially once again, government did not take action and that made all the difference.This made the people of the country realise that they have to stand for Anna Ji and other people who are doing every thing possible for the public.
The old and young , boys and girls, men and women all joined him in their own way.It must have given a lot of relief and satisfaction to all those souls who may not be with us today but has given everything for the sake of the country. The people joined this movement on their own without any body being their leader. Every one behaved in a manner as they all were leaders fighting for a noble cause. During those four- five days there was no inconvenience caused to general public in any way . No damage was caused to the public or the private property as used to happen in this country in the name of protest. This was one of the most peaceful protest against the system without any harsh feelings towards any body.The most important outcome is the fulfilment of the demand of the civil society but more significant was the attitude of the youth of the country.It has been proved that youth is the storehouse of tremendous amount of energy and if some body shows them the right path they can do miracles.It was discussed quite often that today`s youth does not have many ideals for them. To whom they should look up to? They found one in Sh. Anna Ji and they showed their desire and commitment for their country.
Another important lesson learnt from this is that when it is not the cause for the benefit of an individual, group of people , caste or religion the people will come together and ensure that they are heard.When it is the common cause then the people stand together. The citizens of the country should understand that if the political leaders necessarily do not get some thing done for the common people, it can be done by them on their own.The political parties should also realise that only speaking and popular measures will not be enough but the real welfare and schemes implemented in the right spirit will make some difference. Rightly said by Anna Ji that those who are elected by the votes of the public are the servants and not the masters.
The people sincerely hope that there will not be more Rajas in the future once the Lokpal bill is drafted sincerely and then passed by the parliament in the right spirit.They hope that our prime minister will also exert to the best of his ability and  act in such an effective manner so that his image of Mr. Clean is restored . The people have not yet forgotten his pat on the back of a minister who was forced to quit ministry  after one of  the biggest scandal was out in the in the public.The knowledgable members of parliament can also learn many lessons from this, it is not always necessary to shout or walkout from the parliament on even any issues.
The role of the media has also been very positive and it appeared that they were not doing it for the sake of TRP but genuinely felt for the cause.So this is another important outcome that media of our country do play very important role for the right cause. They also need someone who is not doing anything for self but for the country.

Comparing Anna Ji with father of the nation may not be appropriate but as rightly said by a young girl that for them he is Gandhi Ji because they had not seen him and only read about him. They saw Anna Ji replicating the action of the father of the nation.
The nation is proud of the youth of the country and this incident has proved many people wrong particularly those who used to think that the youth was becoming self centred .If guided and lead well by elders they can do wonders.
May God bless the citizens of this great country.
Jai Bharat

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Census 2011-Surprising and shocking revelation

Census 2011 data have been released recently and the country should be proud of the progress made in certain areas in the last ten years. The detailed report is yet to be released but whatever could be available through the media report, there are many interesting facts released. One of the most important achievement is that population growth chart has gone down. The percentage population  growth has  decreased from 23.8 to 21.5 which is a positive sign. If the government takes it more seriously the population growth can be controlled in a more effective manner. The literacy rate  has also gone up in both the cases i.e. male as well as female.
But one surprising element in the census is regarding the sex ratio variation. The best ratio has been reported from Kerela and the worst is in case of Haryana as far as far as the states are concerned. The literacy percentage is also the highest in Kerela and the lowest has been reported from Bihar.So it appears from this that  if literacy rate is good the sex ratio is also favourable and the saying that if you provide education the standard of living and approach of the people  towards certain issues will change for positive. But the shocking revelations come from one of the most prosperous  state of the country and that is Haryana. The Mewat region in Haryana is considered to be a backward region reported with the lowest literacy rate. Mewat`s sex ratio is reported to be having 906 female for every 1000 males while the state average is 877 females for every 1000 males. But this region has the lowest literacy rate of 56.14 compared to the state literacy rate of 76.04. Gurgaon  has been reported to be most literate at 84.44% but the sex ratio is 861 females for every 1000 males.Does it not make us worried about the fact that barring Kerela, in most of the states and the districts, literacy rate improvement has adversely affected the sex ratio. If seen at national level,  the sex ratio is better in rural areas than urban areas. If we try to analyse the same on tehsil and block level, there also the sex ratio is better in case of 'less literacy rate region' than the area where the literacy rate is better. So it makes the things little complicated.The  question is , that is the drive for literacy making desired improvement or it is otherwise.Few years back somebody tried to understand the impact of literacy rate on the sex ratio in the district of Jodhpur and the information available that time was almost disturbing. The blocks and tehsil where the literacy was more the sex ratio was adverse.Khazan Singh Sangwan the dean of social science in MDS university says"Sex ratio and the prosperity coupled with urbanisation and literacy are adversely related with each other. Sex ratio is found to be better among backward classes and poor section of the society. Mewat region is backward on almost  all counts but the sex ratio is the best in the state.So should we make the people literate and be happy with that or provide the education and that will enhance the quality of life. In education it should just not be the education but quality education which should change the thought process of the citizens for their good.
 The policy makers should pay attention to the information available through the census and take necessary steps. The example of Kerela should be studied that why is it an exception to something when compared with all the states.The conclusion seems to be that eduction given is not making the desired impact on the people. The social problems which have been existing in the country for centuries could have been solved up to considerable extent if the education provided had positive influence on the people. Prosperity in terms of material gains is all right but if the social evils can not be tackled or eradicated , it leaves a gap in all areas.That is why it is said that education policy should be such which improves the life of all citizens irrespective of the caste, religion or gender.The literacy rate of the female is still low in comparison to male literacy rate.
When it comes female foeticide again the data shows that it is in less literate and poor set-ups than in the affluent families. This may be due to the reason that affluent families have more access to means and methods used in that.The situation will not improve until the objective of the education and more importantly  the quality of the education is improved. Social awareness should be well fabricated in the system of education and even in the drive of making more people literate. Making them able to sign and read a few things will not change the scenario. As mentioned above, the example of Kerela should be studied and the prevailing social policies of this state, if possible should be implemented in other states also. This survey should not be allowed to be just an academic record for the sake of information and for questions to be asked in competitive examinations, rather it should become an ideal example to change the mindset of the people for a promising future.