Saturday, May 17, 2014

Faulty Education System in India

Around 15 days ago, everything changed for my family. This is because my brother said that "he doesn't feel like living anymore."

My younger brother is 17 years old; a bright cheerful guy who changed into someone I couldn't recognize, in the last 1 month. And for me, I just have the education system to blame. My brother is an average student academically, but that does not mean that he isn't bright. As a child he would dismantle his toys and try to understand its working. Make home projects like a windmill, Iron Man's arc reactor etc using any spare electric parts he would find. That, I think is rather impressive and not something any Tom, Dick or Harry could do by himself. He used to constantly watch "How-To" videos, eager to know how things work, inventions etc.

He scored a average percentage in his SSC (10th) Boards examination. But he was certain he did not want to opt for Arts or Commerce, Science was his only passion. As you all must be knowing, it is very difficult for a average percentage holder to get admission in decent science college (Unless you are a backward class or have a super rich dad who can pay for the management quota, none of which applied for my brother, unfortunately.) The online application system for colleges made it all the more confusing, frustrating.. With 3 lists, etc etc. He got a seat in science at a rather new college in the Vicinity called FRIENDS High School. But that was better than nothing, so he joined this college.

Now apparently everyone joins classes in 11th and 12th for science, my brother did not join for 11th. College professors take it for granted that the classes will teach everything, and hence they do not take the pains to go out of the way and teach the concept to the children. That, I feel is the first flaw. What about the children who do not attend classes or private tutions? What is the point of going to the college if there isn't going to be proper education?

The results of his unit tests and other exams made us realize that he needed assistance, and we got a private tutor on board for the last 2-3 months for the subjects where my brother was the weakest. Now mind you, private tution fees for science is so high, I got a shock of my life. I mean, these tutors earn in Lakhs! That's probably more than a engineer would get. This private tutor saw his capability and previous marks and stated that with my help, he will be able to score a little better, but do not expect a miracle. Is this how it works? You take the money also and tell us that your child doesn't have the capability. Why are you here then? Another flaw, according to me. Because, not everyone can become a good teacher is what I believe.

Anyways, my brother any how appeared for the examinations and passed with a 50% result. He said he had given his best and was not able to understand a lot of basic concepts which resulted to this. We decided that now for 12th we would get him admitted into a reputed class like Mahesh Tutorials or Nayak Tutorials, so that he could do better in this board examination. Fees were paid, and as you know, these classes work very professionally and start teaching from the summer vacations itself, without wasting any further time.

Now for some reason, the classes always try to cover up most of the portion in this vacation slot. So, my brother was in his classes day and night for hours. Getting time just to eat and sleep. Everyone knew its not going to be easy, and its a matter of one year. We told him, work hard this year so that next year you could get into a good college. Coming to the next flaw- So what my brother soon realized is, that he was lacking behind in many basic concepts. This is because, these classes, in 11th, once they have completed the portion for that year, start teaching bits and parts for 12th. And once they start the classes for 12th, they assume that these basic concepts are already understood and go ahead to a deeper level.

My brother had not opted for classes in 11th. But is that his fault? Since he was not there for those lectures, he simply could not understand whats happening in class. And when all the other students nodded their head and seemed to find it easy, he got damn scared! I would have been scared had I been in his place. "Am I stupid? Is something wrong with me? Why is it that I can't understand this while everyone else seems to?"With this his panic, anxiety, phobia whatever you want to call it, started. He would tell us the issue, and we would tell him to go talk to the teachers and tell them to explain whatever he missed. But that is easier said than done.

In a matter of days he became withdrawn, upset, lost his self confidence. Did not want to go out, did not want to do anything. Depression took over and we found him crying out for help. All of us tried our best to counsel him, support him, make him understand. But his anxiety completely overtook his mind and he lost hope in himself. Here, I must add that my mother has also been a victim of depression and has been on pills. So the thought also came in our mind, what if that is what is happening to him.

My parents took him to a "doctor". I was shocked and outraged to know this because I thought this was just a adolescent phase that would go with time. But when I questioned, they told me that he had started using words like "I don't want to live anymore" or "I feel lonely" and they were so worried about him they were not left with another option. This doctor gave him pills for a month. He had already lost 5 Kgs and become insomniac in this last 1 month. I am not even sure if this is the right way, but we are all more or less helpless.

There has never been any kind of pressure on him, that he has to become a doctor or engineer. My parents are very supportive. We told him you can take a year off if you want, change your stream or its okay if you want to drop out completely. Maybe studies is not for everyone, and history has great examples for the same.

At present he has transferred to Commerce and is finding that easier to understand. He has joined a private tution where he says the teacher is very understanding and kind. Also, he did mention that in the classes they taught from the aspect of engineering or medical entrance exams. I really feel the whole education system is faulty. It is not necessary that every student opting for science wants to become a doctor or engineer. And it is not a student's fault that when he joins classes is 12th he is lacking behind just because he was not there in that class for 11th, if you are taking such high fees, it is your lookout to make sure the student is taken care of! And you should see the amount of pressure they build on the poor kids just because they want a good overall result. Piling up books, notes and what not. I am sure it would have scared the sh*t out of me too.

I blame the education system for changing who my brother is. And swear to God, if anything happens to him, I am going to do everything I can to expose these businessmen, as they rightly should be called, instead of TEACHERS.

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