Our Broken Secondary School System

Every year the 12th standard board examination creates a mix of social scenes in India after the results are released. Some students go as far as to commit suicide as they failed to attain high enough marks, some simply feel as if life as they know it is over as they are unlikely to fulfill their own or their parents’ expectations, some move on and began the preparation process once again with the hope of scoring better the following year, a certain percentage of students give up and never go to college, and the rest move on to college and continue their studies.

Of those who begin attending college, students with very high marks join the college and degree program that is first on their list of choices, and others accept an admission offer for a program that has space but is far from their ideal choice. Other students who have their mind set on a specific major (degree) choose to attend a private university and their parents are forced to pay a large sum in the form of a one-time donation and a hefty annual fee.

Students study extremely hard in the 10th through 12th grades in India. Most of them go to a school in the morning and attend private lessons in the afternoon. This sounds like a double dose of education, one dose at “school” and another after classes end, but the reality is much different from this.

The vast majority of children go to private lessons simply to learn a subject, as opposed to further cementing what is being taught in school. Why? In India, teachers in almost all public (government) and many private schools seldom teach. This is a fact, and there is no question about it.

If the traditional schools do not teach, why do students go to school at all? They have to attend a government recognized public or private high school so they can take the board exam. Learning alone through private lessons does not permit a student to take the board exam.

What is repugnant is that the same teachers who do not teach during the day at school work as tutors at private institutes during the afternoon, evening, or weekend and earn extra money. In fact, some of them own the institutes and reap a huge profit. They are a mockery of the education system.

Dolefully, the children of parents who financially cannot afford tutoring do not perform well in 10th through 12th standards or on their board examinations, and as such, many of these children do not have the opportunity to attend college.

Why are some students “forced” to commit suicide? Why do some students have to drop out? Why aren’t teachers teaching in our schools? Who is monitoring the private lessons our children attend? How can public, as well as private, schools compete with private tutoring lessons?

Candidly, our thoughtless and clueless political leaders have no answers. Our teachers have become self-centered profiteers, very different from the caring and selfless gurus of India’s past. In turn, no wonder our poorly educated children are having a hard time moving our laggardly nation forward.

More By  :  Vasant G. Gandhi

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