Thursday, March 09, 2006

At what price, education ?

Oh, how cruel can we get?
March has just started, the exams have begun, and so has the rash of suicides in India. This is most the repulsive part of the education system, if you dont include the weight of the bags, that children carry to school everyday. It is a shame, i just read today that the campus interview in IIM-A has yielded the highest ever compensation package offered to a student there. It is rumoured to be 185,000 $$. Yes that is 185 thousand US dollars, equivalent to Rs. 81.4 Lakhs, or thereabouts. Is that a good price to pay for these dead children ?

The fever surrounding exams have been around, for what seems to be a century. I am exaggerating things here, but in this day and age, we dont need a decade to change things. I can remember the days, when i had to go through this torture. I was a mediocre student in school, atleast as far as my marks would tell. I simply didn't see the need to excel in the ability to vomit every bit of notes, my teacher managed to lecture to me. I am not for a moment saying, i didn't learn anything from my school. On the contrary, i did learn a lot, but that didn't mean, i did well in reproducing these lines in 2 hour session, on a different sized paper, in a more tensed environment.

No this is not about me. But to quickly complete what i was trying to say, i managed to live and also succeed inspite of pathetic, i repeat pathetic marks in both the CBSE board exams. After the Xth, i said to my dad, who was quite saddened by it, that i will not be taking up engineering. He quietly let me do what i want. I thank my parents today and everyday. Because, if he had created a tantrum, i could easily have chosen a more disastrous option. And then when i performed poorly in the XIIth, i was prepared for a life as a salesguy, but luck came in the form of NIIT and their computer courses.

There are options far greater than what i had growing up. If it werent for computers and information technology opening up jobs in India, things would have been different. But now, a job is not a matter at all. I am, making things look easy. But people do seem, to manage to    get a job. The question is what next, where do i specialize, where do i grow, how do i grow, what etc., after a job has been acquired. Given this fact, the pressure on the Xth and XIIth exams is simply ridiculous. Why just these two, any exams for that matter ?

There is a part of me that says, 'there must be something right with our education system', because we seem to be going places in the world. But i think all that has more to do with circumstances, than just the benefits of education system and exams.

If you know a student taking these exams, please spend sometime, trying to ease the pressure. Explain to them the different options available in the world and India today. Help them see, the bigger picture, and also why this exam is an important step, but not necessarily the be-all end-all step of their life.

The Hindu - Class XII girl commits suicide
Times of India - Another exam suicide. It's time to help

Tags: india, exam, fever, suicide

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