Showing posts with label education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label education. Show all posts

Back to school.


Yesterday was Parent Teacher Interaction day at my kid's school. Parents meet the teacher once every three months to know about the progress of their kids. That is four times a year.

In my time and all, I got to meet my English teacher that many times only in my full school life.

I know. I know. My less than perfect education still shows up.

It was my turn to go with the kid. My wife had gone the previous six times. Gender equality is a loose concept in India. Like Safe Delhi, Aadhar.

I got up at 8:30, shaved and went to school at 9.00 AM. The idea was to start early, get in first, get out fast and finish it in a flash. A technique that works well in many places but for... well you know where.

The receptionist handed me a token.
"How many kids are there in the class?" I asked as I saw the token number.
"Twenty five." She said and smiled.
I was the last. I cursed and joined the crowd - the crowd of people who wanted to beat the crowd.

Ten minutes later, I was sweating profusely. It was nothing serious. I was just having a major panic attack. I am scared of school. Shit scared. Every other night, even now, I have a nightmare where my school forms the setting. Following two are the scariest, hence best, nightmares of mine.

In the first dream, the teacher asks a tough trigonometry problem.
Nobody in the class knows but for me. I go up to the board to solve it.
Standing in front of the board, I look down and see that I am not wearing my pants. Or my underwear.
So it goes.

In the second dream, I am sitting in an exam hall, confident and well prepared.
The question papers are distributed. I open the question paper and turn pale.
It is a Science question paper. And I am prepared for History.
So it goes.

I curl my fingers hard and suppress the urge to run away from that place.
I hate school.
The other places I hate are - college, office, house, road... so it goes.

I get up and go to the toilet.
The toilet: looks clean. smells good. but appears tiny.
The urinals, water faucets, toilet bowls, mirrors, everything has been fitted for kindergarten kids.
Suddenly the school seems less scary.
'I can do this.' I tell myself. I begin to feel relaxed.

Outside, it is the turn of the parent sitting before me to meet the teacher.
I could hear them talking from where I am sitting.
The kid inside is Einstein. Or so his father thinks. He is asking whether he should put the kid in Abacus.
"How about Vedic Mathematics?" The father asks next.
Then he wants to know when should a kid be introduced to computers.

Thirty minutes later I go inside.
The teacher hands me a report card. It is red in colour, as big as a weekly magazine and is folded into two sheets. I open the report card and see a table. My kid has been assessed and graded in twenty different parameters.
I study the report card closely.
The card is blue in colour inside. Small pictures of a butterfly, a balloon and two kids ( a boy and a girl) make up the three corners of the report card. There is a picture of a building in the fourth corner. It is a school. I know it because,it says so. Above the entrance of the building, it is written 'SCHOOL'. In block letters. No name. Nothing. Just

'SCHOOL'.
"Nice. Nice. Very Nice." I tell myself.

"Do you have any questions?" The teacher asks.
"Yes." I say. "Where is the toilet that you use?"

Who cares about Oceanic climate?

Last weekend I went to airport to drop a relative of mine, a software engineer. He was going to U.S for the first time. A short trip,really. Just for a week to seattle. I was really hoping that I get stuck in a traffic jam on my way return. It would have saved me a trip back to airport to pick him up on his retun. That's the problem with traffic jam. It always happens when you don't want one. Have you ever seen anybody saying, "Wow! A traffic jam! Exactly what I wanted now!"



It's kinda cool for a summer,my relative had mentioned in his email from seattle. Of course, the summer is cool in seattle. Seattle has oceanic climate - warm winters and cool summers. anyone who has studied till seventh standard and listened to his Geography teacher will know that. That and the fact Norway has something that should be written as fjord but pronounced as f-y-ord. In fact, every geography question paper from seventh standard to I.A.S will have a two mark question like below

Explain oceanic climate with an example. (2 marks)

I have never understood why the seattle people don't reverse their calender - Just call summer as winter and winter as summer. It would have saved everybody the trouble. But the reason they didn't change - and now I know this because I have become wise to world's ways- is that then geography question papers will be only for ninety eight marks. And that can't do. A question paper has got to be for hundred marks.

Another city which is famous for its weather is Bangalore. But I never understood what all the fuss is about Bangalore's weather. Partially cloudy skies and fully jammed roads - all through the year. That is Bangalore's weather for you.

Saw an advertisement for a new apartment project. The cost is sixty lacs. The apartment is kinda small but it moves with you. The builder is Jaguar. But if you want a loan for it then you have to apply under car loan and not housing loan.

My relative in seattle has sent another email. He seems kinda depressed with all the oceanic climate in seattle.

It is cloudy here and it drizzles. Then the sky becomes clear and it drizzles again. Did you know that in U.S seattle has the highest suicide rate? But I still like it here. Probably because, I come from the land of dead.

Right now he is in this U.S-rocks-India-sucks mood. It's a cancer all software engineers suffer. I hope he recovers from it. Or he succumbs to it and becomes an NRI. It will save me a trip back to airport.

On our education system

It is June, July again - that time of the year when we, parents, wake up to the fact that there is something called education system and it has deteriorated from where it was when we were concerned about it the last time which was precisely a year back. It is a recent phenomenon. For the past five years are so, every June the parents go, "Oh no! We are just back from our vacation and the education system is already waiting for us to worry about. Lets get back to work and start getting concerned."

But this time we are really concerned. We are positively convinced that the education system has gone to the dogs and are really worried that the dogs are thinking of passing it back to teachers. "Please, pass it on to your cousin wolves who hunt in packs if you must, but not to the teachers!" is the general opinion among us.


But I am not with my fellow parents on this one. I think we owe a lot to our education system. So allow me to offer my defense for the education system.

Five hundred years ago no one, not even the wisest one, knew about Newton's laws. But it is due to our education system that nowadays even a high school student can tell all the three Newton's laws which are

1)There are three Newton's laws
2)All laws were discovered when just one apple fell to the earth.
3)If I slap you, you will slap me back. (The real Newton's law had words like action and reaction. But the education board decided to choose the English translation over the Latin original)

If that doesn't impress you maybe you should help your child do his collage on tubers. Then you will know how advanced the education system is. Did you know that even though yams and potatoes are available in the same aisle of the super market and are often found adjacent to each other, they are as different as they can be. Yam is a root tuber and potato is , hold your breath now, a stem tuber! Yeah, it is a completely different animal ! The difference is so vast that it merits a complete chapter in school books and of course, a collage. I hope parents won't mind that a chart paper of these vegetables is costlier than a kilogram of these tubers especially since it has made them knowledgeable about the huge difference between yams and potatoes.

But to me, the ease with which the education system has included the instruction of a radically new and dynamic field like Computer Science into their fold offers the ultimate proof of its quality. Look at couple of questions from the recent computer science question paper of class twelve.

1)Draw the diagram and label the parts of Pentium processor
2)Explain the ten different types of social networks and give examples for each one of them

Hello, highly concerned parents! Don't the questions look similar to the ones you saw two decades back in Science and Geography papers?

This eternal immutability of our education system is the one that convinces me that five hundred years from now FaceBook - a phenomenon that puzzles the wisest of us today will be clearly understood in bullet points just like the way we all have understood Newton's laws today. Indeed it is a very comforting thought.

As a parting note, maybe we should be more concerned about the falling standards of our concerns. We used to worry about how the Indian team was a one man army and about the real estate prices. Now we are worrying about the education system! Something must be really done to improve the standards of our concerns. We need some good issues to worry about. Raja and Ramdev are trying their bit, but it's not working. Is Rakhi savant listening?

From Funny Side Of Life

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