Parents Speak

I am more worried than my children are, when it is examination time. The elder one particularly is very stressed out because she finds some of the maths problems difficult and I think she does not pay attention. Besides this, she had a very strict teacher in the lower classes who used to shout and so she got scared. Now that I have changed her school, I think she will do well in her exams.
Since I have studied up to 12th Class, I am able to help her. But only to some extent because it has changed a lot since then and anyway I have my housework. I am sending them both for tuition near my house, for maths and English. I want them to learn very good English – that’s the way they can really progress. I think learning good English is as important as doing well in the exams.
I don’t think the teachers are too strict – if they don’t do too well in a test or exam, there is no punishment in the present school. Personally I think they should insist on hard work, the children do not listen to anyone at home; the teacher is the most important person. The school comments on their behaviour and also checks their classwork and homework. I think they should be stricter. They have quarterly, half yearly and final exams as well as tests. My younger daughter’s class (4) has more oral tests. She is very good at speaking, very confident so she is doing very well. She also has exams, but she is not in the least afraid of them. One thing I notice is that they are always busy with something to do with the school and we are buying things almost everyday.
I want them both to go to college and work – so I am ready to send them to any extra classes later on. They have to do well, study hard and pass examinations. I worked hard at school in my village and passed 12th class. Teachers must insist on studying hard – or what is the use? On the other hand, they should not scare the children. This school sends for me when they want to tell me something about my children. On the whole, I am satisfied with the system.

Selvi Rajendran

Selvi Rajendran is very active in women’s groups and takes an active interest in her children’s education and development.
Assessment has become an integral part of the present school system right from Pre-KG. As a mother of 3-year old twins, who have had to undergo assessment from the very first month of joining school, I am unwillingly forced to pressurise my kids in an endeavour to prove their mettle. Comparisons and constant suggestions from teachers for improvement drive parents towards putting pressure on their kids even when they do not intend to do so. I have friends who sent their kids to extra classes after school to hone their skills in storytelling, drawing etc., which I felt was completely unwarranted at such a young age. We actually end up curbing their curiosity and innocence because of this undue stress and burden.
In school, children are expected to talk in English at an age where they do not even know their mother tongue very well! Children who do a lot of mischief or those who are hyperactive are sidelined, maybe due to the inability of teachers to hold their attention. They just end up being judged as trouble-makers and poor performers in school! While my daughter loves to draw and colour, my son’s interests are slightly different. He loves outdoor activities. However, the school expects a certain level of performance (according to me, quite high!) in both these areas, apart from many other as well. The focus and attention is always on the skills in which the child is not excelling, either due to lack of interest or various other reasons. Instead of focussing on what each of my children likes doing, extra attention is given on developing their skills in what they are quite not interested in, slowly resulting in an aversion to schooling itself. While I think there definitely has been a lot of improvement since the time I myself went through school and teachers are a much more sensitive and aware of children’s developmental needs nowa- days, there definitely is a long way to go before teaching and evaluation systems in schools actually become as progressive as some of the latest theories in education and schooling recommend.

Nityaa Gurumoorthy

Nityaa Gurumoorthy is a home-maker and mother of 3-year old twins, Gurupriya and Kumaraguru, who are studying Pre-KG in a reputed school in Chennai.
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