Adyar Gopal Parivar
Education Page 1
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                          Indian government has passed the Right to Education Act which guarantees education to children between 6 and 14
years.
                       There is a crisis growing in the lives of parents and children because of small families with only one or two children. In
the ancient times there was no birth control methods available to limit the number of children a couple can have.  Also there was joint
family system.  A man could depend upon his sons to provide him food, shelter and comfort. He could spend his old age in the
company of his children and grand-children. This provided him respect and honour.
In the past the only birth control method available to the couples to limit the number of children was abstinence.  Many couples in fact
practiced abstinence after 6 to 10 deliveries to not have any more children, but this was usually rare.  
When there appeared birth control methods after the 2nd WW, then began the period of smaller families.  In the years from around
1960 to 1980, tubectomy for women and vasectomy for men has been used to stop pregnancy.  Birth Control pills became the most
widely practiced method after this and now it is not uncommon to find small families. Finding any couple with more than three children
is rare.
                       The parents spend their lives to bring up the children and provide them education so that when they move out they are
able to earn their livelihood and settle down in comfort in their lives.  But many of the boys who reach the age of 14 will stop listening to
the advice of their father.  If the father wants to discipline his son and make him follow his advice, he will succeed only if the mother
supports him. But when the child refuses to oblige and tries to wage a strike then the mother out of misplaced love for her son, allows
the son to have his say. She will let her son do what he wants to do. Her love for her son does not let her see her husband's point of
view.  This will place the son and the mother on one side and the father on another. This goes against her husband.  The father is
helpless in such a situation. Ultimately the father ends up losing his son's and wife's sympathies. If it is a matter of monetary
allowance, then the father ends up spending all his savings on his son.
But do the children help the parents in their old age?  Some children do but many do not.  Once the son gets married, he and his wife
will have so much expenditure that the responsibility of looking after his parents becomes too costly for him.  He can not set aside any
money to look after his parents.
                       This is a situation all of us have to think over.  We have to bring back our family into a useful unit for all, but especially for
the grandparents.  
                       Now the fathers are thinking deeply and wondering if they should work so hard to make more and more money to give
their sons an education but in turn get abused and neglected by the sons in their old age.  
                       Should they continue with this costly education by which they are going to end up losing security of peace and tranquility in
their old age?
                       If that is the case it is necessary for us to make specific plan not to fall into this endless gorge.  We have to reclaim our
lives and our future.
                       The problem lies not in our sons but in the system of education we have been following. At present a child enters a
school where the parent will have to shell out large amount of money right from the beginning.  For tuition, for books, for uniform, and
for transportation.  When he completes 8 costly years in school from standard 1 to 8, he has attained the age of 14 and learnt how to
read and write and all the useful skills like naming the days of the week, names of the months in a year, and add and subtract and
multiply and divide numbers.  He can read books and newspapers. He learns quite a bit of social studies, civics, science, history etc. in
the classes 6, 7 and 8.
                       In the present system of schooling this child will continue to go to school beyond the standard 8. He will learn more of the
same thing, like languages, mathematics, social studies, science. This additional learning is not required if he is to pursue the
profession or business of his father in the following pursuits; When the boy or girl has attained the age of 14 they ready to get training
in these livelihoods of their parents or guardians:
1. Farmers who have small holdings and can be immensely helped if their son will join them in increasing the yield and     expanding
the crop varieties.
2. Grocery shop, retail and wholesale.
3. Vegetable and fruit market shops.
4. Retail shops dealing in merchandise which do not require much physical strain such as those of gift items, cloth, and  clothes,
books, bakery, fast food, jewelry, small restaurants, small fittings and furniture etc.
5. Machine workshops, fabrication services, painting, masonry, carpentry, arts and crafts, spinning, weaving, and a host of other
vocations which do not need the education that is imparted in the classes beyond standard 8.
                       I have not listed all the trades and occupations in which the father is successful, but had no education beyond standard 8.
He learnt his skills and trade craft from his parents or guardians initially. He was as successful as to be able to feed his family and
send his children to school from his earnings. He will be very pleased if his son of 14 years of age would come and help him in his
farm or shop. He needs some one who could relieve him for other engagements such as going to a doctor, or going on a vacation or
pilgrimage.
                       When a boy or girl of 14 years armed with the education of 8th standard joins his father in his business, the parents will
teach the child the intricacies of his farm, or shop, or craft.  The father's farm becomes their school. This school is open entire year.  
There are no scheduled vacations.  Sunday is a weekly holiday.  Saturday may or may not be a half day. This school is closed on
festival and national holidays just like the shops and establishments.  Such a student can opt for an annual vacation if he wishes from
2 to 4 weeks if it is convenient to both him and his parents or guardians.  There is ample amount of freedom in these home-school or
shop-school for both the children and parents.  Only those students who have such paternal ambitions as pursuit of their fathers'
occupation should be encouraged to quit school at this juncture of completion of elementary school, and be satisfied with what
qualification they attain.  They will however continue to read books and browse Internet to learn more about their fathers' trade or
occupation and expand their knowledge individually. Presently the computers can help a lot to acquire knowledge just like the standard
text books. The child will continue to read books and learn the subjects. He might even appear for examinations to test his skills and
knowledge. But he is not bound to pass these examination or attain high marks. Usually the business grows steadily and speedily
once the child joins. The child will feel secure in his life because he has already begun earning his livelihood. The child will also
remain engaged in useful activities and not drift into hopelessness and insecurity. The sense of hopelessness comes creeping on the
child when he is an ordinary student and finds it difficult to pass the exams with good marks. Most of the students in any school are
average students and are unable to get good marks to enter high-schools or colleges that lead them to very attractive professions,
such as a scientist, doctor, engineer, lawyer, manager, etc. When a child has completed his 8th standard and  has no option but to join
the classes 9 to 12, he might develop anxiety as to whether he will succeed in examinations. He might put in hard work, make best
efforts and struggle. He might find himself passing the examinations with average marks so that he will be in a situation where there is
no chance for him to get a good job or become a scientist, doctor, engineer, lawyer, manager, etc.,
                       The above remedy is not for the children of parents who are in employment, and those parents who are doctors, lawyers,
engineers, managers in corporate houses etc., These children will have to pursue education beyond the standard 8 and later acquire
the required education to select their occupation. They can not leave school at the age of 14.
The parents and the pupil decide which occupation or skills-specialization will be suitable for their child and they will concentrate upon
that particular subject from IX Class onwards.  But any child can continue to attend classes in any subject in order to confirm that he will
specialize in the subject of his choice.
                       I consider that our youngsters are finding it more and more difficult to get a job or start a business or trade these days
because of the education they receive.  This makes me propose a new education system which I call Shiksha Soothra. abbreviated as
Shiksha-Su.  My Shiksha Su tries to place an alternative system of education for the consideration of the government and the citizens of
our great country India.
                       We have a very good Constitution and we have a democratic set up.  We can change the working of our education system
in the interest of progress and happiness of the citizens.
                       In the present system of education a student goes on to study languages, history, geography, mathematics, social
sciences, chemistry, physics, biology and computer applications all the way from the nursery school, kindergarten school, primary
school, secondary school and then different colleges.  The government tries to make students go to school and study at least upto the
Xth standard.  When a student completes the Xth standard he or she is at least 16 years of age.  Children are usually individualistic
from the age of 13 or 14 in that they form an opinion of their own in many of the day to day matters and many times they are realistic and
practical.  They imbibe the thoughts they read, or hear, or watch on the TV or read in the newspapers.  If they develop good qualities like
honesty, truthfulness, and follow the advice of their parents and teachers then they will soon make up their decision regarding the
career they wish to take up.
                       But in our system of education we want them to go on studying upto the Xth class, without regard to the occupation they
wish to take.  This makes them impatient, and then less and less interested in true knowledge. True knowledge escapes them
because they memorise rather than understand the subjects they learn in the classes. They memorise these subjects to pass the
examinations held at the end of the year.  In order to memorise particular topics which are commonly encountered in the examinations,
they go for tuitions. Many students only attend the tuitions and not classes. It becomes more confusing when they have to go to school
but also go for tuition. They have realized that they can get good marks only if they take tuitions. This pursuit of high marks in the
examination makes them memorise the answers to probable questions, rather than learn the subjects in a practical and focused way,
or in a general and creative method.
                       When they realize that what they get from attending schools and tuitions is to only to secure high marks and a top rank,
then they will focus their attention in the possible questions and answers in the subjects.  They will not have time to expand their
horizon of knowledge and study the subjects in a more practical way or oriented towards their future career.
For these students when it comes to selecting the livelihood for themselves such as a job or business, then they find that they are not
prepared to join work immediately. What they have learnt is not suitable to carry out the tasks of their job. They might need training on
the job or acquire new skills that they never learnt in the school or college.  They will have to acquire new and specific subjects related
to their job or business. This they can accomplish only by studying for some more years. One or two years might be required before
they can put in full work in these job positions.
                       There are so many boys and girls coming out of the schools and colleges either passing their examination or failing it
and trying to find some place to work and settle down and not able to do so because they are not adequately prepared themselves.  
Their qualification is either too much or it does not fit the available slots.  Even after the BA degree, or the MBBS degree or the BE
degree one does not find a suitable position to join. The parents are unable to chose a career for their children once the student has
finished his college degree examination and got a degree.  There are a large number of factories, a very large number of government
jobs, and many banks, insurance companies, and so on but only a small proportion of the students who passed the college degrees
can be accommodated in these places.
                       This situation has arisen because we ignore the availability of a large varieties of other careers. We are not prepared
ourselves in advance for these careers.
                       Therefore the students must be given a chance to begin their pursuit of a career quite early in life, say at the age of 14.
After the VIIIth class and at the age of 14 years the students must be made to select a school which will turn them into a well learned
and well trained person to take up the job.  A child who wants to become a doctor must begin to read only those portions of the
syllabus in our present IXth to XII class that relate to becoming a doctor.  A child who wants to be an electrical engineer must begin to
study only those portions of the syllabus in our present IXth to XII class that relate to becoming an engineer.  A commerce career will
require only those portions of the IXth to XII class syllabus that are connected to being a bank employee etc.  A student who wishes to
become an agriculturist need not study beyond VIIIth class.  He can declare that his school days are over and that he has studied as
much as is needed for becoming a farmer.  If a farmer's son the only son will become a doctor then who will look after the farm which
the father nurtured with great efforts and pain to keep producing food grains vitally needed by the country?  If a businessman's only son
decides to go for a government job then who will run the business when the father is of retiring age?
                       The parents are responsible for bringing up their children,  The mother is the first teacher of her child.  The grandmother
or another female relative usually comes to the help during delivery and for a few months following the birth of the child and this person
will also cast an impression on the mind of the baby.  All those who attend the baby will also influence the learning process of the child
in its first year and thereafter.  The intelligence, wisdom and the child-rearing skills of the mother come into play all this time and
throughout the growth of the child and the child learns from what happens around her by seeing, hearing and feeling.
                       The child is a product of the father and the mother combined and she is more or less a copy of the two together.  The
genes in the chromosomes of the child are formed out of the chromosomes in the father and the mother.  Therefore the child is often a
replica of the personalities of the parents.
                       The mother influences more than the father in the determination of the child's likes and dislikes.  The mother gives shape
to the thoughts of the child as to her future as she grows up.
As there is only one child these days in most of the families, she becomes a very valuable member and the future of the
nation.                  
                       This child will have to look after the parents in their old age, and also inherit the house, the car, the business, the farm, the
factory, the profession, and the name.  It will be appropriate for the parents to bring up the child in such a way that their ambitions about
the future of their child come true.
                       The child is usually dependent upon the mother until she begins learning from another teacher such as in the nursery.  
But once the child grows into a 14 year old she begins to feel the pressures of her hormones.  These pressures affect her studies.  
There will be various changes in her body and mind.  Apart from hunger and sleep she begins to feel sexual desires.  These feelings
can divert the attention away from her studies and learning.
                       Parents have to teach their children good behaviour, truthfulness, kindness, honesty, and frugality along with building
integrity as they grow up.  Parents should encourage their children to read good books, engage in sports, arts, music, drama, and any
other extracurricular activities which they can support.  They should recognise the tendency in their adolescent children to spend money
for wrong causes, and try to keep the children away from such bad habits.
                       Parents are often handicapped due to their weak economical or cultural and educational backgrounds.  Also many
parents can not spare enough time to watch their children because of pressure of their jobs, businesses or other engagements.  It is
during the years of class 9 to 12 that the children drift into bad habits and bad company.  The parents should look out for any setback in
the progress in her studies.  The child's education should progress in a way suitable for her to take up the chosen career.

Mohan Shenoy 12th July 2005
Go to Education Page 2
Go to Education Page 2
SMALL FAMILIES AND EDUCATION
by Mohan Shenoy
SMALL FAMILIES AND EDUCATION
by Mohan Shenoy
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