The Nutty Side of School


Bikram Vohra | February 4, 2014

What sort of world do we have to live in where a four-year-old has to undergo an entrance examination to get into kindergarten? And why is it so acceptable for school teachers to actually have a yardstick. You cannot have any measure of a child’s individuality or intelligence at that age. They are not puppies who are taught tricks. They are not clowns in a circus. They are little persons with a mind of their own. Some can show their boisterousness, others are quiet and check things out, some can just get cranky waiting for an appointment that drags on, still some don’t really want to talk to a stranger and the parental stress can also get to them. Like what are Mummy and Daddy so tense about, what have I done?

To my mind, this is cruelty gilded into a pastiche called education and has no grounding in logic. If teachers are not prepared to take children of different dispositions and bring the best out in them then they are falling down in their duty.

I remember when we were kids they had this gross pre-board examination exam which either qualified you or dumped you from sitting for the finals. Heck, the school would then send up 98 out of 112 students, they would all pass and the institution would announcement a 100 percent result. What about the 14 they kept behind.

Similarly everyone is now looking for interactive, socially malleable, assertive and voluble children who exude confidence. A friend’s kid who is not yet four got a report that said the child was not socially mature.

At three-years-six-months if you cannot be socially immature when can you be.

Another is on bended knees trying to get his child into a school near his home so he doesn’t have to spend three hours in a bus.

A colleague cannot bring his family because he has three kids and he cannot get seats for them.

In India a father bemoans his fate that his son does not like playing with building blocks. Good for you, kid, stick to your guns.

Ask me this is all because there are more kids than vacancies. If there were enough schools, there’d be no entrance exams for children who really should be out there playing in the sun, not worried about passing or failing. What has gone so horribly wrong with us that admission is like a major obstacle that corrals the whole family.

How dare anyone make a child feel inadequate at four? Are you nuts?




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