Unexpected headaches especially right after you wake up are like sexist conversations that are hard to tolerate and even harder to avoid. No painkiller helps. All you have to do is build resilience and brave it with all your might. Also, it has been 11 days straight and Bangalore still has no sign of generous sunlight. Actually the only thing that is perhaps generous right now is hike in school and college fees. And catching up the trend are gold, apple, tomato and fuel.
The recently released trailer of Shaktimaan (returns) looks promising. The bright and cheesy velvety costume has been replaced with a more sophisticated metal breathing X – men inspired costume. I remember, how Indian households every Sunday afternoon very warmly welcomed their superhero who carefully handled childhood and teenage with philosophy and responsibility. Don’t do drugs, respect your elders, cigarette smoking is harmful, do not lie, do not steal – everything that growing up should listen to. What could parents complain about? Until, ofcourse, this superhero, who could jump from windows and save a flying duck from hitting a pole became an obsession. Children started jumping off windows, hoping that Shaktimaan would come and save them. This world of fantasy became their reality. There was chaos and the brave hearted Shaktimaan had to take the blame for the entire disturbance. Parents frowned and glared at the way these TV shows spoil kids, especially the idea of superheroes.
What is ‘BETTER’?
A few days back mum called to inform about a family friend’s daughter who used to study 20 hours a day, always locked inside her room, has scored 97% marks in 12th board exams. My mum had so much conviction in her tone, that if I was not sipping green tea, fully awake, I could agree to appear for board exams again. Just so that my result card could be replaced with the name plate outside our house.
With big desires come bigger bills. So, now that we want our children to become superheroes who are good at maths, have knowledge of physics that can make the fallen apple go back to the tree, an in depth functional power of technology that can make Steve Jobs sweat in his grave, all this and more at the age of 5 – then obviously, the bait is set. Private school sector who have learnt that education is a lucrative business take advantage of this ambitious thought process and even though the law might say – NO FEE HIKE, they still go ahead and hike the fee.
Following the, ‘What I couldn’t do, my children would do it for me’ theory, middle class remains the most affected and paranoid. Delhi saw 300 parents protesting the 10% hike in school fees by school management every year – on the grounds of better facilities and better education. However, the ‘better’ part is debatable. Just like how expensive fruit facial is better than the affordable aroma facial, but other than smelling like papaya there seems to be no difference in the shade, texture or feel of the skin. So making education expensive, doesn’t really prove its quality.
Right to Education is a fundamental right. But other than being a right, it is also a medium to ensure well paid jobs, a reason of social acceptance and zandu balm to prestigious human ego.
Colleges are even more difficult to afford. While there are a few colleges who provide scholarships to a very very small section, the general large percentage runs on student loans. It is a vicious circle – get good marks in Class 10 – to get pushed to Class 12 – to get a good college – to get a good job – so that you can pay the student education loan – get married – have kids – secure a good future for your kids – so that they can also live a ‘good’ life, which would by the way look exactly like yours!
Along with massive fees, some schools also take an additional amount at the time of admission. Not as ‘bribe’ or service charge for ‘back door entry’ but actually a prescribed amount to get a seat in the school. The amount of this additional charge depends on the class the admission is being taken into. Higher the class, bigger the amount! Wah! Kya bakwaas hai!
Reforms and Super Power
There are many such useless practises that should be put under strict check. There has to be a cap on school fees, and a regulated system for increase in college fees. Regular audits should be conducted to ensure the quality of education.
Growth of a human being is a process. A natural process. And this obsession with personality development right from play school is like the goal of losing 15 kgs by the end of the month when all you have for snacks is hot jalebis and stuffed samosas. While schools are important and good education is necessary, it is important to let your little superhero wear the cape and enjoy life. The freedom to be one’s own Shakthimaan is what kids need to learn.
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