Education in India: Different Voices

India is attracting a lot of FDI and one of the reasons given for it is the educated population. The spread of education in India is quite uneven but here is what people are saying about it.

Abhas writes at A Few Hundred Words and doesn't seem to like his second school.

Why is it that a boy must come home from school, only to find his mother forcing food in his mouth, all because he doesn't want to end up being late fore the bell rings at a second school? Hell yes, I'm talking about coaching, and while I'm at it, put in those tuitions and extra classes, too.

School is not what it used to be, or so I believe. You can't go there alone and expect to learn what you need. And what's worse is that every teacher knows it, and so does every student.
Kids decide that they'd rather not waste their time in school studying, and brush up on their facts at a nearby coaching institute. And problem two originates because teachers know this, and keeping it in mind, they also go: “what the heck…”

Chronicals of Semi-Geek Living talks about the pressure to do well in Math in India.

The average high-school goer in India is a curious mix of conflicting ambitions. He even likes (gasp!) school sometimes. This is because most of the horror stories he was told as a pre-schooler about schools being torture houses and teachers being demons (who spreads these things I wonder) have proven themselves wrong by this time. He has favourite subjects (sometimes one of them is even math), and many a time nurses fond dreams of making a career out of them.

He persevers in his pursuit of better grades in the face of an overflowing schedule (tuitions, curriculars etc). He is secretly guilty of his ineptitude with the numerical and does his best to measure up to his more gifted peers. He spends hours struggling with the well established rote system. Hours that may have proved more gainful if employed in practice of things he enjoys more. Say… literature, or drawing, or music.

Abi at Nanopolitan talks about how good are enterance tests like JEE that lead to admission in Indian Institute of Technologies (IIT) are at discovering merit?

This problem is much worse in JEE, because even the ones who get through (i.e., get a JEE rank, called the All India Rank – AIR) are people who are able to attempt only a small fraction of the questions. In the year I took it, I attempted barely 25% of the questions in chemistry, as well as in math (physics was slightly better, at about 50%!). The JEE questions continue to be brutal.

Remaining with the admission to Indian Institute of Technologies we discovered this strange motivational strategy ‘walking on fire’ by one coaching institute and Veena at Yossarian Lives comments on it.

Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, all the goats have already been slaughtered and I only get to see the rasam being cooked. I chat with the cook for sometime and then sneak off to the hot coals place. A lot of kids stand around and are hedging this other kid to walk on the coals. This poor thing, hardly 8 years old, his face pierced and painted looks at the coals and starts crying. His mother rushes in and explains to him that it wouldn't hurt and that he can go in after other kids.

Why did I think of all this now, you ask? Because walking on fire is apparently back in fashion. … Now if only someone had told us this sometime ago, the blogosphere would not have had to have an ugly fight about the merits and demerits of reservations. All we need to do is to get aspiring students to walk on fire.


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