Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HS FAQ: Govt. action

Your question: Ok, so that means that the Indian Government is well aware of the problems now and has very commendably already taken action. Now I fail to understand why you don’t just simply send your children to the schools following this curriculum.  

My answer: The first problem that the Government of India needed to solve was to get all the children inside the walls of a school and to do this build new school walls and get teachers inside these walls. A lot of good work has been done in this direction. Today in India 20 crore children go to 10 lakh schools where 55 Lakh teachers teach them. And the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) document tells us how to effectively use the time the children spend inside the school walls. NCERT has revised all its textbooks on the basis of the recommendations made in the NCF document and now these textbooks are a very important first step in correcting the imbalances inherent in our educational system. We have bought all the NCERT textbooks from 1st standard to 9th standard and our children are using these textbooks in their studies. So why don’t they just go and study in a school then? Let me try to explain this by using an excerpt from a preface written by the Director of NCERT in a primary school textbook. The words in the brackets are my comments. ‘The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005, recommends that children’s life at school must be linked to their life outside school. (Wah! Wah! What a nice suggestion. I am also completely in favor of it) This principle marks a departure from the legacy of bookish learning which continues to shape our system and causes a gap between the school, home and community. (Oh! So according to you there can be nothing better than homeschooling no?) This syllabi and textbooks developed on the basis of NCF signify an attempt to implement this basic idea. (A thousand thanks for your wonderful wonderful effort and your beautiful textbooks sir!) They also attempt to discourage rote-learning and the maintenance of sharp boundaries between different subject areas. We hope these measures will take us significantly further in the direction of a child-centered system of education outlined in the National Policy on Education (1986). (Arre sir, what can be more child-centered than the child’s own home? So you ARE talking about homeschooling no?) The success of this effort depends on what steps that school principals and teachers will take to encourage children to reflect on their own learning and to pursue imaginative activities and questions. (But tell me sir, what incentive will the school principals and teachers have in their Government jobs to go out of their ways and increase their work? You have created the textbooks and we will use them properly following all your advice and suggestions and teach our children at home only. And I again thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful work)

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